The Puppy Diaries: Living with a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson

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The Puppy Diaries: Living with a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson

Category: Pets
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An entertaining and thought-provoking look at the first year of a dog's life - in the country and the city. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Two Roads
ISBN: 978-1444720631

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Jill Abramson had a dog whom she adored - a White West Highland by the name of Buddy - and after his death she wasn't certain that she wanted another dog. Would she bond with the newcomer? Would she always be comparing the pup with his predecessor? But - times change - and in 2009 Jill and her husband Henry brought home a Golden Retriever by the name of Scout. Over the following year Abramson wrote a column about raising Scout for the New York Times website and it's this column which forms the basis for The Puppy Diaries: Living With a Dog Named Scout.

Firstly I have to tell you that I read this book with a sense of relief. It's fourteen years since we brought home our first Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and Rosie provided much the same problems and pleasures as Scout. During the year it's the problems which predominate and it was good to know that we were not alone in this. Jill went to see the puppies when they were very small - but the reality was that she and her husband were being checked out to see if they were suitable owners. Thankfully they passed muster and Scout came home with them a few weeks later.

They have homes in New York and Connecticut and Scout's first summer was passed in the idyllic surroundings of Connecticut. The stories of socialising her, taking her to puppy training classes and dealing with a bundle of energy and mischief brought back memories. You might wonder quite how Henry managed to allow Scout to chew two pairs of spectacles: we had the same problem with alarm clocks. Every story rang a bell and they're all told with humour, insight and honesty. Scout's personality comes through, but you warm to Jill and Henry as two fallible people trying to do their best by their dog.

I found the details of owning a dog in a city like New York fascinating. When you live in glorious countryside it's difficult to imagine the problems of how to deal with a dog who wants to pay a call, but has to leave the building via an elevator - or of having to use dog runs for off-lead exercise.

It's a quick read, partly because there are regular black and white pictures of Scout and her friends. These are of variable quality - but you won't mind that if you're a dog lover! I read the book in the course of an evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. One decided advantage for me was that this was about the first year of a dog's life so I was spared the inevitable sad scene at the end of a full-life story - but them I'm a softy about such matters!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Children looking to read something similar will love Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay. Jill Abramson was in two minds about the training methods suggested by Cesar Milan: if you're looking for a book on dog training we can recommend The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims. Jill does recommend Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz for more insight into the way your dog operates and I agree - it's superb. She also liked the advice on how to deal wth a dog who pulls in What Do I Do When... My Dog Pulls? by Turid Rugaas but does point out that it's of more use in the country than in New York.

Buy The Puppy Diaries: Living with a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Puppy Diaries: Living with a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Puppy Diaries: Living with a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Puppy Diaries: Living with a Dog Named Scout by Jill Abramson at Amazon.com.


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