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

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

by Jon Katz
3.7 46

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Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
AJ_bookworm More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
babyboy161 More than 1 year ago
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.
4thepets More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How many of your readers know that you GAVE UP on Orson and killed him? A dog would never give up on his human...but a despicable human would give up on a dog. Shame on you Katz. I hope you write an addendum (an explanation) in your 'GOOD DOG' book.
Maggie1NY More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book, but not as much as his book Rosie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Muzzy More than 1 year ago
This story will make you appreciate your dog more , and give him/her an extra treat.
taffyJC More than 1 year ago
I must admit, Jon, that I wanted to call you up and curse you. When you destroyed a perfectly good border collie that you LOVED, I cried and cried all day. I was so mad at you for making that decision. I could never have done that. I don't think I could live without my border collie. I don't care WHO he bit. There WERE other options. However, I DID really enjoy the book. It struck emotion deep in the heart. A border collie lover.
BoboBR More than 1 year ago
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.
clzt More than 1 year ago
After reading a Dog Year, this one was really hard for me. However, I know that times with our dog friends always come to an end, is extremely difficult and how is not really a factor. Faced with the same situation, I don't know what I would do. This took strength of character.
dgainey More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katz is right on the nose with is book. Real,accuate,life,and so on. Jon thank you for a beautiful book.Thank you moving on to your next book:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a nurse in an ICU, and so it came as a surprise to me that I found myself sobbing uncontrollably (no book has ever done this to me), with Jon Katz's touching story of his dog, Orson. I could see into my own border collie's eyes as Jon considered the love for his beloved Orson through so many situations. A beautiful and accurate account of the way a border collie can affect your life and hold your love so completely. I would recommend this book to anyone who is considering getting a border collie, or is simply weighing the pros and cons of respondsibilities in caring for a dog.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An unbelievably hard book to have finished. After taking the reader on a trip of discovery with his dog Orson, Katz seems all too quick at analyzing and considering his options when the dog starts biting visitors. Although I found his discussion about the importance of safety worthwhile, I could never get past the ultimately simplistic way he deals with the problem. Katz spends the book, and in effect the dog's lifetime, insiting that he is seeking to delve into a deep understanding, meaning, and a broadening of his personal vistas. Yet, his choice rather horribly exempliefies the 'throwaway' society we find ourselves in, and leaves the reader frustrated and angry. I ended up wishing someone else had adopted Orson! A Good Dog will be unforgettably upsetting for compassionate people, and even moreso for animal lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katz played with unproven methods to improve his dog's behavior, but I am appalled to find out he was so weak and uncaring for his so-called 'lifetime dog' that he didn't use science 'maybe Cesar Milan' and become pack leader and fix the problem, instead of taking the easy way out and destroying something he supposedly loved 'but probably did not'. Too engrossed in his own ego, he failed to care for something that cared so much for him. I was too disappointed to recommend any further books of his to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KAT bottles of ink, dusty old novels, pens pencils paper ab nd a desk with a great veiw outside
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