Customer Reviews for

A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

An incredible journey

After I read this book, I broke down for hours. I think it is a horrible misunderstanding to look at Mr. Katz as a person who gave up. I truly believe that what he chose to do was incredibly hard, and extremley personal. I have a two year old Border Collie, and as I rea...
After I read this book, I broke down for hours. I think it is a horrible misunderstanding to look at Mr. Katz as a person who gave up. I truly believe that what he chose to do was incredibly hard, and extremley personal. I have a two year old Border Collie, and as I read this book, something came over me and the way that I see my dog Luca. He (Luca) is a combination of both Rose and Orson, and I felt, as crazy as this may sound, a higher connection with my own dog. Jon had these moments with Orson that were so internal and spiritual, and as I write this now, I am still so emotional, and I kept telling myself that their bond was so much more than the world we live in today. I believe him when he says that Orson was troubled, and the fact that he wanted to help him, doesn't that account for anything at all? I couldn't help but wonder what Orson's life was like before, and it broke my heart when he had the Shaman read his auorua. Whether you believe in that or not, if you read this book and really understood the relationship that this wonderful and beautiful dog had with Jon you know that Orson's life dramatically changed for the better. I see my Border Collie in a completley different way, and this book gave me perspective of my own life, my downfalls, who I really am. I am a young woman (36) who was diagonosed with an awful auto-immune disease, who does maybe seek comfort when I am with my dog. I think that Mr. Katz and Orson had something that so many people never have their whole lives, even if when think they do,which is a true,honest,and completley unconditional love. I have never been so moved by a story as I was with this one. I do think about Orson now all of the time, and I know that that may be ridiculous seeing that he was not even my dog, and I can only imagine the turmoil and emotion he must of felt before Jon Katz became the most important part of his life. I really believe in my heart that he had the time of his life on that farm, and with Jon as well. I believe that Orson's life will always be a huge part of Mr. Katz, and it really brought the reality of just how incredibly special my dog Luca is to me. I belive in connetions to a higher level, and I hope that Orson's spirit will always be there for Jon.

posted by Anonymous on February 6, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Good Dead Dog, Inept Owner

After getting Orson to the point where he is finally making sense of the world, and less pressured to conform to Katz's ideal of a dog, Katz kills him for aggression. He outlines his 'choices' when Orson shows territorial aggression, and doesn't consider (1) a sign to ...
After getting Orson to the point where he is finally making sense of the world, and less pressured to conform to Katz's ideal of a dog, Katz kills him for aggression. He outlines his 'choices' when Orson shows territorial aggression, and doesn't consider (1) a sign to warn visitors not to reach over fences to pet him, (2) keeping this dog who supposedly never wanted to leave his side with him, or (3) seeking the help of an experienced dog behaviorist -- I suppose because he fancies himself to be a dog behaviorist. His track record is pretty poor - he never seems to stop being a reactive owner, and doesn't control Orson's environment so he can be successful. Katz the gentleman farmer would rather have his farm function as a community crossroads and petting zoo. Gee, a border collie acting out when strangers and workers are coming and going all the time, particularly with loud vehicles and power tools and such? Umm, isn't that why he thought he needed to bring his dog up from the suburbs? For him to be shocked by Orson's behavior shows he wasn't watching the dog all along, or wasn't taking warning signs seriously. This title has substantial overlap with his previous books, which I own but about which I had mixed emotions all along. The book falls apart over the course of the chapters, getting shorter, more clipped, stretching for material - until the killing section followed by the it's-ok-my-Shaman-says-he's-happy-now. I'll be getting rid of the books now. Some thanks Orson got for leading Katz to fame and fortune and a happier life. And how much money is he giving to his neighbors after all that he wasn't willing to invest in Orson? It's one thing to give up or euthanize a dog when you don't have the resources to deal with it. He had a huge farm and money to spare. Orson needed training and a fence, not a 'shaman' or an owner more concerned about story than day-to-day care of his dogs. Katz is fundamentally inconsistent. He rants against people anthropomorphizing animals, but is more guilty of it than an dog writer I have read recently. He imposes expectations on his animals rather than genuinely meeting them as individuals and assessing what they need. He cautions people to be careful what they're getting into with dogs, and in other books/interviews he tells people there is no right way to get a dog. I guess this is to rationalize his continued acquisition of purebreds, and rejects from breeders rather than shelters or rescue groups. He went about it entirely the wrong way with several of his dogs - didn't educate himself about the breed, or was in denial about his dog training and exercise abilities, was not logistically prepared for it, didn't consider the effect on his current dogs, didn't introduce the new dog(s) to his current dogs and then acted surprised when they were not great buddies, etc. etc. If he must have dogs, he should stick to pet-and-show bred Labs and stay away from real working dogs (border collie, hunting lab, or other). Now there is a movie in the works - more money for Katz on Orson's back. Great, there will be a whole 'nother round of border collies bound for rescue in the years to come after people see them in the movies (see post-Babe- and post-AnimalPlanet-effects). I hope Katz puts a disclaimer at the front of all his books and the movie that he killed Orson.

posted by Anonymous on November 20, 2006

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    Highly Recommended-a tear jurker

    I absolutely loved this book. It took some time for me to read because of me being so emotional. If you love animals or even if you don't, it teaches a life lesson between human and animals.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    It hit so close to home!

    This book hit so close to home it was like Jon Katz wrote about my life with my dogs. I enjoyed listening to this heartwarming and touching story of a man a dog and the help they gave each other. I totally recommend Jon Katz and Bedlam Farm.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2007

    An incredible journey

    After I read this book, I broke down for hours. I think it is a horrible misunderstanding to look at Mr. Katz as a person who gave up. I truly believe that what he chose to do was incredibly hard, and extremley personal. I have a two year old Border Collie, and as I read this book, something came over me and the way that I see my dog Luca. He (Luca) is a combination of both Rose and Orson, and I felt, as crazy as this may sound, a higher connection with my own dog. Jon had these moments with Orson that were so internal and spiritual, and as I write this now, I am still so emotional, and I kept telling myself that their bond was so much more than the world we live in today. I believe him when he says that Orson was troubled, and the fact that he wanted to help him, doesn't that account for anything at all? I couldn't help but wonder what Orson's life was like before, and it broke my heart when he had the Shaman read his auorua. Whether you believe in that or not, if you read this book and really understood the relationship that this wonderful and beautiful dog had with Jon you know that Orson's life dramatically changed for the better. I see my Border Collie in a completley different way, and this book gave me perspective of my own life, my downfalls, who I really am. I am a young woman (36) who was diagonosed with an awful auto-immune disease, who does maybe seek comfort when I am with my dog. I think that Mr. Katz and Orson had something that so many people never have their whole lives, even if when think they do,which is a true,honest,and completley unconditional love. I have never been so moved by a story as I was with this one. I do think about Orson now all of the time, and I know that that may be ridiculous seeing that he was not even my dog, and I can only imagine the turmoil and emotion he must of felt before Jon Katz became the most important part of his life. I really believe in my heart that he had the time of his life on that farm, and with Jon as well. I believe that Orson's life will always be a huge part of Mr. Katz, and it really brought the reality of just how incredibly special my dog Luca is to me. I belive in connetions to a higher level, and I hope that Orson's spirit will always be there for Jon.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2011

    The best book ever!

    I love this book. It is the best book I have ever read! It gets a little sad att the end but it is not too bad. I would recomend this book to any dog loving person.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A wonderful book!

    Jon Katz is my new favorite author. As an animal lover and someone approaching the mid-years of life, I very much appreciate Katz' search to find happiness in life, and his great integrity in loving and respecting his dogs and other animals, putting what is best for them first-- even when that causes great personal sorrow. His relationship with Orson was truly a love story, with all of the highs and lows that accompany any great relationship. I laughed out loud at times....and wept at others. A wonderful book for any dog lover, or anyone searching to find their place in the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2007

    Get out your hankie

    Good Dog was a good read, in that, it struck so many cords with me. It exemplifies what animals of all kinds and temperments can mean in a person's life. The actions and interactions with others are different with each animal. As with people, relationships with our pets who have had painful experiences in the past can be both frustrating and rewarding. I would like to thank Jon Katz for writing this book. It came into my life at a time when I truly needed it. Just as the critters in my life have.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    Awwwwww

    SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    WRITING LOFT

    KAT bottles of ink, dusty old novels, pens pencils paper ab
    nd a desk with a great veiw outside

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

    Highly Recommended!

    This was the second book of Jon Katz animal stories that I have read. I love the way he writes about his life with his animals. I understood completely the agonizing decision he had to make, been there done that myself, and no one should judge or criticize him for that. He truly did all he could for Orson just like Orson did all he could for Jon. Bravo Mr. Katz. Please keep the stories coming!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Incredible

    This is the first book of katz's i've read, and it was amazing. It really shows you the true love and bond people have with their dogs and the tough decisions people have to make. Animals have a real impact on our lives and this book shows just how big that impact can be.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Must read for every pet owner.

    This story will make you appreciate your dog more , and give him/her an extra treat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Thank You for this Book

    This is an important book for anyone who loves dogs. People who think they know dogs and think they are good with dogs don't REALLY know dogs until they try to help a large, fearful, dominant-aggressive dog that bites people. Anyone who believes that Jon didn't love this dog with all his heart and didn't do all he could for this dog, doesn't know dogs. Loving and woking with a dog that has aggression issues is emotionally, financially and physically draining. When it comes to the safety of other people, especially the elderly and children, Jon did the only truly responsible thing. Some dogs just don't/can't live up to the human expectations that we impose on them and they can't just live as ferral animals. I love these half-wild, dominant aggressive dogs and feel deeply for their and their owner's plight. We just live in a world that doesn't understand them and cannot accept them for who they are because they are a danger to themselves and others. A tear jerker, this is a must read for anyone who loves dogs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Good Dog...A Good Story

    Jon Katz' story of Devon/Orson is heart-warming and funny. Anyone who has had a special relationship with a companion animal will relate to some of the stories. Tom Stechschulte, the narrator, is a very good storyteller and was a good choice for telling this tale (or should I say "tail").<BR/><BR/>I'd say this story is good for young and old. Personally, it made my commute a lot more bearable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2006

    A Good Dog is at the top of this dog lovers' book list!

    Be prepared with plenty of tissues when you sit down with this wonderful book. Orson is a dog with a strong and memorable personality and Jon Katz brings him to life with images both joyful and heartbreaking. As a devoted fan of all of his previous books, I eagerly looked forward to reading about Orson, who was Katz's 'Heart Dog', and was not disappointed. If you love dogs you will love this book!

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    Posted October 4, 2011

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    Posted January 30, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2009

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    Posted January 20, 2009

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    Posted December 2, 2008

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    Posted November 20, 2011

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