Pet Nation

Mark Cushing

Avery Publisher

Sept 21st, 2021

Pet Nation by Mark Cushing tells the inside story on how pets are affecting Americans homes, culture, and the economy. Some of the best chapters are Chapter 4: “The Secret to Pet Nation,” the human-animal bond; Chapter 6: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” the legal and political fights; and Chapter 7:  “Pet Health Care Will Never Be the Same.”

I wanted to show how one of the most dramatic changes in Pet Nation is the desire of Americans to take their dogs into public places outside their homes.  They are now allowed in places they have never been allowed before:  hospitals have animal assisted therapy dogs, hotels have rooms reserved for those who bring their pets, and restaurants with outside seating.  I think in the next thirty years boundaries will be tested further such as planes, inside restaurants, and in the work force.  The work environment will become more pet friendly to convince millennials to come back into the office.  Pet owner’s primary objective is they do not want to leave their pet.”  

It delves into why Americans view their pets as members of the family. Pet Nation tells the story of this seismic shift and the economic, media, legal, political, and social dramas springing from this cultural transformation. People might have heard that as the pandemic lockdowns occurred many got a furry companion to provide solace, exercise, and even spiritual sustenance.  

“I wrote how, for over a thousand years, we follow the English Common Law where pets are deemed to be personal property.  All but one state, Louisiana, follows the English Common Law.  It does not matter if a state is red or blue, they will not reject this law, and I will be part of the group that encourages the law not to change.  Otherwise, negative consequences including higher cost will flow from it.”  

Because Cushing has worked in the pet field for several years his insight has been invaluable, including as the founding partner and CEO of the Animal Policy Group. It is based in Scottsdale, Portland, and Los Angeles. The wide range of issues dealt with are pet health, animal welfare and veterinary educational interests. 

Being a dog person myself, the most enjoyable line in the book is “Dogs are knitting society together.” Readers understand how pets provide friendship, diversion, and amusement, that help their owners put a smile on their faces. 

Sometimes animals are mistreated like what happened to the dogs in Afghanistan.  The Biden Administration had its embassy staff members leave their beloved pets behind as they fled the country, and the American Humane Society president and CEO Robin Ganzert claimed US military contract working dogs were left behind “to be tortured and killed at the hands of our enemies.” 

Cushing noted, “I do not favor or condone leaving dogs in Afghanistan.  It had to do with the indifference of the decision makers toward these dogs.  For the life of me, I cannot understand how they would not have been enormously grateful for these dogs.  This was not a good day.”

This book is truthful, witty, smart, entertaining, and enlightening. It is about Americans’ love affair with their pets, and how they have seeped into the owners’ hearts, mind, and decisions. 



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.