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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
With his new work, Jon Katz shows that over the past 20 years dogs have taken a role in a dramatic change in the way humans interact. With people having less and less personal contact because of such cultural factors as the Internet, they've looked to dogs to help fill the relationship void. Playing the perfect, loving companion is the new work of dogs.
The author makes great use of case studies to bolster his point. In one example, Katz gives us Rob, a successful but introverted criminal lawyer who has a more satisfying relationship with his black lab, Cherokee, than he does with his human family. This phenomenon is not limited to upper-class suburbanites, though. One of the most moving chapters is about an inner city preteen named Jamal, whose dog bolsters his low self-esteem. Dogs may seem to have it made today, but Katz does not fail to confront the dark side that comes with dogs' new work. Too often things turn ugly when people don't train their dogs properly; they become unhappy because the dog behaves like, well, a dog, and doesn't meet their expectations. The result is a proliferation of abandoned dogs. Nevertheless, hope remains because of a growing group of people devoted to dog rescue. We meet Betty Jean, who has gradually gotten to the point where her whole life is focused around her dog rescues. Of the 68 million dogs in the USA, an astonishing 20 percent are rescues. This is an enjoyable and informative book for dog lovers everywhere. Vivian Kelly