- CRRL Staff
If you liked Marley and Me, I hope you enjoy reading some of these books:
A dog year : twelve months, four dogs, and me by Jon Katz.
Katz's smooth, flowing writing style and engaging manner of describing the personalities of his four dogs will captivate even reluctant readers. That he unobtrusively conveys lessons about dignity, discipline, and trust along the way is a bonus. In the opening pages, the family has two golden Labrador retrievers (Julius and Stanley) of tranquil and stately demeanor who have meshed perfectly into the rhythms of the author's daily writing routine and are beloved by neighbors in their suburban NJ locale. Then, he takes in Devon, a high-strung, two-year-old Border collie "with emotional issues." Surmounting the challenges presented by this beautiful and intelligent (but willful and anxious) animal, bonding with him and restoring equilibrium, fill many an entertaining chapter as the author cajoles Devon into accepting his new owner as the alpha male in the pack. Further adjustments are necessary as illness prematurely claims the lives of both Labs, and a Border collie puppy, Homer, is introduced into the household. In final chapters, wanting to satisfy the collies' native instincts as working dogs, Katz seeks out a training opportunity for them to experience herding sheep, and is rewarded by appreciation for their aptitude and high-energy intensity on the job. Throughout the story, adventures are touching, humorous, and winsome.
The dogs of Bedlam Farm : an adventure with sixteen sheep, three dogs, two donkeys, and me by Jon Katz.
In a book that is similar to his A Dog Year (Random, 2002), Katz now recounts the year in which he trained his border collies and farmed. No longer in Pennsylvania, he faced lambing season during an extremely harsh northern New York winter. Although he discusses the training of the dogs to herd sheep, his primary purpose is to show that dogs are a reflection of their owners: that his improved attitude and behavior improved the behavior of his dogs. Sometimes funny, as when the sheep and donkeys misbehaved, sometimes sad, as when he gave away one of the dogs, the story always has the ring of truth. Readers feel Katz's frustration, joy, and triumphs. An enticing way for students in cities to learn what life is like on a simple farm, where life can be hard, but where neighbors help one another.
A good dog : the story of Orson, who changed my life by Jon Katz.
Katz's border collie, Orson, evoked all kinds of emotions during their fulfilling time together. Katz's emotions ran the gamut from love at first sight to worry about his unpredictability, commitment to help him overcome his behavioral problems, frustration when he didn't succeed, hope when he makes progress, and appreciation for how Orson helped him discover a more fulfilling lifestyle at Bedlam Farm. Tom Stechschulte captures all of these flawlessly but none more movingly than when Orson's end comes. The eloquence with which Katz describes those moments moves Stechschulte to tears, as it surely will the listener. Some repetitive information suggests that the book originated as separate essays, but dog lovers will gladly overlook that as they relive their own dog experiences.