Radio and (recently) TV commentator Caras extols the virtues of pet ownership and also details the considerable responsibilities entailed--everything from first nights to first aid. After discussing humane principles, he characterizes dogs generally, and then more than 50 breeds in particular, noting which are prone to hip dysplasia, which are especially good with children, which need as much attention as children, etc. He tends to concentrate on the strong points--the beauty and size of the Great Dane--and downplay or even ignore some of the drawbacks--its frequently short life span. He devotes less space to cats, and gives token information on horses, snakes, small rodents, only rarely waxing hyperbolic, e.g., referring to the cat as ""one of our earliest acts of art."" Caras adamantly opposes nonprofessional and unplanned breeding, and urges neutering as a general policy: ""Anyone who argues about the 'impurity' of sexually altering animals has never been in the back room of a pound."" Animal magnetism--for his loyal audience.