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Rose in a Storm

Rose in a Storm

4.3 24
by Jon Katz, Tom Stechschulte (Narrated by)

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New York Times best-selling author Jon Katz has written a successful series of mystery novels, nonfiction works, and a popular fiction series based on his experiences with the dogs on his farm. In Rose in a Storm, Rose is a working dog devoted to keeping the sheep and other creatures at Bedlam Farm out of danger. But as the weather grows cold, Rose senses


New York Times best-selling author Jon Katz has written a successful series of mystery novels, nonfiction works, and a popular fiction series based on his experiences with the dogs on his farm. In Rose in a Storm, Rose is a working dog devoted to keeping the sheep and other creatures at Bedlam Farm out of danger. But as the weather grows cold, Rose senses danger—a storm unlike any she's seen. When an epic blizzard finally strikes, Rose needs all her courage to help her master save the farm.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Told from the perspective of Rose, a farm dog, Katz's latest pits man and dog against the forces of nature. Rose is a dedicated sheepherder and fiercely loyal to her owner, Sam. When a brutal winter storm hits Granville Farm during lambing season, Rose's work is cut out for her as she attempts to help Sam keep the animals alive. But when Sam is injured from a fall from the roof and lies buried beneath a snow drift, Rose is left alone to deal with harsh winds, subzero temperatures, a lack of food, frozen water supplies, and the ever-lurking pack of coyotes. Happily, Rose goes into Lassie mode, singlehandedly saving Sam and the farm animals and as a result, our tough endearing canine goes on to become a legend in the local farming community. Having Rose center stage offers some poignant insights into the interconnectedness of nature and provides a small window into Sam's life, empty after the loss of his wife, Katie, but Rosie's dog-mind is limiting. Katz (Soul of a Dog) has written extensively about his own farm (Bedlam in upstate New York) and the nature of dogs, but while the plot is interesting, the book reads more like an extended children's story than a fully developed novel. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“[A] compelling story . . . a great read.”—The Roanoke Times

Rose in a Storm is told through the eyes of a working sheepdog. . . . [Jon] Katz uses his extensive study of animal behavior to pen a story that rings true [and] gives Rose a powerful, believable voice.”—Lincoln Journal Star

“A captivating novel that will touch your heart and soul with its tale of bravery, dedication and loyalty between dog and man.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“[A] heart-tugging tale.”—Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal
In his first novel in ten years, noted dog authority Katz (A Dog Year; The Dogs of Bedlam Farm) gives us a tale about a sheep dog named Rose on a farm during a severe winter storm. A working dog with no desire to be a mere pet, Rose is at her happiest when she helps her farmer tend to the farm and its livestock. When he is injured during one of the worst storms in memory, Rose carries on, doing everything she can to keep the other animals safe through the cold and snow. She will face challenges both external and internal as she fights to protect her farm. VERDICT Katz, who also owns a farm and working dogs, is the perfect person to shine a light on the importance of work to a dog's contentment. Most important, we come to understand that Rose's devotion and commitment are not unique but part of the makeup of all our four-legged companions. Sure to appeal to Katz's readers. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/10; library marketing; ebook ISBN 978-0-345-52296-2.]
Kirkus Reviews

Rose (Dog Days, 2007, etc.)pens a simple novel of super-canine loyalty and heroism.

Relationships and respect—between animals, as well as between animals and humans—feature in this short, heart-tugging tale of a dog with a planet-size work ethic. The story traces border collie/shepherd mix Rose's response to a five-day mega-storm that brings down buildings, leaves farmer Sam with broken bones and endangers the lives of all the beasts. Katz shows empathy for his four-legged heroine but avoids full-scale Disney-esque sentimentality. Rose is both typical of her breed and exceptional. Faithful, responsible and a workaholic, she can feed cows, figure out when to cut her losses and even tell Sam what's best. Choosing to stay on the farm when Sam is air-lifted to the hospital, Rose not only works herself to a standstill trying to keep the cows, sheep, goats, hens and donkey alive but also goes up against a pack of coyotes who sense their opportunity. Outnumbered and wounded, Rose is mysteriously defended by a possibly spectral wolf and also by an ownerless semi-wild dog, Flash, with a secret identity.

A tidy crossover tale likely to warm many predisposed hearts.

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Inside the farmhouse Rose lifted her head and pricked up her ears. She heard the troubled wheezing of a ewe. From the window, through the dark, she could see mist, mud, and the reddish shadows of the barns. She pictured the herd of sheep lying still, spread out behind the feeder.

Raising her nose toward the pasture, she smelled the rich, sticky scent of birth, of lamb. She smelled manure and fear.

She heard a gasp, the sound of death or desperation, and then one ewe calling to the others in alarm. She stood and padded quickly from the window to the side of the farmer’s bed, then looked up at his sleeping face. She barked once, insistently and loudly.

Sam, the farmer, startled awake from a dream of Katie in the dark January night. He muttered, “Are you sure?” and mumbled something about a night’s sleep, but got out of bed, pulling on pants and a shirt.

He knew better than to ignore Rose, especially at lambing time. She seemed to have a sort of map of the farm inside her head, a picture of how things ought to be. Whenever something was wrong or out of place—an animal sick, a fence down, an unwelcome intruder—she knew it instantly, and called attention to it, sniffing, barking, circling. She constantly updated the map, it seemed to Sam.

Occasionally her map failed or confused her—but that was rare. Sam saw to it that Rose was always with him, that she was apprised of everything that came and went—every animal, every machine—so she could keep her mental inventory.

Among his friends, Sam called Rose his farm manager. They had been together for six years, ever since he had driven over to the Clark farm in Easton and seen a litter of border collie/shepherd mix pups. He had still been debating with himself about whether to get a herding dog—he had no idea how to train one, and no time to do it, anyway.

But, perhaps picking up the scent of sheep, Rose ran right over to him, looking so eager to get to work, even at eight weeks old, that he brought her home. A few weeks after she arrived, some sheep had wandered through an unlatched gate and across the road, and Rose shot out of the house through the newly installed dog door, corralled them, and marched them back, working on instinct alone. She certainly had no help from Sam, who wasn’t even aware that the sheep were at liberty. The two had been working side by side ever since.

From then on, Sam would shake his head whenever he saw the elaborate, highly choreographed herding trials on television. Rose grew into the role on her own; she simply seemed to know what to do. The farm, he told his friends, was the world’s greatest trainer. And the sheep did what she told them to, which was all Sam really cared about. Get them from one place to another. Didn’t have to be pretty, though sometimes it was beautiful.

The relationship had grown way beyond anything Sam understood at first, or even imagined. It was more like a partnership, he had told Katie, an understanding subtler than words. It was something he lived, not something he thought much about.

I think you love that dog more than me, Katie would sometimes joke. Sam would blush and stammer. She’s just a dog, he would say, because he could not say what Rose truly meant to him.

Now he could tell from the urgency of Rose’s bark that something was wrong. She kept tilting her ears to the pasture, agitated, eager to get outside.

So on this cold and windswept night, Sam, a tall, thin man with what had once been a ready smile and a full head of reddish-brown hair, went downstairs and got a flashlight, pulled on a jacket and boots, and he and Rose walked out the back door and into the night. Even in the dark, in the reflected light of the moon, he could see the glow of her fiercely bright-blue eyes.

The farmhouse sat at the bottom of a gentle, rolling pasture. By the back door, there were two paths. The one to the left led out into the woods, and the one to the right ran toward the two barns and the pasture gates.

The first barn was big, filled with hay up in the loft and tractors, and sometimes cows, down below. A shed was attached to the big barn, which housed equipment and supplies, as well as some feed. Farther up the hill was a large pole barn. A three-sided structure with the fourth side open to the air, it allowed the sheep to be outside, which they preferred, while still offering some shelter from the elements. When they were kept inside a closed barn, they got fearful, claustrophobic, bleated day and night. Anyway, it was the way Sam’s father had done it. The three buildings formed a triangle: the farmhouse at the bottom, the big barn off to one side nearby, the pole barn a hundred yards up the hill. The cows were in the other pasture on the far side of the barn.

A few hundred feet from the farmhouse, the path led to a gate that connected to a fence encircling all of the pastures and barns. Sam was proud of that fence. He’d spent years shoring and patching it, and in the past year or so, no animal had slipped out, or in.

As they neared the barn, Sam finally saw in the beam of light from his flashlight what Rose had heard and sensed, up behind the building. He moved faster, opening the pasture gate. Rose raced through and ran to the struggling ewe. Sam retrieved his sack of medical equipment from the barn and hurried behind the dog up a path well worn by the animals, marked by manure and ice-encrusted mud, pungent even in winter. The big barn was on the right, looming like a great battleship, its lights sending small beams out into the dark, foggy pasture. That old barn had a lot of stories to tell.

The lambing shed where Sam had put this pregnant ewe a few days earlier was also open on one side, though protected from the snow and wind. An open hatchway led from the lambing shed inside the barn to an area warmed by heat lamps and lined with hay and straw, where the ewes could take their newborn lambs. With this arrangement, they were outside when they went into labor, so they could be near the other sheep, and Sam could still see and hear them from the house. Or at least Rose could.

He trained his light on the sick ewe, number 89. Her wheezing had calmed, which was an ominous sign, and she lay still, on her side, in the corner of the pen in a bed of hay.

Rose waited for Sam to open the birthing pen gate, then rushed in to the mother and attempted to rouse her, nipping at her nose and chest.

Sam opened his bag and pulled out scissors, forceps, bandages, syringes, a jar of iodine, antibiotics, and some rope and salve. He was serious and calm as he followed Rose’s lead, this small black and white dog, with those piercing eyes, moving with speed and confidence.

The other sheep gathered in the pole barn up the hill, watching, intent and anxious. Rose glanced up at the crowd of ewes, and at the Blackface, their leader, who had appeared at the front of the flock. Rose’s eyes and posture gave clear instructions—stay back, stay away from Sam—and they obeyed.

If necessary, she would use her teeth, pulling some wool to get things moving, or to stop things from moving. She rarely needed to do that. But tonight, particularly since there was no food around the lambing area, Rose knew they would keep their distance. The sheep wanted no part of a human or a dog in the middle of the night.

It was black and cold, and the ground was icy. Rose saw and smelled the amniotic fluid puddling under the ewe. Rose could see the almost imperceptible movement of the ewe’s stomach, hear the faint breath, see the moisture in her eyes, the stream from her nostrils. She could hear the faintest of heartbeats.

She could smell the ewe’s struggle.

Rose and Sam had done this before, many times.

Having failed to get the ewe to her feet, Rose backed up while Sam set up his light, kneeled down, rolled up his sleeves. She watched him rub salve on his hands before turning the ewe and plunging his arm into the dying mother, finding the lamb stuck in the uterine canal.

The smell was intense, and troubling. This was a bad sign. Lambs didn’t last very long after the water had broken.

Sam muttered and cursed. He turned the lamb’s feet until they were pointed in the right direction, then he grunted, pulled, and pulled again. Finally, Rose saw him draw out his hand, and with it, the lamb. The small, matted creature was not moving.

Sam dipped his pocketknife in a bottle and then used it to cut the umbilical cord. Then he stood, lifted the lamb by its feet, and swung it, left and right, in the cold air, to get its heart beating. The lamb was slick with fluids, and the air was frigid. Lambs can die quickly in these conditions. If they’re healthy, their mothers will usually guide them through the hatchway to the warmth of the heat lamps.

Rose barked, excited. The lamb suddenly coughed and wheezed. It was alive. Rose ran around to the ewe’s face and began nipping at her nose, urging her to her feet.

The dog and the farmer worked with urgency. The cold was biting and Rose felt the sting of it in her paws. Her whiskers were covered in ice. She needed to get the ewe up quickly, had to get her to clean her lamb. And the lamb needed nourishment.

Sam pulled out a plastic bottle with sheep’s milk that he had stored in the freezer and thawed, putting it gently in the lamb’s mouth. He pulled a syringe from his other pocket—a vitamin booster, for strength and energy—and gave the lamb a shot. Rose kept working to get the mother up, so she and her lamb could bond by smell and know each other.

The ewe began to stir, looking at Rose. The dog did not waver or back off, but barked and lunged, nipped and kept her eyes locked on the ewe’s.

The ewe closed her eyes, reopened them. She was suddenly alarmed, breathing more heavily now, as she struggled to get to her feet. Afterbirth trailed from under her tail.

Sam carefully put the lamb down and came over to help, pulling the ewe up gently. She was disoriented, panicky, and as soon as she was upright she tried to bolt. Rose headed her off. She and Sam knew all too well that when ewes ran, they could forget the smell of their lambs and abandon them entirely. That was not going to happen, had never happened when Rose was there.

Rose held the ewe to the spot while Sam positioned the lamb beside her. Then he ran into the barn and came back with some water laced with molasses syrup for the ewe. She lapped it up greedily while the lamb searched for its mother’s nipple. The ewe seemed to gain strength, returning to the world, becoming aware of her baby.

The ewe began to call out to her lamb. Now protective, she turned, lowered her head at Rose, and charged, butting her, and catching her off guard.

“Head’s up, Rose!” said Sam.

Rose was sometimes unprepared for how powerful the mothering instinct was in ewes once it kicked in and they bonded with their babies. It was a testing time for her, as the formerly compliant ewes changed, and she was suddenly, sometimes violently, challenged. She always regained control, with her body, her eyes, her teeth, and her ferocious determination, which eventually wore down even the most maternal ewe, even though it sometimes left Rose bruised or limping. After a time, they became sheep again, doing what they were supposed to do.

The vet once told Sam that Rose weighed thirty-seven pounds, and that any one of those two- and three-hundred-pound ewes or rams could have stomped or butted her senseless, but they didn’t know they could. Rose had to make sure they never knew.

Sam looked up and saw that it had begun snowing lightly, and the wind was picking up. He was huffing hard on his hands, looking up at the sky. Rose looked up, too, and felt a stirring in all of her senses.

Sam appeared different to Rose than he used to, quieter, not as strong, not as clear-headed. A lot of things were different since the night Katie had been taken from the house.

The very map of the farm had changed.

She watched Sam as he worked silently, purposefully, toweling off the lamb. Once he was sure the mother had the smell of the lamb, he picked it up in a cloth sling. It was time to get it under the heat lamps and onto a pile of straw. There the mother would finish cleaning her baby, and the baby would find her teats and drink some more, getting warm and dry, and the ewe could bond with him—it was a ram—and know his cry. The two would nestle up together and talk to each other in a language all their own.

Sam was now backing up to the hatchway, and the ewe looked around frantically. Rose kept her distance, a bit away and behind her, so that she wouldn’t panic and head for the other sheep, who were still watching from the pole barn.

The ewe darted a few feet up the hill. Rose dashed ahead of her and brought her back. They repeated this two or three times, Rose and the ewe, in a kind of a dance, Rose anticipating where the ewe would go and blocking that route. Even though her lamb was being carried in that direction, it was unnatu- ral for the ewe to move away from her flock, and toward the barn, especially with a human and a dog. Only the ewe’s intensifying mothering instincts kept her from running off. That and Rose in her face, whenever she looked or turned to go up the hill.

Finally at the hatchway entrance to the barn, the ewe froze. Rose watched her look up the hill, then toward her lamb. Rose saw that she was still thinking of bolting up to the pole barn, to the Blackface, to the safety and comfort of the other sheep.

Sam backed into the barn, making sure the ewe could see him and the lamb in his arms. He opened the lambing pen gate, then turned on the heat lamps and put the baby down in the warming glow. The lamb bleated, and the ewe bleated in response, rushing through the hatchway and into the pen.

Rose kept the mother in until she settled down there. The ewe eventually forgot Rose, and nosed the lamb under the lamp and onto the hay. She began licking him. Sam closed and tied the plastic fencing of the makeshift pen. The ewe, exhausted, would let her baby feed, and then the two of them would sleep.

Sam turned away to check the wiring of the heat lamp and bring some fresh hay. Rose sat down, calming also. Her job was done. But in less than a minute she stood again and turned away, limping slightly from the butting of her shoulder.

“Okay, girl,” Sam said to Rose as he shone the flashlight around to see if the other pregnant ewes were up to anything. Rose did not understand his words but understood the tone of voice, his approval. And she also understood it as the end of this work.

Rose smelled the warm, rich mother’s milk, heard the sound of suckling. The timeless map, a compilation of countless memories and experiences and images, was as it should be, and now updated to include one new creature.

Sam slid the door shut.

Rose followed him to the gate and then trotted toward the house. Sam walked on ahead of her, but on the stoop, she paused for a moment. Something made her look up again at the predawn slate sky.

Rose felt the storm coming, smelled snow and heavy air. She remembered other storms, the snow and wind and killing cold. She felt a flash of deep alarm run through her like a bolt of lightning. The hair on her back and neck came up. Sam called for her, but she waited a moment longer before following him inside.

Meet the Author

Jon Katz has written nineteen books—seven 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 the artist Maria Heinrich; his dogs, Rose, Izzy, Lenore, and Frieda; and his barn cats, Mother and Minnie.

Brief Biography

Montclair, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
August 8, 1947
Place of Birth:
Providence, Rhode Island
Attended George Washington University and The New School for Social Research

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Rose in a Storm 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Crazy_Cat_Ladys_Library More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has ever owned an animal has had the thought at one time or other: "I wonder what he/she is thinking?" Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz provides us with a glimpse into the mind and thoughts of Rose, a working border collie, intuitively and effectively answering that question for us. Not only do we get the opportunity to share Rose's daily routines, we are also treated to glimpses of her memories and emotions. At the beginning of the book, Rose and her farmer/owner, Sam, are preparing the farm and its animals for an upcoming blizzard, one predicted by the local authorities to be a "storm of the century." As they work together to erect vital strongholds for the other animals to survive the oncoming atmospheric onslaught, we are not only given insight into Rose's thoughts but Sam's as well, and the resulting give and take of their relationship is as intricate as a fine ballet. When the expected blizzard finally arrives and Rose and Sam are faced with far more serious challenges than Sam could have ever anticipated, Rose shows a steadfastness of spirit and tenacity that is truly amazing. With fortitude and valor, she never stops trying to keep everything together and everyone safe, even as the world she knows keeps spinning ever further out of control. Rose in a Storm is a truly inspiring story. I was so engrossed in its unfolding that I had a truly difficult time putting it down. This is the first of Mr. Katz' books that I have had the pleasure to read, ut I assure you that it will most certainly not be the last! I give Rose in a Storm 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a rare book that takes us away from concerns of daily life and propels us into the natural world. Jon Katz succeeds with his border collie Rose; how she handles the crisis of a frightening storm, while taking care of everyone - farmer and animals alike, with dedication and intelligence.
Chezjolie More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoy this book written from the border collie's point of view. Since we already know how smart they are, this book just proves their ability to think, reason and cope with issues facing them. I really sobbed at the end!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book!! Keeps you captivated throughout, couldn't put it down & the way Katz describes every detail makes you feel like you are there with Rose!!
BarkingPlanet More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book for dog lovers and people who are close to the natural world...written by Jon Katz, a gifted writer, the book takes you into the world of Rose, a border collie/shepherd mix. The bond between Rose and her owner, a farmer, and the raw world of nature that is theirs, is vividly portrayed. The story flows with the rhythms and events of the natural world, from skittish sheep, driven by fear, to hungry coyotes. A major blizzard disrupts the farm in multiple destructive ways, bringing a snow driven struggle for survival to this powerful story. An extra dimension is provided throughout by Katz's informed knowledge, from both research and direct experience with his own dogs -- Rose, Izzy, Lenore and Frieda -- when he takes you into Rose's mind and reveals the canine soul. Not for kids, but excellent for adults and young adult readers, I found this gripping book to be totally engaging.
Diwms More than 1 year ago
absolutely wonderful and unique. I loved every minute of this book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Sam the Farmer and Rose the herding mixed breed dog have been together for six years at Granville Farm since she introduced herself to the widower when she was eight weeks old. They have become best buddies and kindred souls as both are workaholics. During the lambing season, a horrific blizzard of the century assaults Granville Farm. Structures collapse under the tons of snow and Sam breaks his leg and more after a tumble from a slippery roof. Already overworked keeping the other animals safe, responsible Rose takes over running the farm while her human partner is flown to a hospital. When a vicious pack of coyotes attack, Rose becomes hurt in the melee but keeps fighting aided by an enigmatic seemingly paranormal wolf and Flash the wild dog. Rose in a Storm is a fascinating whimsical family drama starring a wonderful canine protagonist, her human partner, and her new dog pal. The poignant story line avoids sweetness but instead focuses on what makes a dog contented, which varies. Through Rose's observations, readers also learn how lonely Sam has been since his wife Katie died, but he has has a friend and partner on the farm and maybe even a pet. No one gets into the Soul of a Dog deeper than Jon Katz does. Harriet Klausner
MyFunnyDadHarryAuthor More than 1 year ago
This book is really good!  It's a touching fiction story about the life of a farm working dog, Rose.  I really liked learning about farm life through this book and seeing how the animals connected and interacted with each other.  When Sam, the only human on his farm gets injured during a 5-day blizzard with temperatures -30 degrees and is air-lifted to a hospital, his border collie, Rose, takes care of the farm without him.  I especially identified with Rose's memory of her special connection with Sam's wife Katie, who died.  I'm sure anyone who lives on a farm or likes animals would love this book!  I am a city girl and enjoyed it very much.
LucyLu2 More than 1 year ago
Rose is an amazing dog, and the way Katz wrote this story - from Rose's perspective, it gives us insight into the dogs in our own lives and how amazing them may be right under our noses. Maybe we're missing out on giving them jobs that would make their lives fuller. This is a beautiful story that dog lovers will read again and again. Couldn't put it down. Thank you, Jon Katz.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story
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KAT a bed with black and blue sheets is in the middle of a room covered with heavyvmetal posters and a walk in closet with a master bedroom a secret passageway to a hot tub and much more plus a HUGE GINORMOUSE BOOKSHELF COVERED WITH BOOKS!!!!!!