A Dog for Life: The Practical Guide to Canine Care


89 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 0-88882-134-4
DDC 636.7'0887





Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is an editor in the College Division of Nelson Canada.


What sets this book apart from the crowded market of dog-care manuals is
the centre stage assumed in it by the author’s own dogs—11 of
them—with whom the reader becomes acquainted through appealing
photographs and anecdotes that underscore the basics of dog care covered
in the book.

Perrett, editor of the OSPCA magazine, Animals’ Voice, clearly loves
dogs and is blunt about the tragic consequences of irresponsible dog
care, notably the huge unwanted canine population spawned by the human
population’s scandalous failure to neuter. He goes against the grain
of most dog-care books by emphasizing the benefits—both humane and
practical—to be gained by choosing an adult shelter or pound dog over
a purebred puppy. Other topics covered include making one’s home
dog-friendly, neutering, identification, vaccinations, poison prevention
(an appendix lists 100 or so common poisonous plants), boarding, and
caring for an aging dog. Readers should look elsewhere for comprehensive
medical information: parvovirus, heartworm, and heat stroke are the only
diseases and conditions addressed here.

A glaring omission from the book’s roster of human responsibilities
is training. Perrett’s only word on the subject is a confession that
his own dogs are not trained. While his decision to build a fence around
the yard rather than train is understandable given his personal canine
landscape, one might have expected at least an acknowledgment of the
importance of training, which surely has as many potential life-saving
benefits as any of the preventive measures discussed in this otherwise
conscientious and discerning book.


Perrett, N. Glenn., “A Dog for Life: The Practical Guide to Canine Care,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/12423.