||Michael Schaffer has uncovered a staggering statistic that should probably make a lot of us somewhat ashamed: while people starve and suffer here and around the world, Americans spent more than 40 billion dollars on their pets in 2008. Obviously, pets are a vital part of our lives, and they deserve quality food, equipment, and medical attention, but Schaffer reveals that pets are also being treated to ridiculous luxuries such as spas and hotels, designer clothes, psychiatric treatment, and plastic surgery. Schaffer willingly admits to participating in the madness, having hired a personal trainer for his St. Bernard and even paid big bucks to have his dog's prescription for "puppy Prozac" filled. The book is full of offbeat accounts of pet-crazy people, such as the Manhattan housewife who became a dog party planner after her Army husband bought her a Chihuahua before he was commissioned to Iraq, but also functions as a serious analysis of the burgeoning business of pet pampering and what it might mean for our society and our economy.
||“Informative, entertaining . . . [A] terrific book.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington PostWhen Michael Schaffer and his wife drove to a rural animal shelter and adopted Murphy, a mistreated Saint Bernard, they vowed that they’d never become the kind of people who, say, get their dog a facial treatment. But then they started to get weird looks from the in-laws: You hired a trainer? Murphy is on antidepressants?It turned out Murphy wasn’t alone: yesteryear’s pooch has moved from the backyard doghouse to the master bedroom, evolving from man’s best friend to bona fide family member. One Nation Under Dog is the beloved chronicle of this new world of American pet mania.Schaffer, guided on occasion by Murphy, provides a surprising, lively, and often hilarious portrait of our country—how the way we treat our pets reflects evolving ideas about everything from science and consumerism, to politics and family—through this fabulously reported and sympathetic look at both us and our animals.