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Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me Paperback – August 18, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After a half-dozen books about the dogs and other animals that live with him on Bedlam Farm in upstate New York (Dog Days, A Good Dog, Katz on Dogs), Katz's gentle, folksy style and intuitive connection to the world around him work a familiar but comforting vein, entirely suitable to his subject: "I cherish the considered predictability of these creatures, their sociability, their contented acceptance of life. I wish I possessed even one of those traits. I'm working on it." The latest features his adoption of Izzy, a sensitive border collie who inspires Katz to take up volunteer work with hospice patients. Whether meeting Timmy, a young boy dying of brain tumor, or Glen, a terminal patient who recollects his own beloved dog, Katz evokes vividly the hospice environment and the deep meaning its patients find in Izzy. Unfortunately, the balance of the book, concerning a black lab named Lenore and Katz's own struggle with depression and a painful past, suffers from a lack of detail and leaves little impact. Fans will be happy to return to the farm, but newcomers may want to start with his first dog volume, 2002's A Dog Year. Photos.
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.


“With wisdom and grace, [Katz] unlocks the canine soul and the complicated wonders that lie within and offers powerful insights to anyone who has ever struggled with, and loved, a troubled animal.”—John Grogan, author of Marley & Me

“Katz’s world–of animals and humans and their combined generosity of spirit–is a place you’re glad you’ve been.”—Boston Globe

“One of our most talented and perceptive canine chroniclers.”—AKC Gazette

“Compelling . . . Amidst swirling emotions and personal tangles, Izzy & Lenore is a gem of a showcase of man and dog at their best.”—CityDog magazine

“Will make you smile, weep and perhaps look at the four-legged creature in your own life with a little more appreciation and love.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“What could be better than man’s best friend? Two of them, of course.”—New York Post, required reading

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812977742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812977745
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,257 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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Techel on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read all Jon's books and loved them all. But, this one is my all time favorite. It touched my heart so deeply. Jon portrayed beautifully the connection between dogs and humans. His honesty about not always finding the right words to describe this connection was refreshing. Sometimes things just don't have an explanation. They can only be felt with the heart. Jon does this so eloquently in Izzy and Lenore. My own dog, who is in a wheelchair, does therapy work with hospital patients and assisted senior facilities. What transpires when she interacts with them is absolute love on a level most times I cannot find words for. All I know is that I witness something bigger than myself. Bravo, Jon for sharing Izzy and Lenore with hospice and nursing home residents and now sharing those beautiful stories with the world... what a gift for everyone.

~Barbara Techel, Author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By S. P. on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Hi. First of all, I want to say that jon katz is a good writer and I have enjoyed several of his books over the years. However, when I read this book, I kept thinking, where is Clementine (Clem), the lab who was the perfect dog in his last book? Oh, he gave her away to a couple who was hiking so she could get more exercise. Jon lives on a farm for God's sake so I think Clem got plenty of exercise. What happened to Tulip, the older lab who had orthopedic problems? Oh, he gave her to his daughter who lives in the city. He said this was for Tulip's own good because she needed medical care and a more restful life. Well..... maybe. Jon does have to travel because of book signings, etc. so yeah, I can see why he re-homed her with his daughter. Maybe his career travel made it difficult to do right by Clem, but why then did he go out and buy a new black lab pup if he did not have sufficient time for the wonderful Clem? Are you getting the picture here? I defended Jon for his decision to put down Orson who had a loose-cannon aggression problem and I still stand by my opinion that this was the responsible thing to do. However, I am no longer a Jon Katz fan because he goes through dogs like nothing. One book they are the greatest dog in the world and next book he has a new puppy which is the greatest dog in the world (there are one or two other such re-homed dogs in previous books as well). It is clear that he has some emotional problems and buys dogs to try to satisfy these emotional needs. He is a good writer but I am no longer interested in his stories.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Chasing Eudaemonia on October 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jon's story is really about many journeys intertwined. At the center is an abandoned dog named Izzy and the discovery of his amazing gift for shepherding humans through the most difficult transitions they will ever face. Along the way, Jon experiences a journey deep into himself, to a place he's avoided for too long. Thanks to Lenore (the adorable face on the cover), Izzy, Rosie, Elvis and a few very special humans, Jon was able to cross the valley of shadows and share a story of hope, love, compassion, and understanding.

For anyone whose life has been touched by the unconditional love of a dog (or really any animal), this book will make perfect sense. I purchased it on a whim one particularly rotten morning on my way to work, and finished it the same day. Thanks to Jon, Izzy, Lenore and the others, I have new hope for my own journey...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Batalin on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Katz seems to have found a new voice for himself...a voice in which he can speak to the reader with more sincerity, more feeling, and to be honest an easier more flowing speech. This book reads like travel literature, moving easily from section to section, experience to experience. The dogs are once again front and center, but I felt as though their 'voices' were more distinct. I felt that this book was much easier to read and enjoy than his previous titles, although it should be noted that some of the subject matter may be a little too close to home for some. Katz approaches these moments with humor and at the same time sensitivity...dare I suggest the word grace. An excellent read for anyone interested in the power of dogs and the bond between spirits.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on December 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
According to Jon Katz, "This book is about small things, like getting a new dog that changes your outlook. And about big things, like having a dog lead you places you never imagined going."

Katz continues a remarkable series of books about his animals, the ones living on Bedlam Farm, in IZZY & LENORE. Life has settled into a routine on the farm, but Katz is a sucker for new challenges. He has heard tales of a beautiful purebred border collie, abandoned on a small farm and relegated to running beside fences every day. His coat filthy, tangled with burrs, and his fur mottled with his own waste, the dog has run the fence line for three years. Watching the fur ball whiz past him, Katz feels the impact of an important happening. This animal is special.

The plan is simple. Nurture the dog, feed him and ready him to be placed in a caring home. But Katz cannot restrain himself from becoming emotionally involved with Izzy. Tough to train and nearly impossible to tame, Izzy seems born with a mission. He responds to loving contact with a human and becomes "Jon's dog." Katz is keenly aware that Izzy will lead him to places he's never dreamed of going.

Long beset with periods of depression, Katz discovers Izzy's ability to lift his dark moods, a constant and consistent companion beside him. When a nearby neighbor requests that Izzy visit her dying mother, Katz enters a realm of service he had not visualized was possible --- a social but compassionate purpose. The simple act of spending time with a dying woman to brighten her day stimulates Katz. Izzy's gift is soon opened to others who face death, as he and his owner become hospice volunteers.

The chapters that follow chronicle Izzy's remarkable ability to minister to those in terrible physical circumstances.
Read more ›
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