The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout
An instructive and marvelously entertaining chronicle of a puppy's first year, by the executive editor of The New York Times
One sparkling summer day, Jill Abramson brought home a nine-week-old golden retriever named Scout. Over the following year, as she and her husband raised their adorable new puppy, Abramson wrote a hugely popular column for The New York Times's website about the joys and challenges of training this rambunctious addition to their family. Dog-lovers from across the country inundated her with e-mails and letters, and the photos they sent in of their own dogs became the most visited photo album on the Times's site in 2009.
Now Abramson has gone far beyond the material in her column and written a detailed and deeply personal account of Scout's first year. Part memoir, part manual, part investigative report, The Puppy Diaries continues Abramson's intrepid reporting on all things canine. Along the way, she weighs in on such issues as breeders or shelters, adoption or rescue, raw diet or vegan, pack-leader gurus like Cesar Millan or positive-reinforcement advocates like Karen Pryor.
What should you expect when a new puppy enters your life? With utterly winning stories and a wealth of practical information, The Puppy Diaries provides an essential road map for navigating the first year of your dog's life.
rapidly. Donna Cutler had estimated that she would ultimately weigh sixty pounds, but by using my powers as a crack investigative reporter, I observed Scout’s huge paws and deduced that Donna’s estimate would almost certainly prove too conservative. What to feed Scout, when to feed her, and how to begin more serious training to curb her irrepressible puppy habits—like chewing shoes or jumping up on guests—were sources of growing tension between Henry and me. Since her arrival, we had been
complain. Although I always carried my cell phone in case the Times’s news desk needed to reach me, I felt almost total freedom from worry when I was outside walking Scout. But my delight in Scout went beyond the pure pleasure of companionship or the joyous greeting at the door that all dog owners receive. Watching her chase errant leaves in the city or dig at root vegetables in our garden in Connecticut, I noticed the different phases of fall in ways I hadn’t the previous year. Even though I
cairns carry the Krabbe gene, it’s extremely rare for a living dog to have the actual disease. He also hoped we’d donate Dinah to the large animal colony at Penn’s veterinary hospital complex and invited me to come for a visit. The notion of giving Dinah up was even tougher for our family to absorb than the fact that we would soon be caring for a puppy who would suffer seizures, blindness, deafness, and loss of motor control. We wanted to give her our love, not give her away. Nonetheless, right
kept Dinah at home but brought her to Penn, as frequently as he wanted, for testing and observation? He agreed and even said he would help with the commute. For the next eight months, we alternated: sometimes we drove Dinah to Penn; sometimes Dr. Haskins’s students or aides drove down to Virginia to pick her up. Usually she returned home in a matter of days. Although some of the tests were painful, Dinah showed no overt signs of suffering, and the people at Penn treated her like a medical
began chasing the lawn balls. Miraculously, she did not knock over any of the bowlers, most of whom were in their eighties and had been enjoying their usual round of cocktails during the game. Finally, Henry managed to grab Scout as she flew by. He waited for me to arrive with her leash and then helped me drag her to the car. On the way home, we felt as though we were retrieving a rowdy teenager who had badly misbehaved at a friend’s house. Manhattan, meanwhile, seemed to incite Scout to