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Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die Hardcover – September 27, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Going Home

"[He's] probably my favorite dog writer, although I will warn people that he's such a lovely writer that he ... tends to make me cry.  I have at least twice ended up in tears on an airplane reading a Jon Katz book."—Julie Rovner, NPR

"For the country’s 77.5 million dog owners and 93.6 million cat owners, this account of the essential grieving process should be extremely helpful."--Library Journal

"(R)eaders will find this book refreshing in its honest depiction of grief over pet loss."--Kirkus

"(A) must-read while your pet is vibrant and healthy...the perfect guidebook for both preparing for and coping with that eventual loss most painfully approach with trepidation."--Seattle Kennel Club

Praise for Jon Katz

“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.”—The Boston Globe
“From Toto to Marley, our canine friends are a sure bet in the literary biz. But no one seems to speak their language like Jon Katz.”—San Antonio Express-News
“Katz proves himself a Thoreau for modern times as he ponders the relationships between man and animals, humanity and nature.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“I toss a lifetime award of three liver snaps to Jon Katz.”—Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio’s Fresh Air

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345502698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345502698
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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