Tag Archives: Jon Katz

The Second Chance Dog – book review

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.  the-second-chance-dog

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

Izzy & Lenore – book review

Izzy and Lenore by Jon Katz

Over this Easter weekend, I have finished reading Izzy & Lenore, another great dog book by Jon Katz.

Although Katz’s earlier books talk about his life establishing Bedlam Farm in upstate New York,  and his menagerie of animals, this book gives us some depth into who Jon Katz is as a person, and he’s honest about his own battle with depression.

Izzy is a Border Collie that is rescued by Katz and he’s intelligent, with the seeming ability to connect to people in all circumstances.  This dog seems to have an infinite amount of compassion, despite being abandoned by his previous owners.  Katz and Izzy become trained as hospice volunteers and so throughout the book, there are tales of hospice cases that the two become involved in.  If you have ever had a loved one experience a terminal illness, dealt with the effects of old age and infirmity, these stories will resonate with you.

Lenore is a congenial Labrador puppy who joins the pack.

In this book, Katz faces his own battle with depression and he explains some of the dark secrets that he and his sister share.

I recommend this book, as I have all the others I have read by Jon Katz.  I wish I had his talent for storytelling and – perhaps best of all – unlike previous stories of Bedlam Farm, no dogs die during the course of this story.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand