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Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Book About A Puppy

This is Archie, when he came to join our family almost 9 years ago.

Since this is gift giving time, I thought I might take up more space than usual to recommend a book - especially for people who might be thinking about giving/getting a pet.

First, I was not sure I would like “The Puppy Diaries - Raising a Dog named Scout.” Since it was written by Jill Abramson, a managing editor of The New York Times, I figured it might be a little snooty for my tastes, but I liked her writing style - not the least bit uppity.

She tells the trials of a New Yorker raising her British Standard Golden Retriever. (British Standards are more cream colored than the reddish gold more used associated with the breed.) Whether you live in the country or city, any pet owner, but especially a puppy owner, can relate to the trials that she goes through incorporating Scout into her life style.

She takes a few jabs at Cesar Millan throughout the book but by the end, her conclusion was the same as I have - dogs need different training/behavior methods at different times in their lives. Any one who has a dog as part of their family knows the dog is not a stagnant being and behaviors change, for better or worse. It’s up to the thinking members of the family to come up with what will work for their dog at that particular time.

Jill is not the first person to be put-off by Cesar’s methods but I always wonder if the people who knock him are watching/reading the same information as me. He is never mean or hurtful to dogs. When you see him on TV with his pack, there is no doubt - those dogs love him. I think dogs know what they like and they like Cesar. In case you haven’t noticed, I like Cesar (on TV anyway), too.

What I really like about this book, though, doesn’t sugar coat anything. She told about the problems she had with her pup, even those that were grounded in her own insecurities. Scout was not a “Marley,” but she did misbehave once in awhile and had some real issues Jill had to address.

Which is why, if you are thinking about getting a dog or know someone who is, read this book first. I think too many dogs end up in shelters because the families think it’s going to be like a Disney cartoon once they get their pet home. Puppies need training, love and to be a part of the pack. For most of them, that means they need to live inside the house with their humans. If you aren’t willing to put up with the changes a pet will make in your routine or the responsibility a pet entails, please just leave that cute puppy in the window. If you are thinking of giving a pet as a gift, make sure the intended “receivers” are also aware of the changes this gift will make in their lives.

If you do feel you are ready to include a canine member in your family, and especially if you are thinking about a puppy, take the time to read Ms. Abramson’s book. After reading it, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.


  1. Archie is the leader of his pack and has his followers well trained--and he didn't even read a book about how to do it.


  2. Yep, that's why we don't have a dog, much to the disappointment of Peyton and Garrett. At least they have Archie.
    Great picture of him as a puppy too. I forgot how he looked "way back when."