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The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story Hardcover – November 12, 2013
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“No one speaks the language of a dog like best-selling author Jon Katz. His latest heartwarming memoir about finding love after struggling through a broken relationship . . . gives testament to how dogs can make us better human beings.”—The Free Lance–Star
“[An] intimate story of falling in love with a woman and her extremely protective pet dog . . . Bittersweet in its telling, Katz reminds readers of the importance of human and animal connections.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In this heartwarming story of love and redemption . . . dogs and humans alike get second chances at life, love, and growth. . . . This moving work is recommended for readers who want a true-life love story, for dog lovers seeking a book with a happy ending (the dog doesn’t die!), for seniors who think that receiving a Medicare card means that love is out of the question, and for dog trainers who want to learn more about Katz’s philosophy of dog training.”—Library Journal
“The story [Katz] tells gives hope that no animal is beyond help, as long as enough love and patience are thrown in.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
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
Top Customer Reviews
Maria came along in Jon Katz's life when he was at a low. He was over sixty, alone and separated from friends and family. His marriage was ending and he was despondent.
It was love at first sight -- at least, that's how Jon felt for Maria. Frieda, the traumatized guard dog Maria chose because she protected her from men....
This story is not just about Frieda, but Jon's recovery and Renaissance and the budding late-life romance between him and Maria. It's a hopeful tale all-around.
While I read the entire book, I found myself wanting to move past the people and back toward the dog--it wasn't for lack of compassion for either Jon or Maria, I picked up the book because of the title and I was hoping for more of a dog tale. Frankly, I needed badly to escape people for a bit. I'd say about 1/3 of the book is Frieda--her training and her story. Those pages had me riveted and often in tears because that's what I wanted and needed to read about. That's why I chose this particular book.
If the dog's story being a smaller portion of a larger tale is enough for you, you're good. Katz is an excellent author and an excellent detailer of his own character and that of our current society. I would gladly read more of his writing, but this tale should perhaps best be titled, "A Second Chance Life."
Rebecca Kyle, October 2013
I have been reading Jon Katz since his Suburban Detective mystery series in the 1990s (which I still consider his best fiction). When he started writing about his life at Bedlam Farm in 2004, I was instantly hooked. I did notice that other than Katz himself, there weren't a lot of people in those books. In one of my reviews I speculated that he was more comfortable writing about animals than about people. I am a regular reader of his blog and I know that he writes often about the people in his life. Maybe it was a book-length in-depth examination that he shied away from.
After reading this lovely book, I realize that it's a daunting task to write a whole book about meeting your soulmate.
Readers of the blog know that Jon Katz has a strong point of view. He comes across as quite confident and pretty much in control of his life. He does not keep it secret that at the time he met Maria, he was in a bad place emotionally. His marriage was breaking up. He was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But when he writes about Maria on the blog, it is pretty much about the present, how grateful he is to have her in his life, how much he loves her.
The book is the story of how they met. The Jon Katz of the book is way more vulnerable and tentative than the Katz of the present-day blog who reminisces about their meeting and coming together from a much stronger place. (At the time they actually met, I was not reading the blog.Read more ›
If you are a dog-lover, and especially if you "feel" for those animals who have been mis-treated and denied of the unconditional love they are so eager to give, I believe you will love this story as I did. It's not really like reading most stories. Our author, Jon Katz, writes in a way that made me feel that I was sitting across an old wooden kitchen table from him, with a cup of tea, while he told me his story. In an old farm house, with several old barns on the property, I could "see" everything so clearly as he explained how he came to meet Frieda, a Rottweiler-Shepherd mix, and Marie, Frieda's human.
Frieda was a rescued dog. Maria got her from the Queensbury, New York ASPCA. Frieda had fended for herself for some time in the harsh, cold winters of upstate New York, specifically living wild, abandoned and pregnant in the Adirondaks. As you read the story of Frieda's past, you will understand why she has certain behavioral qualities, extremely loving, yet obsessively protective, agressive, yet gentle. Can Frieda be retrained to share her big loving heart with others?
This book was really hard for me to put down. I read it almost straight through, with some sleep in between. Usually, I am a slow reader, but I felt compelled to hear all of Fried'a story. You will also find a website in the book, where you can go on-line to meet Frieda. I suggest you read her story first.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have never read any of Jon Katz's books, but from the title and the back cover, it sounded like he loves animals, however I found very little of that in this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cyndi W
I've enjoyed Jon Katz's previous books and this one was no exception. I have a Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix that has a "Frieda" guard dog mentality and I found myself drawing... Read morePublished 2 months ago by D.Beyer
Great read! Love the 2nd chance theme and trying to understand what makes each person/animal who and what they are. It's all about acceptance.Published 5 months ago by DG
I like dogs and I like John Katz's books about dogs and his growth through living with the dogs. His writing style is very friendly and inviting. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Vadee2
I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I finally put it down 3/4's of the way through it and just can't find the will to pick it back up and finish it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by L. Mortensen
Another good one by Jon Katz. It traveled all the way from Canada, much to my surprise! Well packaged, arrived in good condition.Published 7 months ago by Claudette Armentrout
Don't bother with this one. Repetitious, boring, just didn't do much at all for me. Writing could use some editing.Published 7 months ago by california jeanne
This book was ok. I expected a book about the dog, but it was really a love story about a lonely man and woman. Read morePublished 8 months ago by David Davis