Too bad that journalist Rice plays for sheer volume rather than control of his unwieldy pack of material in this attempt to present the extravagances of America's pet-happy population. The author has, inevitably, visited pampered pet emporiums, talked with trainers and breeders, humane and pet welfare officials, pet ""funeral homes,"" notables of the mighty AKC and cat fanciers associations, pet food and supply impresarios. What emerges is an uncritical, un-weighted series of sightings, reflecting mainly metropolitan, East and West coast hot pockets of legitimate-to-lunatic activities which feed, clothe, house, train and promote pets--to fill the needs of what the author believes, are increasingly lonely Americans. Occasionally the author dispenses with his vacuum cleaner, and attempts a person-to-pet observation, with success. His lope with a Manhattan dog walking team is a delight. As for the rest--except for a staggering statistic confirming the city dweller's wildest estimate of the quantitative wake of the dog walker, and an illuminating training oddment (when he barks, throw a chain at him)--this is a non-adhering, meatless diet with little roughage.