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Creature Comforts

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world-in 2011, 68 per cent of all Kiwi households had at least one pet: almost half had a cat and nearly a third had a dog. Yet until now no book has explored how pets came to be such an integral part of the New Zealand way of life. Creature Comforts does just this. By chronicling the major events and ideas that have shaped pet keeping in New Zealand, this fascinating and entertaining book explains the strong relationship we have with our animal friends, and how this has changed over time. It looks at the social impact of fanciers' organizations, the moral influence of the SPCA and other animal welfare groups, the educational role of calf clubs, and the questions raised by animal rights activists. Along the way, it tells the stories of some memorable companion animals. The book is beautifully illustrated and includes many previously unpublished historical images.
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About the Author

Nancy Swarbrick is Managing Editor for Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand ( She has spent most of her career working on public history projects, and was Assistant Editor (Editing and Research) for the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography during the book publication programme 1990-2000. She is also a pet owner.

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