From Publishers Weekly
Katz, a novelist and nonfiction author (A Dog Year; Geeks), here explores the bond between dogs and their owners. Focusing on 12 people-dog relationships in Montclair, N.J., and drawing on current research into attachment theory, interviews with animal workers and psychiatrists, as well as conversations with dog owners, Katz offers nuanced portraits of what happens when humans depend on dogs to satisfy their emotional needs. He contends that high divorce rates, an unstable workplace and the shrinking extended family are some of the reasons that people have come to rely on pets instead of one another during times of crisis. Donna, a divorced woman with terminal cancer, turns to her Welsh corgi for comfort and as an antidote to loneliness. In a darker portrait, Katz tells the story of Jamal, a troubled 14-year old and the owner of a pit bull whom he clearly loves, and yet beats daily. Katz also describes the laudable work of Betty Jean, who devotes her life to rescuing dogs from shelters-but who gives little attention to her grown children or grandchildren. Although Katz, a dog owner himself, appreciates the strong tie between humans and dogs, he fears that many owners use their pets as support during hard times, only to discard them later: Kate's German shepherd, for example, helped her recover from her husband's death, but she gave the dog away when she remarried. In this well-written and thoughtful account, Katz makes a convincing case that dog owners must be more self-aware and responsible when they use their pets as human substitutes.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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“Deserves a blue ribbon . . . [Katz] does a terrific job of examining how dogs are handling their ‘new work’: serving as many a family’s nurturer in chief.”
“[Katz] writes with sensitivity about human relationships with animals.”
“Engagingly bittersweet . . . Katz’s central thesis, that dogs have moved way beyond their past work, is certainly true.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Humorous, compelling, and heartrending, this is a breakthrough book from one of our most talented and perceptive canine chroniclers.”
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