Newest Pets Reviews

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Pets

How to be a BAD Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes

4.5star.jpg Home and Family

Look out of the window.
See a bird
Enjoy it.
Congratulations. You are now a birdwatcher. Full review...

Dogs Never Lie About Love: Why Your Dog Will Always Love You More Than Anyone Else by Jeffrey Masson

3.5star.jpg Pets

Readers come to books for strange reasons but I don't think that I've ever before picked up a book, looked at the title and being intrigued not by what was suggested but by how anyone could think differently. 'Dogs Never Lie About Love' is a statement of the obvious to me. I've lived with and around dogs for most of my life and I know that dogs are incapable of pretence. I've never met a dog I couldn't trust: if it doesn't like me, it will tell me so straight away. It will not attempt to trick me. I only wish that I could say the same about most of the humans I encounter. Full review...

Canine Perspectives by David Cavill

3star.jpg Pets

David Cavill has spent much of his adult life around dogs, with the Finnish Spitz holding a special place in his heart. Amongst other things - he was founder of the Animal Care College, worked as a senior manager at Battersea Dogs' Home, judging and advising on the selection, care and training of pedigree and mongrel dogs - he wrote a regular column for Our Dogs newspaper and Dogs Monthly. It's these and other articles which are reproduced here and as there's a time span of fifteen years they allow the reader to see what has changed and - probably more importantly - what hasn't. Full review...

Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I don't often pick up a non-fiction book for the 7+ age group, find it riveting reading and informative about a subject with which I'm already familiar, but that was the case with Archie: Hero in Training. Archie is a puppy destined to be a guide dog for a blind person and he's just one story in a book about the pups-in-training, the working dogs, the adults who have guide dogs, or struggle to learn the techniques - or even what happens to the dogs who don't turn out to be what's needed. There's a full range as well as information about what a guide dog costs - and it's not cheap! Full review...

Pig in the Middle by Matt Whyman

4.5star.jpg Pets

I'm so pleased I read this book. It's only the occasional writer who grabs me by the short and curlies with his observation of human nature, but accomplished children's writer Matt Whyman not only grabbed me, but sold me on the mini-pigs as well. Full review...

The Book of Deadly Animals by Gordon Grice

4.5star.jpg Popular Science

Animals and humans have long mixed, even though the one has almost always proven capable of being lethal to the other. Many scientists in the past decided animals killing humans were aberrant, and that the real animal knew it was second best to humans, having been saved in the Ark, and respected our dominion over them. Even now, it seems, there are opinions that creatures attacking mankind are somehow rogue and need destroying. But where is the wrong in an animal behaving as its nature compels it? Similarly, the human wandering around the wilderness, or even the idiot woman feeding a black bear her own toddler's honey-dripping hand (true story - what the bear thought of the taste of honeyed fingers we don't know) is just the same in reverse - humans behaving as only humans can. Full review...

Following Atticus: How a little dog led one man on a journey of rediscovery to the top of the world by Tom Ryan

4star.jpg Pets

Tom Ryan is a middle-aged, stressed journalist, running his own newspaper, the Undertoad in Newburyport in America. His life is full of political intrigues and mayoral elections, boardroom deals and subterfuge and his life is full of challenges. He doesn't need a dog. He doesn't even particularly want a dog, but when a miniature schnauzer enters his life one day, everything changes. Full review...

Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The verb to pet means to cosset, pay loving attention to, to have loving, touching time with. It might as well mean to have in your household while spending a lot of money on, and being duty-bound and beholden to. Fish (which you can't even properly pet, of course) need a permanent power supply for their water's thermometer. Chinchillas need a special sand for their bathing in. There's even pet-friendly detergents for washing out your hamster cages. Wherever you look there's time and money expenditure in owning a pet. Full review...

Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox

4star.jpg Pets

Are you a cat person weaned on Dewey the library cat, or Marilyn Edwards' rural tales or Doreen Tovey's precious Siamese stories? Do you enjoy cosy, slightly twee reminiscences of much loved felines? If so, look away now… 'Talk to the Tail' is that rare bird: a cat eulogy written by a man. As such it features rather more incidents involving fights, bottom washing, urine stained rugs and feline sexual exploits than your average book about cats. O.K. I'm exaggerating slightly, but reader be warned; the mad cat man is a different beast to the mad cat woman. It's less furry babies and more furry nightmares. Full review...

Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage by Denis O'Connor

3.5star.jpg Pets

'Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage' is the story of four pedigree Maine Coon cats which the author and his wife acquired after moving back to a cottage where they had previously lived. This is the sequel to a volume called 'Paw Tracks in the Moonlight', which I have not read, and which features their first cat Toby Jug. Apparently, on his demise, they had sold the cottage; but now, a little more advanced in years, they buy it again, and do extensive renovations before deciding that it's ready for another cat. Full review...

The Puppy That Came For Christmas and Stayed Forever by Megan Rix

4star.jpg Pets

Megan Rix and husband Ian took on two massive challenges at the same time. Their failure to conceive a child became something of an issue with Megan being, as she herself said 'north of forty'. Time was passing quickly and it looked as though IVF was the only option if they were to have the long-for child. It's time-consuming and traumatic. At the same time the couple became involved with a charity which provides helper dogs for people with disabilities. Puppies come to a family for six months to do their basic training and then move on. And that was how Emma, a soft, sweet-natured, adorable puppy came into their lives. Predictably, they fell in love with her. Full review...

Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions by Vicki Myron and Brett Witter

4star.jpg Pets

Having read Dewey: The Small-town Library-cat Who Touched the World and having thoroughly enjoyed reading about that delightful cat's escapades in Spencer Library, I was intrigued to discover that the author, Vicki Myron, had written a follow up book entitled Dewey's Nine Lives. At first I thought this might hold many more stories about Dewey but it turned out that this was a collection of short stories each featuring a different exceptional cat. All of their owners had been so moved after reading about Dewey that they felt compelled to contact Vicki and share their stories. Dewey's Nine Lives is a tribute to cats and their owners everywhere. Full review...

The Badness of King George by Judith Summers

5star.jpg Autobiography

People know how to get round me: they offer me a book and then say 'It's about a dog' and like Pavlov's canine I say 'Oh, lovely'. And so it was with The Badness of King George. George is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and I have to quibble with the title – superb as it is – because George is not bad. If anything he's badly done by as Judith Summers, plagued by empty nest syndrome when her son goes to university, decides to foster rescue dogs. Poor George has absolutely no idea what she's let him in for. And nor has Judith. Full review...

How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

4star.jpg Humour

So, how do you keep a pet squirrel? Well, the simple answer is that you don't. They're wild animals and not at all suitable for keeping in captivity, but accepted thinking didn't always run that way. It was whilst he was dipping into The Children's Encyclopaedia of 1910 that Axel Scheffler came across a small but indispensible guide to obtaining and caring for your pet squirrel. His inventive mind came up with these beautiful illustrations to accompany the text and if you're looking for an amusing gift for an animal-loving adult then this book could well be the answer. Full review...

Last Dog On The Hill by Steve Duno

5star.jpg Pets

Driving through northern California Steve Duno found a puppy by the side of the road. He was flea-bitten, tic infested, emaciated and suffering from an infection. His father was a Rottweiler and his mother a German Shepherd - both were guard dogs at the local marijuana farm. When Steve whistled the dog came to him and it's no exaggeration to say that in that moment his life changed. He'd always wanted a dog, but hadn't been able to have one as a child. There was a moment's indecision at the side of the road – and then Lou became Steve's dog. Full review...

Casper the Commuting Cat: The True Story of the Cat Who Rode the Bus and Stole Our Hearts by Susan Finden and Linda Watson-Brown

4star.jpg Pets

In 2009 as Susan Finden set out to catch the bus from the bus stop opposite her house in Plymouth she noticed her cat Casper watching her. Afraid he would follow her across the busy road she urged the bus driver to move off quickly. But when the bus driver told her that the only thing you've got to worry about is that you're sitting in his seat, Susan finally had the answer to where Casper disappeared to each day. Full review...

Ruggles by Anne Fine and Ruth Brown

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

Every dog owner has known a dog like Ruggles: they're so good at escaping from where ever they are that they're generally known as Houdini. Ruggles had it all worked out, from the opportunist hop over the fence aided by a pile of newspapers, a bucket and the rabbit hutch to who would snitch on him if he met them (unaccompanied) in the park. The dog lady knows him well and whilst you wouldn't quite call them friends it's obvious that Ruggles knows when he's met his match and hops in the van without complaint. Full review...

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz

5star.jpg Pets

I've long been aware that our two dogs have methods of communication which are far more subtle than anything a mere human can muster. They sense exactly how we are feeling – a slight change in the atmosphere and they will be alert. The reactions to a frown or a smile, laughter or tears are all different and they're capable of communicating with us in ways which have no need of words. For a while I thought it was our dogs who were special (well, obviously they are…) but I've noticed other dogs communicating with each other and with humans and the more that I see the more that I wonder why they are referred to as 'dumb animals'. Full review...

Man + Dog by Nick Wadley

4.5star.jpg Humour

Throughout my life I've lived with dogs or deeply regretted the fact that I lacked a canine companion. Watching a dog – or better still, the interaction between dogs – is infinitely better than anything on television and it's sheer joy to see how man and dog interacts and how, so often, they hold a mirror up to each other. Full review...

Gus by Fiona Louise Bate

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Gus is a beagle, who stands upright with his tail held high and in this delightful little book he tells us about his day. He shares his garden with a couple of tortoises called Dido and Hector, but only in summer as they disappear in winter. He's a dog who loves his comfort and we see him having his tummy tickled, snoozing, curled up in a chair and making artistic designs on a white duvet with his muddy paws. He's always alert though – and squirrel knows when it's best to make himself scarce, as do some plump pigeons. Full review...

Dog Friendly Pubs, Beaches and Days Out: Your Comprehensive Guide to Dog Friendly Pubs, Beaches and Days Out by www.dogfriendly.co.uk

3star.jpg Pets

If I'm going out for the day to enjoy myself I want my dogs with me. It's not just that I enjoy their company, but I don't like leaving them in the house for too long. Ideas for days out are always welcome. It's good to know about pubs that are not going to frown as you get to the door and if we're heading to the coast I like to know which beaches we can use and if there are any restrictions. Pubs, Beaches and Days Out aims to fill a hole! How does it do? Full review...

Dog Friendly Camping and Caravan Sites: Your Comprehensive Guide to Dog Friendly Camping and Caravan Sites by www.dogfriendly.co.uk

2.5star.jpg Pets

If you're going camping or caravanning it's not always easy to take your dogs with you. Some sites don't allow dogs; others have restrictions on breeds, size or number of dogs, whilst others make a charge. You're then faced with wondering whether there will be somewhere to exercise the dogs and how easy it will be to get rid of the, er, deposits! Dog Friendly Camping and Caravan Sites: Your Comprehensive Guide to Dog Friendly Camping and Caravan Sites is an answer to this, but it's nowhere near as comprehensive as the title would suggest. Full review...

Dog Friendly Hotels by www.dogfriendly.co.uk

3.5star.jpg Pets

I have two big dogs. They're Rhodesian Ridgebacks – quiet, well-behaved and friendly dogs – and they're family. I've no wish to put them in kennels so that I can go on holiday any more than most families would want to put the children in kennels for the same purpose. But finding somewhere which doesn't just tolerate my dogs but actively makes them welcome is not easy. I've found hotels which say 'Dogs Welcome' but when you enquire they actually mean that you can bring one small dog which must never be left alone and for which they'll make a charge. That's why this book is such a relief. Full review...

I Don't Want A Cool Cat by Emma Dodd

4star.jpg For Sharing

Emma Dodd's previous book saw her turning her nose up posh dogs. Here she doesn't want a cool cat, a treat her like a fool cat. There are all sorts of other cats she doesn't want, until she gets to the type of cat she can call her own. Full review...

Copper: A Dog's Life by Lady Annabel Goldsmith

4star.jpg Humour

Copper was one of a litter of dogs born to a stray bitch and who was 'adopted' by Lady Annabel Goldsmith - or might it be the other way round?. Here he tells his story in his own words as transcribed for him by his owner. He's got his own priorities – and obedience is not one of them – along with a roving spirit. It's perhaps fortunate that he's a dog as this allows you to call him 'cheeky' and 'charming'. If he was a human being 'randy' and 'arrogant' would be two of the first words which came to mind. Full review...

Dogs by Emily Gravett

5star.jpg For Sharing

We don't know who it is who tells us that they love dogs, well not to start with, but the narrator is adamant. They love big dogs and small dogs – and we see a glorious Great Dane, all legs and inquisitive face with a delicate Chihuahua nestled between his paws. You don't know who will have the best of it but that Chihuahua looks pretty fearsome. Full review...

Old Dogs by Gene Weingarten and Michael S Williamson (Photographer)

5star.jpg Pets

As a reviewer I see a lot of books and whilst I read I'm usually wondering about who I'll pass the book on to when I've finished the review. Will it be a friend, the local library or one of our schools? It's a part of my reviewing process to think about where the book will sit most happily. With Old Dogs I was only a few pages in before I was considering whether it should live on my bedside table or in the main bookshelves. The bedside table won. Easily. Full review...

Will Work for Nuts by Matthew Cole

3.5star.jpg Pets

The intrepid adventurer faces a most daunting challenge. Girding his loins in anticipation of achieving his goal, he leaps into action, hell-bent only on success, never fearing the inherent danger. With death-defying stunts and leaps aplenty, he needs to use any vehicles he finds in his path, untold balancing skills, nerve-racking whippy plastic stick things, and an awful lot more. Finally his lithe, muscular frame lands near his target, and he sits back and eats his nuts. Full review...

I Can Has Cheezburger by Eric Nakagawa

4star.jpg Pets

I Can Has Cheezburger, is a clever and witty anthology of some of the best pictures and captions from the fantastic lolcats website of the same name. The site has been growing in popularity in recent months, and so it was inevitable that a book would soon hit the shelves. Choosing which pics to include in the book could not have been an easy task, and some of the old favourites are there, alongside some less well known ones. Full review...

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas

3.5star.jpg Pets

I've long been aware that my two Rhodesian Ridgebacks can communicate with each other in ways far more subtle than any human being can muster. A glance, a tilt of the head or a flick of the tongue and the message is received and understood. Our older dog is known as Rosie Glare. I don't know what the facial expression does to the younger dog, but it certainly puts me in my place. Full review...

What Do I Do When... My Dog Pulls? by Turid Rugaas

4.5star.jpg Pets

If you ask dog owners what problems they have with their pets you can be certain that some will come up time and time again. Failure to return when called is common, as is intrusive barking but the one that comes up most often is the failure to walk properly on a lead. It might not seem to be a major problem if you have a small dog but for those of us with big dogs – I have two Rhodesian Ridgebacks – it can be a major and dangerous problem, particularly in frosty weather. If my two dogs decided to pull there is no way that I could control their combined weight of 75kg - and most of it is solid muscle. Full review...

An Eagle in the Airing Cupboard by Rex Harper

5star.jpg Autobiography

We first met Rex Harper in An Otter on the Aga where he told us of how he and his wife, Julie worked first to help injured or abused animals and then founded their own animal sanctuary. It was a book of laughter, sadness at the way that some people will treat animals and gratitude that there are people like Rex and Julie who devote their lives to the welfare of animals. At the end of Otter the sanctuary had been taken over by the RSPCA and An Eagle in the Airing Cupboard takes up where Otter finished and looks at a year in the life of a warden. Full review...

Posy by Linda Newbery and Catherine Rayner

5star.jpg For Sharing

I've got a new best friend. She's called Posy.

Posy is a kitten and her fur is that wonderful mixture of black, brown and cream that we call tabby. Under her tummy, all four paws and her face look as though they've been dipped in a bowl of cream, which, knowing Posy, is quite possible. She's still finding out about the world, you see. Full review...

The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims

4.5star.jpg Pets

Graeme Sims is rightly proud of all that he's achieved in life. After a catastrophic business collapse (at the age of fifty) which was none of his fault, he and his wife Maureen made the decision to move to rural Devon, but on the eve of their departure he encountered a stray dog. Annie was to change his life in ways that he couldn't imagine. From being unemployable he was to become a shepherd, presenter of demonstrations in a theme park and dog trainer. Graeme Sims had discovered that he was capable of communicating with dogs and could understand what they were telling him. Full review...

Life with Beau: A Tale of a Dog and His Family by Anna Quindlen

4.5star.jpg Pets

Bristol's Beauregard Buchanan, Beau to his family and friends, is an old dog when we first meet him. Whilst Anna Quindlen is at the vet's collecting his prescription Beau is sleeping on the rug in the foyer. The rug smells. Beau smells and he has little sight or hearing, but then he's nearly fifteen years old. He's reached that stage in an older dog's life when there's no point in his going to see the vet (he certainly doesn't want to go there ever again, after what happened to his prostate…) and the next house call will be the last. Full review...


The Loved Dog by Tamar Geller

4star.jpg Pets

People tell me that I'm fortunate in my dogs: they're usually well-behaved and a pleasure to be around despite the fact that they're really rather big. In much the same way that Gary Player hit the nail on the head when he said that the harder he practiced the luckier he got, well-mannered dogs are generally the product of an assiduous training regime. In the past it was thought that this could only be achieved by dominating the dog by brute force if necessary and with the aid of such implements of torture as the choke chain. The one area in which I was fortunate is that once I saw the size and strength of a fully-grown Rhodesian Ridgeback I knew that I had no hope of physically dominating the dog. I would have to find some other method of training. Full review...