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A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life Paperback – June 26, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a story about a man who gave up on his dog, perhaps always intended it to be so. Perhaps a story about a man desperate for another book, another heartwrenching tale. Perhaps he tricked us all. After all, as he so eloquently writes, "I am a writer." Maybe he is still suffering the "Midlife Crisis" he wrote about in "Running to the Mountain." I can see in Jon Katz a man who makes rash decisions just because he feels like it, because he wants different circumstances, and this book proves it so.
He writes in a loving, heart-warming manner of his loving, close, committed, special relationship with Orson, the dog he wrote about in "A Dog Year." Then the tables turn and he writes of his horrifying "CHOICE." Might I add SELFISH. In horrifying DETAIL he tells the tale of Orson's fate and he doesn't stop there. He writes about how much better his life is without this dog. This dog whose work was Jon Katz, but Jon Katz did indeed fail him, though he reasons and justifies his actions as best as he knows how as a writer. I feel like he lied to all of us who loved his previous books. He fooled us, but most importantly Orson.
If any of you enjoyed "A Dog Year" or "The Dogs of Bedlam Farm," I advise you not to read this book. Those two books touch the heart, caused me to be a better guardian, one in which I could relate to since I have herding dogs of my own. But how could I ever read those books again after reading this one? I can't and won't. It was all just a big lie.
That poor dog never had a chance in the first place.
He tells us he can rescue fifty dogs for what it would cost to take Orson to one specialist. But he's already told us in previous volumes he doesn't believe in rescue dogs, in second hand dogs, but in getting "good" dogs from "good" breeders.
This guy was too cheap and lazy to take his dog to even one canine veterinary specialist when the dog's behavior worsened, or to build him a decent fence with a beware of dog sign, to hire even one good dog trainer. All of those things -- vet care, training, fencing -- are basic responsibilities that come with owning a dog. But he didn't leash his dog when necessary (something he has a history of never doing), never put up proper fencing (Orson regularly got out of his NJ fence at home and even the puppy Clem was nearly mowed down by a semi at the farm), never supervised Orson properly around visitors. And then he was astounded when there were incidents.Read more ›
The incident taught me a very hard lesson...but a necessary one. I had to be absolutely vigilant about my supervision of this dog. How I introduce him. Where I walk him. I changed the leash from a regular 6ft leash to a 4ft slip lead (NOT a choke chain). I have also applied some local trainers' ideas about noticing the early signs of excitement in my dog and learning how to channel the dog's attention so that he never gets to the excited state. It has been over 2 years since the incident and we have had no other incidents. But, as I said, my husband and I are vigilant about our supervision. I do not take lightly the fact that my dog bit someone. I think I lost sleep for a month when it happened. But, that memory now serves as a constant reminder to me to maintain my awareness with my dog and be constant in my supervision - which really all dog owners should do with all dogs.
I have all of the Orson books and I, too, was enjoying reading them. I thought, here is someone who understands what I am going through in dealing with an anxious dog.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this story until I got to the part where Katz started to present his "options" for dealing with Orson's biting of 3 people while unsupervised on his farm. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lois Payne
I cannot get enough of Jon Katz's writing about animals.Published 5 months ago by Stephen N. Stephan
what a reality, what every dog owner my face at one time in their life,Published 6 months ago by bonita neubauer
I wish I had read the reviews before I put money into the hands of this self-absorbed dog murderer. His blithely describes his verbal and physical abuse of the dog, when the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rhonda Colwell
Very moving story. Told well, except Jon has a way of telling the same thing over and over again, which is annoying, and interferes with the flow of the story. Read morePublished 7 months ago by veganll
unlike most books like this, there was no "happy ending,"no ending in the usual sense, only a conclusion that one found either infuriating or profoundly moving. Mr. Read morePublished 9 months ago by stuart bloom