Subtitled ‘A Love Story’ – this book by Jon Katz lives up to its name.
Jon Katz is a prolific writer of books about his dogs and life on his beloved upstate New York farm, Bedlam Farm.
At this point in Katz’s life, his marriage is all but over and divorce is inevitable. He meets a kindred spirit in artist Maria who owns Frieda – a German Shepherd/Rottweiler cross whom she adopted from a local shelter. But Frieda is incredibly protective of Maria and cannot be trusted around Katz’s other dogs or the animals on the farm. Her ability to hunt and attack is readily evident.
Katz concludes that he must train Frieda and reach a truce with this dog so that all dogs can live peacefully in the house together and, as a consequence, so too can he and Maria.
Perhaps the most touching part of this book is when Katz attempts to learn about Frieda’s life before she ended up in the shelter. Frieda is a very intelligent dog and she escaped capture by her would-be rescuers for months. Katz interviews students on the college campus where Frieda was often seen scavenging for food and learns about how she was ‘trained’ to protect the property of her original owners and teased through the fence of her property. And ultimately how she was abandoned – pregnant.
Katz is determined and his story for love of Maria, Frieda, and all of his animals, is well worth reading.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand