Henry Holt and Company was kind enough to send me a preview copy of Jill Abramson’s new book, The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout. I’m embarrassed to say they sent it in September, and I have just now found time to read it, but happy to say I loved it!
Abramson, the managing editor of the New York Times, had lived with a Westie as her children grew, but when that dog died, she and her husband moved on into middle age without anyone sharing their empty nest for awhile. Then, when Jill was run over by a truck in Times Square, those around her thought a new dog might help her in rehabbing her smashed femur. Once she was well enough, they chose Scout, a British standard Golden Retriever, from a breeder in Massachusetts.
In The Puppy Diaries, she gives a detailed account of life with a new puppy in the house. Based partly on her blog for the New York Times website, she provides not only a memoir of their time together, but also a very good manual on puppy raising. Faced with a puppy’s normal tendencies to chew shoes or pull on the leash too rambunctiously, Abramson and her husband consulted several dog behaviorists for suggestions in curbing unwanted behavior.
Abramson takes us along as she and her husband choose between positive behavior training such as the clicker training popularized by Karen Pryor and more aversive pack-leader training such as that taught by Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. She also weighs in on subjects like breeders vs. shelters, raw diet vs. commercial food, and beautiful dog parks vs. “funky” ones. At the end of the book, there’s a helpful bibliography of source books to help guide the reader in making these same choices with their own dogs.
The depth of her research betrays Abramson’s investigative journalist day job, but she keeps the story moving forward with intimate stories of day to day life with a sometimes troublesome, but ultimately lovable, puppy.
If you’re looking for a good gift for the dog lover on your list, check out The Puppy Diaries, available at Amazon.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!