Praise for Dog Days
“Anyone who loves animals or country life, but maybe can’t have a pet or actually live in the country, will find Katz a perfect armchair companion.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Despite the book’s title, there’s more here than dog stories. . . . An appealing text showing off an author who’s found his perfect genre. Readers can only hope these appealing and thoughtful dispatches will continue.”
“A must-read for all animal lovers.”
Jon Katz shares his aptly named Bedlam Farm with his wife, four dogs, two cows, four donkeys, three hens, a rooster, a barn cat, and an indeterminate number of sheep. Living amid such an unruly menagerie, this inveterate pet lover can hardly regard himself as lord of the manor. Indeed, he must strive hard simply to rise above the chaos of his personal animal kingdom. As in A Good Dog and his other books, Katz balances entertaining anecdotes with insights about the creatures who share our lives.
Though not a religious man, [Katz] reads St. Augustine to the dogs on Easter morning, and is on a quest for a kind of wholeness he no longer felt back in his former life. In late middle age, he has had the conviction to do what many of us have imagined but will never do: sell the suburban cash cows we live in, and buy some real ones, way up north.
The New York Times
Not only has Katz written 16 books, he cohosts Dog Talk on public radio, freelances for a variety of newspapers and magazines, and operates the eponymous Bedlam Farm in upstate New York—sometimes with his wife, but always with dogs and chickens and sheep and even a few donkeys and cows. Readers familiar only with Katz's suburban mystery novels will find that his farm memoirs set out to do basically the same thing, bring order to chaos. His goal in running Bedlam Farm is to find ways for his various animals and their humans to work together in harmonious synchronicity. Everything requires balance. He must be mindful of his own tendency to anthropomorphize, while remaining open to the emotional bonds his animals invite. He must remember that many awful things—flies, freezing weather, disease—are normal in the lives of animals, even as he struggles to give his animals the best life possible. He has to balance his focus on the farm with his relationship with his wife, who never particularly approved of the farm idea, even if she supported his need to do it. Anyone who loves animals or country life, but maybe can't have a pet or actually live in the country, will find Katz a perfect armchair companion. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Katz adds to the five big books he's already written about dogs and the rural life. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
A fourth installment from journalist Katz (A Good Dog, 2006, etc.) about his life and canine loves in upstate New York. After three years in residence at Bedlam Farm, the author finally has his bona fides as a farmer: "a sunburned complexion, the hunched crab-walk...frostbitten fingers." He already has a crew of hardworking dogs-border collie Rose, lovable Lab Clementine and injured Lab Pearl-when a new one enters his life. Izzy, a three-year-old border collie, has been rescued from a farm deserted by its ailing owner; the caretaker had fed him but otherwise left him to his own resources. Though wild and untrained, Izzy unexpectedly shows great sheep-herding potential, and Katz begins to spend more and more time honing his skills. Four dogs come to seem an unmanageable number. Rose is busy with her tasks on the farm, and Pearl works, unofficially, with the author at the physical therapy appointments for his bad back. But Clementine is frequently sidelined, and Katz reluctantly considers a startling solution: sharing ownership of Clem with Ali, a physical therapist who spends her off-hours hiking and playing soccer. It's a wrenching decision, but Clem blossoms as an "only dog" under Ali's care. Despite the book's title, there's more here than dog stories. Bedlam Farm hosts a herd of donkeys with which Katz shares a nightly snack and some music (the donkeys like Willie Nelson best), as well as an irrepressible, 1,800-pound steer named Elvis, who obeys simple commands when encouraged with apples. Katz's views of animals continue to evolve. He's come a long way from suburban pet ownership and now must consider not only the welfare of the animals, but also the welfare of the farm. An appealingtext showing off an author who's found his perfect genre. Readers can only hope these appealing and thoughtful dispatches will continue.