Pet lovers crave a good dog read….new pet books – which make great gifts for pet loving friends – range from a coffee table volume filled cute as can be puppy portraits to a book filled with touched by a canine angel tales to author offering alternative and sometimes controversial approaches to pet care.
Puppyhood: Life-Size Portraits of Puppies at 6 Weeks Old by J. Nichole Smith (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, NY,2012; $29.95). Now, this is a coffee table book!. The giant book is indeed life size, and so are the photos inside of 25 breeds (well, in truth, Yorkipoo’s and Labradoodle’s are not breeds). It’s interesting to look at the wide range of puppies, from German Shepherd Dogs to Miniature Pinchers. Want cute? Here’s cute on steroids.
What’s a Dog For? The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy and Politics of Man’s Best Friend by John Homans (Penguin Press, New York, NY, 2012; $25.95). This is complex stuff, but presented in a really to understand way, from Homans, editor of New York Magazine. The connection between people and dogs may be innate in both species; Homans offers evidence that people and dogs co-evolved. As evidence, though chimpanzees aren’t as bright as dogs, it’s dogs who far more quickly pick up on our cues (without training). Homans even tackles controversial topics ranging from American Kennel Club breed standards to the plight of dogs referred to as pit bulls.
The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man’s Best Friend by Jennifer Skiff (Atria Books, New York, NY, 2012; $24). Tissue alert, but in a good way. This is an uplifting book, perfect for this time of year. All these inspiring ‘touched by a dog’ true stories are heartwarming, and filled with pure joy – the kind of innocent and absolute joy which dogs offer and inspire.
Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons by Peter Trachtenberg. (DeCapo Press, Boston, MA, 2012; $24). It all begins as a soap opera, with his marriage failing, his wife leaves for a residency in Italy. But it gets worse – his cat, Biscuit, takes off. And that’s a loss which the author just can’t deal with. Then on Christmas….No more will be said here for fear of spoiling, let’s just say the ending isn’t a sad one.
Dancing Dog Stories by Jon Katz (Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 2012; $24). This is the author’s latest in a long line of dog books. Here, Katz offers – as only he can – 16 short true stories about dogs, and our relationships with them. Story settings are rural in nature, and as a bonus one is even about a barn cat.
Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory (Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 2012; $24). Typically, man’s best friend is canine, or certainly cats can be contenders, but a rooster? At first, the author is more a adversary to the rooster, who sees him as an intruder. McGrory moves in with Pam, who is a veterinarian with a menagerie. The city boy has to adjust, and it’s not easy. A rooster rival doesn’t make let up on poor McGrory. In time though, McGrory comes to call the rooster his mentor. This is a laugh out loud read.
The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Health Pets by Dr. Barbara Royal (Atria Books, New York, NY, 2012; $25). Controversial to be sure, it’s unlikely the majority of veterinarians will agree with much of Royal’s approach. The press materials highlight this statement: “It’s hard not to feel frustrated with the pet food industry and the hidden dangers of ignoring our pet’s dietary needs. We can certainly do better.” She offers raw food diets in the book. Many veterinary nutritionists have expressed concerns about such diets. The book is touted as East meets West in veterinary medicine, but Royal leans East, and leans her own way. Don’t assume the Royal way the right way. Still, for those interested in alternative approaches to pet care, this former zoo veterinarian may be a savior.