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Old 04-13-2009, 03:21 AM   #1
k9mania
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Interesting new book - a review

More Than Just Best Friends







By Jonathan Yardley
Sunday, April 12, 2009; Page B08

ONE NATION UNDER DOG
Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies . . .
By Michael Schaffer
Henry Holt. 288 pp. $24
Six of ten U.S. households own pets, up 12 percent between 2000 and 2006. Spending by Americans on their pets more than doubled from $17 billion in 1994 to $41 billion in 2007 and is expected to rise at an 11 percent clip over the next two years. No doubt most of that spending is for routine stuff, but as Michael Shaffer recounts in this informative, entertaining and sobering book, our most privileged pets "live in a world of dog walkers and pet sitters and animal trainers and canine swim therapists and pet Reiki masseuses. . . . [a] baroque and endlessly subspecialized array of service providers."
That is the world into which Schaffer plunged while writing "One Nation Under Dog." The title was dreamed up by his wife, he says, but he seems to have failed to consult the Googlesphere, which would have alerted him that it's also the name of a company that sells dog-themed plaques, bracelets and T-shirts "inspired by our love of animals." This coincidence merely underscores the point of Schaffer's book: that doggiemania constitutes very big business, and often very strange business as well. Much of it "can be explained," Schaffer writes, "by a popular term I first heard at a Global Pet Expo: fur baby." For millions of Americans, dogs are members of the family, frequently as substitutes for children they never had or who grew up and moved away.
This marks a singular change in American attitudes. In the past, parents frequently acquired pets as companions, rewards or palliatives for their children, and of course some still do, as the Obamas have reminded us. They also acquired pets -- dogs, mainly -- as guards and often left them to sleep outdoors in doghouses or less inviting chambers. By 2001, in rather alarming contrast, "83 percent of American pet owners referred to themselves as their animal's 'mommy' or 'daddy,' " a reflection of "the centrality of dogs in the lives of ordinary people." A recurrent theme in "One Nation Under Dog" is that all of this isn't actually about the animals, but "about the humans." To quote Schaffer:



See rest of article at:


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...041001143.html
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:03 AM   #2
Labman
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Also read Jon Katz's New Work of Dogs. It was under my Christmas tree last year. I raised my children right.

It is amazing how unpopular you can make yourself with rqaional posts to dog forums.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labman View Post
It is amazing how unpopular you can make yourself with rqaional posts to dog forums.
Isn't it? Then again it's equally amazing how many popular members there are because of their rational posts. It all comes down to amiability and the way they use their rhetoric. Those that I've seen that are well-liked on dog forums are didactic yet not condescending

K9, thanks for sharing that book. I would like keep adding to my "to-read" list but I've got many on there. Before adding any more I really want to get reading Culture Clash and Don't Shoot the Dog.

The last paragraph in that article is very eye catching:

"On and on it goes: puppy mills, pet shops, shelters, euthanasia, tainted pet-food ingredients from China. Our fur babies may be loveable and cuddly, but they've also confirmed us in many of our worst human instincts: to confront and litigate, to climb the social ladder and flaunt our high position once we've reached it, to become wholly absorbed in our own precious selves, to flatter ourselves with luxury and excess. As the man says in this terrific book, it's not about the dogs, it's about the people. "
-Steven



My dog article site - K9Domain
My dog blog - Dog Notes
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