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Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die Paperback – August 21, 2012

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Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die + Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet + When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing
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Editorial Reviews


“Wonderful [and] enormously comforting.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A must-read . . . Numerous books have been published on the subject, but Going Home ranks right up there with the best.”—Seattle Kennel Club
“[A] heartrending book . . . Katz addresses a need, and he does it beautifully.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Refreshing in its honest depiction of grief over pet loss.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Katz offers wisdom on finding peace.”Baltimore Sun

About the Author

Jon Katz has written twenty books—eight novels and twelve works of nonfiction—including Soul of a Dog, Izzy & Lenore, Dog Days, A Good Dog, and The Dogs of Bedlam Farm. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Rolling Stone, Wired, and the AKC Gazette. He has worked for CBS News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Katz is also a photographer and the author of a children’s book, Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm. He lives on Bedlam Farm in upstate New York with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf; his dogs, Rose, Izzy, Lenore, and Frieda; his donkeys, Lulu and Fanny; and his barn cats, Mother and Minnie.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345502701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345502704
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bedlam Farm in upstate New York is where I live, write and tend my animals - four dogs, two donkeys, two barn cats. The rambling old farmhouse was built in 1862; it's surrounded by pastures, streams and wooded hillsides, plus four barns and a milkhouse in various stages of disrepair.

I write books- memoirs, novels, short story collections, and beginning in 2011, children's books. I am also a photographer.

In my former life, before I grew preoccupied with sheepherding and moving manure around. I wanted to change my life and write more about the experience of living with and understanding animals.
I write novels and nonfiction books (I've written 20 books), along with columns and articles for Rolling Stone, Wired, the New York Times, and the website HotWired.
Coming to the farm turned out to be a Joseph Campbell style "Hero's Journey." I went off into some dark places, got divorced, struggled to face myself, and found someone to share my life.

My wife Maria Wulf is an artist, who specializes in fiber art. She works in the Studio Barn across the road from the farmhouse. Earlier this year, I thought briefly of selling Bedlam Farm. After getting married, we decided to stay here. My daughter Emma, a sportswriter living in Brooklyn, has written her own book about New York baseball. I publish a blog I love dearly - www.bedlafarm.com. My photos appear there daily. My dogs are Izzy, Lenore, Frieda and Rose, the working dog who helps me run the farm.

My writing life began with a novel - "Sign Off" - an unwittingly prescient story about the jarring changes in work and security.

This year - 2010 - I am returning to fiction. I've written a novel, "Rose In A Storm," about a border collie stranded on a farm in upstate New York during a terrible storm. I wrote this book in conjunction with some animal behaviorists who helped me enter the mind of a dog, and hopefully, be faithful to that. My first children's book "Meet The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm," will be published by Henry Holt next year. I have just finished a short story collection to be published next year by Villard/Random House.
In recent years, photography has become central to me as well as writing. I have been fortunate enough to have several gallery showings of my work, and also sell my photos as notecards through the Redux Gallery in Dorset, Vt.

I am also working on a book about animal grieving. Hopefully, it will be useful.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Nobles VINE VOICE on August 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read most if not all of Jon Katz's books and have reviewed at least one in both the print and electronic media. I have found them to be insightful, well-written, and generally displaying a thoughtful understanding of animals, especially dogs, that will cause the reader to smile, sometimes laugh out loud; shed a tear or two; and nod their head in understanding and agreement with many of the opinions and theories offered by Katz.
This book is a bit different in that it deals with a subject many fear facing, the death of a cherished animal. Katz encourages the reader to accept, even welcome, grief that naturally occurs when a loved companion pet dies and to recognize it as a healthy sign...within limits. He argues that we should recognize grief as a normal, even healthy, result of our deep feelings for our pets and we should not be ashamed of our feelings. However, he cautions that we should learn to accept the death of an animal as a natural occurance and not try to second-guess how we treated our pet, especially if we had to make the sometimes gut-wrenching decision to euthanize it due to illness, injury, etc. He suggests that mourning is natural and that we should strive to remain connected internally by finding a place for them in our current lives. This can be as simple as remembering them to sharing memories of them with others to more formal activities such as memorials, etc.
I have recently lost a companion dog and have found myself second guessing my decision to have him euthanized a number of times. This book has helped me think through my relationship with him and to almost stop the second guessing, almost but not quite.
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Mari Jo on October 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have been a long time Jon Katz fan until now. When I got to the chapter where he had Elvis, his pet steer, hauled off to the slaughterhouse I erased this book from my reader. I was horrified that Mr Katz could do this to a people loving, trusting animal and do it in a fairly cold manner. I am no longer a Jon Katz fan.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If there is one thing that Jon Katz makes perfectly clear in his latest volume on our relationship with animals, GOING HOME: FINDING PEACE WHEN PETS DIE, is that our pets are not "furry children," they are not people. We can love them as they fill important gaps in our lives but we should not feel guilt, a phenomenon unknown to animals, when we have to make responsible decisions about the ends of their lives. We should consult with our vet but the decision is ultimately ours. Based on the information we have, we should move forward, reminding ourselves that we have done our best. That is good advice.

There is a wealth of other good advice in this book that should become a reference manual for people dealing with losing a pet and the accompanying grief that follows. Since only about 50% of the population has pets, we should be careful about whom we seek out for comfort, perhaps another animal lover or a sensitive friend so that we don't hear from well-meaning people that he was just a dog or a cat after all. Or we can find help via the internet, where we can remain anonymous, from others who have suffered similar losses.

We should anticipate what will happen at the end of our pet's life so we should be prepared, as best we can, when the end comes and grief overcomes us. Everyone grieves in his own time. As Emily Dickinson reminds us, sorrow has its own season. Since animals cannot speak, we have an obligation to speak for them and do the responsible thing for them. We should be honest with our children when their pet dies as well. Mr. Katz suggests that children are much better able to deal with the death of a pet than many of us believe.

One of the most beautiful things about this book is Mr.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Megan @ Book Brats on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having lost a dog around the same period as I received an advanced reader copy of this book, I was unsure of what to do. My black lab Ozzie had been a part of my life from a young age, and in a sense we grew up together. I'm 24 and Ozzie came into my family when I was 12, but I quickly took to him and he became like a furry brother for me. His death left a void in my life and I immediately picked up this book.

Going Home was both poignant and helpful for me in accepting my dog's death. It tells of celebrating a dog's life and how blessed I am to have been able to experience his life and his gifts to my family and my own life. Katz's own experiences with the death of his dog Orson resonated with me as I searched for hope and comfort in the days after Ozzie's death. What I learned, though, is that Ozzie changed me as a person. This book is the type that will teach you about the power our relationships with our pets have on us as people.

This book helped ease the grieving process involved with the death of a beloved family pet. Ozzie was more than just a pet, though. He really was part of my family. After reading Going Home, I learned to celebrate his life and be grateful for everything he did for me and my family. If you are in the process of grieving the loss of a pet, this is a book you cannot miss. It helps so much.
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