Monday, August 16, 2010

In Dog We Trust

Michael Schaffer and his wife swore that they would never become -that- type of dog parent. You know, the one that feeds their pup solely organic, pays upwards of $50 for a grooming or puts their pet on prescription pills? Funnily enough, I can vaguely remember (okay, so not so vaguely), telling my friends before Paddington how much I despised the people that totted their pets around in bags. After all, a dog's a dog right? Feed it, walk it- it'll be happy... said the girl whose dog now has a wardrobe of 3 or 4 bags and a mini closet of clothes

The truth is, in this day and age, the way society approaches pets has changed. No longer are our pets just utilitarian units of value- they are companions, family members and most of all friends. Thus, we rarely think twice about buying Fido a birthday present, or throwing a puppy shower when we welcome a new addition to our lives. Hate it, love it, or embrace it- Michael Scaffer's One Nation Under Dog is a narrative of the author's "Adventures in the new world of Prozac-popping puppies, dog-park politics, and organic pet food." 

Conversational in tone, and quiet enjoyable to read- the book follows Michael as he explores the estimated $43 billion (!!!) dollar pet industry which includes luxury dog sitting services, ground-breaking chemotherapy treatments, organic kibble and pet spas. While some books on this topic have been a little too critical for my tastes- Schaffer embraces the pet world and explores it with an inquisitive and open mind. Each chapter holds a different focus and shed light on areas of the modern dog community (who knew San Francisco had such hostile dog wars!). Though admittedly, the first chapters of the book held our attention more than some of the latter, it was an eye-opening read, even for us (and we like to consider ourselves dog savvy!). 

While at the end of the day we can only speculate as to what sociological changes in our society have actually resulted in the movement of our pets from the backyard into our homes- One Nation Under Dog encourages speculation and reflection in a refreshing way. 

Did this book change any of our habits? No. Are we still going to go to the luxury pet boutique in Battery Park and shell out $12 for two bullysticks later this afternoon? Yes. Do we feel guilty? Slightly. But at the same time, as Schaffer says- there is nothing wrong with wanting the best for the animals (and people!) we love. 

Pick up One Nation Under Dog from your local bookstore or

xo Barkzilla

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by us for review. 

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