Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: A Dog Year by Jon Katz

Book Info:
A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me by Jon Katz
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Random House (May 6, 2003)
ISBN-13: 9780812966909
Genre: Non-Fiction, Pets
Source: My Shelves
Rating: 4/5

In his popular and widely praised Running to the Mountain, Jon Katz wrote of the strength and support he found in the massive forms of his two yellow Labrador retrievers, Julius and Stanley. When the Labs were six and seven, a breeder who’d read his book contacted Katz to say she had a dog that was meant for him—a two-year-old border collie named Devon, well bred but high-strung and homeless. Katz already had a full canine complement—but, as he writes, “Change loves me. . . . It comes in all forms. . . . Sometimes, change comes on four legs.” Shortly thereafter he brought Devon home. A Dog Year shows how a man discovered much about himself through one dog (and then another), whose temperament seemed as different from his own as day from night. It is a story of trust and understanding, of life and death, of continuity and change. It is by turns insightful, hilarious, and deeply moving.

If you've ever loved a dog this book will speak to you. If you've loved a Border Collie, or another working breed, you will completely understand this book in a way that others may not. It seems most dog owners can tell you stories of their dogs escapades and bad behavior, but Border Collie's can be in a world of their own.

Katz's writing is wonderful. I felt as if we were friends sharing stories about our dogs and the joys and challenges they bring. Katz doesn't hesitate to tell the stories as they happened, which doesn't always put him in the best light, but the stories always ring true.

This is the first book of Katz's that I've read, but it won't be the last. His stories aren't all sunshine and roses, but they are the truth about having and loving a dog. I would recommend his books to dog lovers even if you don't normally read non-fiction. 4 stars


Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm tearing up just reading the review. I had a Lab years ago, and after I had to put her down, I never got another. Edgar Sawtelle put me into a funk for months! I still want to read it though. I'll order it from the library when I need a good cry! the subject. How are you feeling? How much longer?

Melissa said...

My mom just had to put her Lab down on Weds. :( He was never really my dog as I'd already left for college, but he sure was a sweet thing. My brothers and mom are really going to miss him!

Off the subject, I'm feeling great! But the whole feeling pregnant thing sort of snuck up on me. I went from feeling completely normal and wearing my own clothes at 20 weeks to feeling very pregnant these days. I'm loving being pregnant though, and can't believe we only have 3 months left! Time sure does fly...

Marie Cloutier said...

I've always loved Border Collies. At the agricultural fair in my state, they do Border Collie demos every year and those dogs are so impressive!

Jeane said...

I really enjoy Katz' books. I never knew much about Border Collies before- but now I believe they really are in a class all their own!

Zibilee said...

I love animal stories, and this one sounds like a great one. I am glad you liked it and think I would too.