Book Review - Pets in America

Recently, one of my children had to take her dog to the vet.  It made me think about how I miss having pets.  Our home has enjoyed a few pet fiascoes, let's say...

We purchased a purebred American Shepherd who ended up biting the ear off of visiting Pit Bull.  Then there was the Rottweiler who broke her leg by running down the stairs. Sadly, on the eve of her last day with us, the Rottie mashed Socks, the house cat, flat as a pancake when she discovered her in the dog pen at night.

No pets are here now but I do miss the companionship of an animal. I even gave a speech at Toastmasters, entitled: Can a Dog Lover become a Cat Lover?  The short answer is--Yes, most definitely.

Hero, Mocha, and Socks - you are all gone but not forgotten.  Their time in our home reminded me of a book review I did about pets.  I have enclosed it below--I hope you like it.

By the way, some of you are receiving this via email notification.  Would you do me a favor? Visit my blog at http://booksatthebeach.blogspot.com and leave a comment if this resonates with you. You can subscribe directly so I can measure the volume of traffic to the site.

Here's to Thursday!
-Steve
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Available at Amazon.com

Pets in America: A History [Soft Cover]
by Katherine Grier
512 pages, $16.00
ISBN-10: 0156031760
Nonfiction
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

It’s true that Americans love their pets. Ask anyone at school or work and your will usually get quite a story about the family pet. Katherine Grier’s Pets in America: A History is a wonderful attempt to trace the history of pets in America. It is ironic to see how the social development of Americans so closely parallels the sociological importance of our pets.

This book is absolutely recommended for you or the pet lover in your life. It is filled with little pithy facts about pet ownership down through the ages. For instance, I was pleasantly surprised to read of George Washington’s hounds and the level to which his personal correspondence referenced them.

Pet ownership has existed in some form since the 1500s and continues to grow in popularity. I found it intriguing how much of pet inclusion is tied directly to our sociological evolution. For instance, our incorporation of pets into photographs directly corresponds to American’s desire to share memories with their posterity. The modern purveyor of the digital camera doesn’t even give Fluffy a second thought to being included in a photo spread.

Grier also shares the realities for capitalism which increasing pet ownership brought to America. In some of these sections the minutiae will creep to the surface. You would be ill advised to sit down and read it in a few sittings. I did this and found myself absorbed in the details.

Instead, read this book in small chunks. It is filled with incredible information about pet ownership – and every pet lover will find it a must have for their library.

George Bernard Shaw said it best: “Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends.” I wouldn’t recommend you eat your pets – but I do recommend you read this book.

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