Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs
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Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  85 reviews
When Ted Kerasote was ready for a new dog after losing his beloved Merle ? who died too soon, as all our dogs do ? he knew that he would want to give his puppy Pukka the longest life possible. But how to do that? So much has changed in the way we feed, vaccinate, train, and live with our dogs from even a decade ago. In an adventure that echoes The Omnivore's Dilemma with a...more
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Published February 5th 2013 by Brilliance Audio (first published January 1st 2013)
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Mary (BookHounds)

This story about Ted Kerasote's new dog Pukka is filled with heart warming tales of puppyhood from actually researching what he wanted in a new dog after his beloved Merle died, to doing everything he could to insure this new dog would have a long life. Interspersed with the story of Pukka is his research into what is actually good for your dog. I wish I had access to a book like this before I ever owned a dog. It would have made such a difference in the quality of life for th...more
Deon Stonehouse
Dogs die too young, way too young. If you have ever loved a dog, and Ted clearly has, the shortness of their lives seems so very wrong, so cruel. In an effort to find out how he might extend the lifespan of Pukka, Ted does a lot of interesting research and shares the results with his readers. Many dog loving people are blithely unaware of the dangers of over vaccinating our canine companions; Ted cites university studies showing the risk of repeated, frequent, probably unneeded vaccination and g...more
Kerasote has a wonderful ability to take dry material and weave it into his real life so that you find yourself engaged and learning without even realizing it. After the death of his beloved dog, Merle, Kerasote embarked on more than a search for another puppy, he delved deeply into the heartbreaking world of kill shelters, vaccinations, and the pet food industry. His goal was to find the best information available to extend the lives of his beloved dogs. At times this book is heart-wrenching, b...more
Margo Kelly
Are you a cultural conformist? A few days ago, I would have answered, NO! But after reading this book, I realized, I have succumbed to the cultural demands and mantras regarding dogs.

Our two-year-old Beagle-Maltese starting marking his territory, inside the house, and we figured time to get him “fixed.” Before we made the appointment, the thought occurred to me, I should check this book sitting in my to-be-read pile and see what it has to say about neutering dogs.

Yup, there’s a chapter on that,...more
'Pukka's Promise' should be mandatory reading for anyone who loves dogs. It not only changed my view of them, but also changed how I feed my dogs, what toys they can have and what I use on my lawn and in my garden. I was so ill-informed until I read this book, pained as my pups lived shortened lives, and died of illness unheard of in dogs 50 years ago.
Since reading 'Pukka's Promise' I have bought copies for friends and have been preaching the word. My dogs are now on a grain-free, partially-raw...more
Amy Warrick

A better subtitle for this book would have been, 'Researched Justifications for My Decisions on How to Raise My Dog' which, really, this book is. It's good to see topics addressed that have been taken for granted for so long (I appreciate his tackling the neuter/spay issue, which needs tackling, and the shout-out to backyard breeders, which have taken a bad rap, for example), but Kerasote has the luxury of a situation (he lives in an incredibly rural area where his dog can roam free, unaltered,...more
Wow! An essential book for anyone who owns a dog or is thinking of owning a dog. The book is a combination of anecdotes about the author's dog, Pukka, and research about the factors that may effect the lifespan of our pooches: genetics, inbreeding, lifestyle, diet, vaccinations and other traditional veterinary practices, environmental toxins, and more.

Kerasote's ideas on spaying and neutering might cause alarm in the dog world (Pukka will not be altered), and the author makes some training choic...more
Peggy Tibbetts
Ted Kerasote’s beloved first dog Merle (“Merle’s Door”) was a stray he picked up in Arizona. After Merle’s death at age 14, Kerasote not only sets out on a quest to find a new dog but to answer the question on the lips of every dog lover: How can we help our dogs live longer, healthier lives?

Genetics, breeding, and purebreds vs. shelter dogs all come into play in what, for some readers, might seem like an obsessive, 3-year search for the perfect dog. But there is a method to his madness. In “Puk...more
Just finished reading this. While I was initially put off by the author's seeming "search to replicate Merle in exactation", it turns otu there is a point and purpose to that particular vibe, and my initial thought (with disgust) "why doesn't he just have Merle cloned if he's that attached and insistent?" was even answered. I had to keep reminding myself that each individual wants a dog (or a particular dog) for their own personal reasons, and who am I to judge...?

Also, it took me a while to sto...more
Elaine Campbell
This is the most important book to be written about health care for our pets -- what we're doing wrong and right -- in our generation, perhaps in any generation!

When famed author Ted Kerasote adopts a second dog five years after the passing of his beloved companion, Merle, he sets himself on the task of finding out how to increase the lifespan and benefit the health of his new dog, Pukka. What he finds is not the familiar mantra concerning the benefits of spaying and neutering, grain-filled dog...more
Too bad that the dog owners who should read this book won't bother. What Ted teaches is that dogs are a huge responsibility & long term commitment and that humans need to put in some effort to educate themselves and then take care of and train their companions. Granted, Ted seems to have more time, space and fiscal means than the average dog lover but I think that if we are just a little bit more conscientious about our environment and ponder his well researched information on canine health...more
This book was very, very good on a number of levels. First, the story of the author's life with his dogs was interesting. His dogs were very different, and the comparison between them was informative for anyone who has had a number of dogs. I enjoyed the practical way in which the author taught his dogs the names of other animals when they hiked and hunted. And it was certainly wonderful for his dogs that they lived in a place where they could go out each day on their own, along with other dogs...more
I am surprised this book is as highly rated overall as it is. While it addresses points that are long overdue in mainstream dog books (diet, over-vaccination, etc), it has numerous sloppy and anecdotal arguments, and feels like it is written by someone who has had a couple dogs he truly cherishes and a zealous willingness to research, but clearly hasn't spent their life working and dealing with dogs. Among the host of annoyances:

1) Constant, unending anthropomorphism makes it hard to be a book t...more
I was torn between three and four stars for this book. On the one hand Ted Kerasote has collected an astounding amount of information on certain topics important for dog longevity, such as the health implications of over-vaccinating, health implications of spaying/neutering, issues regarding mass production of dog kibble, and many more topics. I found a lot of this relevant and interesting, and unlike some readers I did not find this overwhelming or overly scientific.

On the other hand, Ted layer...more
As a dog owner/lover, this book made me question everything I've been told or read or thought. Fascinating exploration of the issues around spay/neuter, vaccines, food quality, and breeding. Kerasote provides a lot of scientific evidence and research, yet it reads easily and smoothly with his brand of storytelling, sprinkled with stories and anecdotes about Pukka, Merle, and the other dogs in his life. My hope is that more prospective dog owners and veterinarians would read this book!

For my own...more
Any dog lover would agree that we all want to know the secrets to how to keep our loved pets around longer and healthier. So if there was a fountain of youth for dogs I would say where it is and I am gone. Since I am not aware of such a fountain the next best thing is Mr. Kerasote and his book Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.

Mr. Kerasote really did his homework. He outlines in extensive details and I mean the details have details. Mr. Kersote explains about the downfalls of bad...more
I found this book incredibly disappointing after loving Merle's Door. The parts where Kerasote recounts a few experiences with Pukka are tolerable enough, if often overwrought with anthropomorphizing the dog, or treating the dog as though it is the child he never had (an interesting practice since he routinely denounces pet owners who do this to their pets in other places of the book when he is writing more as an editorial than recounting examples).

The portions of the book dealing with evidence...more
This was a well-written and thought provoking book on the complicated issues of how dogs are cared for in America. The lifestyle of the author and his dog isn't a realistic option for 99.9% of dog owners, I imagine, but a lot of the points he brings up about the assumptions made by organizations, vets and dog owners about what is best for dogs are valid and should be considered in thinking about how you want to live with and do the best you can for your canine friend. To me the importance of goo...more
Apr 15, 2013 Janet rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: pets
This was a hefty book with a lot of important information in it. Had it been written by anyone other than Ted Kerasote I'm not sure I could have finished the almost 400 pages of it. Thankfully, even the most dry and/or difficult piece of research is flooded by his love for his dog and all dogs, and is palpable in his writing. He covers a lot of ground here that I too am concerned about--whether to vaccinate, what is the right food to feed our friends, will a mutt be healthier than a purebred, is...more
I liked this book, but less so than Merle's Door. I best liked the parts that examined the evolution of how we feed and treat our dogs. I liked the interaction between Ted and Pukka the least. I disliked it so much that it made it hard to finish the audiobook. The drawback of an audio is that you cannot skim over the paragraphs that least interest you. You are a captive audience. You must make it through them at the same pace as the interesting bits. So I drug out how long it would take to norma...more
A Dorn
This was definitely a well-written book! Though I disagree with some of the author's conclusions his research is thorough. I like that he has taken so much time and effort to make sure he is doing the best he feels he can for his dog. He was able to interview some of the top researchers in the appropriate fields before deciding how to raise his dog.

I love how much research he did into breeds and types before he chose the parents he wanted a pup from. Even if you get a dog from a shelter you mus...more
Create With Joy
Have you ever had a pet that was so special, that he forever changed your life?

Ted Kerasote has.

For nearly 13 years, Ted traversed the Rockies and the Wyoming wilderness with his best friend, Merle – a half-wild, lab/hound/retriever mix he first encountered in the Utah desert when Merle was only 10 months old.

Before long, a special bond formed between the two of them and Ted and Merle became inseparable – that is, until, 13 years later, when a cruel medical diagnosis shattered Ted’s world. Faced...more
Cathy Unruh
Kerasote thrilled me with his previous book about his great love for his adopted dog Merle. This time around, I was ticked enough for at least the first third of the book to think about putting it down. Why? Because Kerasote came across as a self-absorbed human so obsessed with his pain over Merle that nothing less than the perfect dog would do as a successor. Finding that successor took years, during which countless dogs died in shelters while Kerasote did his research and wound up buying from...more
I'm sorry to see this book end. As with Merle's Door, I loved Kerasote's writing from start to finish. Although I may not agree with every thing Ted wrote, I found his research useful and interesting. Some of things he wrote about are things I had in my mind anyhow, such as good diet and minimal vaccinations. I'm still trying to come to grips with not recommending spay and neuter surgery, but I can see where Kerasote was going with that.

I can't think of anybody that shouldn't read this book. It...more
Sarah Jane
I liked this much better than Merle's Door. My main problem with Merle's Door was that it seemed like the author used the book to criticize everyone who didn't treat their dogs the way he treated Merle. I think it's awesome that he had a great dog and was able to give him such a great life, but there wasn't a lot in that book that was applicable to those of us not living with all the freedoms of his lifestyle.
In Pukka's Promise there is the same air of elitism when the author is talking about hi...more
May 09, 2013 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Courtney, Julia, Susan
More cerebral than Merle's Door, this easy-to-read, well-written book is all about different methods and ideas for prolonging the life of dogs. Varying from feeding a grain-free diet, to altered vaccination schedules, to choosing hysterctomy/vasectomy vs. spay/neuter to keep sex hormones intact. His references are numerous and quite varied. He was able to get into rendering plants, dog-food plants, kill shelters, no-kill shelters, homeopathic vet offices, traditional vet offices, breaking ground...more
I read this book right after finishing Merle's Door by Karasote. This is not the same kind of book. This book is full of well-researched information regarding what to feed your dog, vaccines, exercise. etc. It will really make you think about how you care for your best friend. Some of the information was too gruesome for me, the kill shelters for example. I skipped those parts, but I have changed the food I feed my 2 dogs and since they are both 6years old...NO MORE SHOTS!
I did miss all the glor...more
Anyone who read "Merle's Door" will never forget Merle, or Ted Kerasote for that matter. After Merle died, it took the author a long time to be ready for another dog. But he finally sought out another puppy, and Pukka and Ted are still together in a small town in Wyoming. This book is similar to "Merle's Door" which contained stories of the wonderful Merle interspersed with chapters on the origins of dogs, etc. This book details Mr Kerasote's search for answers to urgent questions, all ultimatel...more
I am surprised a book like this hasn't been written before. Ted Kerasote investigates what we can do to help our dogs live longer, healthier lives. His research is thorough and his quest for dog longevity takes him all over the country. I enjoyed his perspective, even if the written "conversations" with his dog, Pukka, got a bit tiresome and hokey at times. It's an engaging, thorough narrative and I'd recommend it to any dog owner who wants to see their best friend live a bit longer.
Great book that will challenge many dog lovers to think differently about how we care for our pups. For example, why is it that although neutering is fairly uncommon in Europe, they have much less issues with unwanted dogs then we do in the United States?

Also, he questions why there has yet to be a major canine cancer study that examines the role of grain in causing cancer in our dogs? (Hint: all canine cancer studies to date have been funded by dog food corporations).

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Neutering & Longevity 1 5 Jun 10, 2013 10:13PM  
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Ted Kerasote's writing has spanned the globe and appeared in dozens of periodicals and anthologies, including Audubon, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Salon, and The New York Times. He is also the author and editor of six books, one of which, Out There: In the Wild in a Wired Age, won the National Outdoor Book Award. He lives in Wyoming.
More about Ted Kerasote...
Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog Pukka: The Pup After Merle Out There Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt (Kodansha globe series) Navigations: One Man Explores The Americas And Discovers Himself

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