After journalist Michael Schaffer and his wife adopted Murphy, a mistreated St. Bernard puppy, in rural Pennsylvania, Schaffer found himself being drawn into the significant options and spending for pet care, so he decided to go deeper into the lives of people and their pets. The result is not only a very happy and healthy Murphy but also a fun, eye-opening, and touching examination of America’s pet obsession, ONE NATION UNDER DOG: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food, by Michael Schaffer.
ONE NATION UNDER DOG introduces us to people who will spend their life savings on medial treatments for their pets and breeders who put potential owners through intensive screening before selling them a dog. We hear arguments for and against different training philosophies and look into a pets-only funeral home and bereavement groups for lost beloved animals. Schaffer also takes us to the darker side of the pet industry, going undercover at a puppy mill, talking to victims of the tainted pet food scandal, and looking at current legal battles over what can constitute on paper the pain and suffering brought from a pet’s mistreatment or untimely death.
Throughout ONE NATION UNDER DOG, Schaffer turns the lens not only on the industry but also on his relationship with Murphy. As he attends pet fashion shows and talks to “petrepeneurs,” Schaffer personalizes the experience with great wit and shows how the changing status of pets reflects shifts in American culture.
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