The Ultimate Pet Handbook is a new book by Ben Dessen created to help young people show compassion and kindness towards animals.

Ben Dessen, who works as Retail Manager at one of Australia’s leading independent pet retailers Kellyville Pets, said he frequently met young people who have a desire to share their lives with pets, however they didn’t always know which pet was best for them or where to start, and he wrote the book for them.

“When I set out on this journey, I had a vision of writing the book that I wish I had as a young animal lover growing up. A book that would sit on my bedside table, that I could read every night before going to sleep. A book with pages that would become worn after being read for the tenth time. A book that would have hand-written notes scribbled throughout, about which pet I wanted to share my life with next and how I was going to give that animal the very best life,” explained Dessen.

Dessen received the support of two of his idols, Dr Harry Cooper and Bob Irwin, in the creation of the book, something he says he extremely fortunate of.

“Growing up, Dr Harry Cooper was one of my greatest sources of inspiration and I am deeply humbled by his generous words in the foreword of The Ultimate Pet Handbook.

“The book also features an empowering message to young people from Bob Irwin, the father of Steve Irwin, who has taught me so much over the years.”

Putting the book together was not without its challenges, having been written in 2019 and scheduled for release later that year, the plans were scuppered by the intervention of Covid.

“Due to the great uncertainties of the times, the publisher made the wise decision to hold back the release of the book. Three years on, I could not be more excited to finally get to share The Ultimate Pet Handbook with the world.”

Dessen hopes that the book will inspire a new generation of animal lovers to be responsible for ‘pet parents’ and enjoy the privilege of sharing their lives with pets.

“Above all else, I hope the book becomes a catalyst that encourages young people to be compassionate and kind and maybe even pursue a career working with and protecting animals like I have.”

Having spent over 15 years working in the pet industry, Dessen said he saw a great need for a book such as this.

The Ultimate Pet Handbook features over 30 individual ‘Pet Profiles’ covering all pet categories. Each ‘Pet Profile’ includes detailed husbandry information, pet tips and fun facts. Chapters in the book also cover topics such as ‘Planning for a pet’, ‘Choosing the right pet’, ‘Making a budget’ and ‘Where to find a pet’. There are templates allowing children to create their own ‘Pet Proposal’ and budget, to pitch to the adults in their lives.

“The book directs children to their local shelter or reputable pet store to find their perfect pet as well as purchase all the necessary equipment and supplies.”

The Ultimate Pet Handbook will be released in bookstores and online in late September 2022. Copies with a personalised message to the child, are available for pre-order The RRP for the book is $29.99.

For retailers looking to stock the book in their store, they can contact Robert Saba at New Holland Publishers at

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