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

by Jon Katz

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3641429,815 (3.77)15
  1. 00
    Marley & Me by John Grogan (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books are of dogs beloved by their owners despite some unruly behavior on the part of the dogs.
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Probably a really good book. But I love dogs too much. I cried. A lot. ( )
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
Enjoyable book that explore the psyche of a troubled border collie and the owner who loves him and goes to great lengths to heal him. ( )
  aylin1 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Made me cry. Anyone who has ever had a border collie, especially a "haunted," "troubled" border collie could completely relate to this book. We, too, had to make the difficult choice to euthanize our beautiful border collie rather than to risk possible human safety. Our border collie looked just like Orson and similar attributes. He was quite the herder and protective to a fault, but what "a good dog" at the same time. ( )
  donitaremy1 | Jul 16, 2011 |
This book tells the story of a man who tries to fix a troubled dog. The story is written reasonably OK, the story is definitely impressive, and the ending of the story very well-balanced. ( )
  JKoetsier | Jul 13, 2010 |
We’ve been on a bit of an “animal-human relationship” kick at work lately. I chose this one at random one afternoon. It is the second book that the author Jon Katz wrote about his life after meeting Devon/Orson, the border collie. he has many others detailing his life with other dogs. But Orson was his “once in a lifetime” dog. The one that changes your life.

That, however doesn’t mean things go smooth for Katz, or for Orson. He is a troubled animal. With something “broken” in him. He can’t really cope with life in New Jersey. So when Katz has the opportunity to buy and run a small farm in the country he leaps at it. He is a writer, location isn’t vital to his job, although his wife is still based in the city.

But simply changing to a rural environment isn’t enough to help Orson deal with his issues. He continues to have “incidents”; nipping at people and animals, bossing the other dogs, becoming over-excited and a danger to himself and to others. This is the story of Katz’s attempts to help heal this dog, who while being so negative still brings so much happiness into people’s lives.

For the first chapter or two of this I wasn’t sure I was going to finish it. It seemed, I don’t know, a little too opinionated for my tastes. Katz seems to be about to enter a mid-life crisis phase of his life and resents his urban lifestyle. Which is fine, but he comes across as a little too harsh on those who either choose that life, or are forced to live it. But that judgement was too harsh on my part. As I read on it becomes clear that Katz is well aware that his goals are not what everyone else aims at. And without any negative judgements.

It is, in many ways, a slightly controversial book. Katz quotes from some of the hostile letters and emails he received after publishing this book. People can be crazy-convinced that they alone know the truth and THE ONE RIGHT WAY to do things that would SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS of the world. I can’t say that I agree with his decision at the end of this book. But then again, to me, it is only a book. To him it was a dog he loved. And his moral responsibility. I’m sure he made the right decision for him.

It is a quick read. And while Katz gives quite a bit of detail about his own life, and the dogs’ of course, he skims his family’s. Which makes sense and respects their privacy.

Overall I’d have to say that I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It isn’t the tale of a man and the brilliant but troubled dog and how they overcame all obstacles in their path in a saccharine sweet way. So if that’s what you are looking for this isn’t it. One the other hand if you are looking for a truthful and honest look at what people will go through for their pets, well this is a book for you. ( )
  Fence | Mar 25, 2010 |
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Epigraph
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. --Talmud
Dedication
To Brian McLendon, for his unwavering faith in my work.
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My neighbor came pounding at the back door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812971493, Paperback)

“People who love dogs often talk about a ‘lifetime’ dog. I’d heard the phrase a dozen times before I came to recognize its significance. Lifetime dogs are dogs we love in especially powerful, sometimes inexplicable ways.”–Jon Katz

In this gripping and deeply touching book, bestselling author Jon Katz tells the story of his lifetime dog, Orson: a beautiful border collie–intense, smart, crazy, and unforgettable.

From the moment Katz and Orson meet, when the dog springs from his traveling crate at Newark airport and panics the baggage claim area, their relationship is deep, stormy, and loving. At two years old, Katz’s new companion is a great herder of school buses, a scholar of refrigerators, but a dud at herding sheep. Everything Katz attempts– obedience training, herding instruction, a new name, acupuncture, herb and alternative therapies–helps a little but not enough, and not for long. “Like all border collies and many dogs,” Katz writes, “he needed work. I didn’t realize for some time I was the work Orson would find.”
While Katz is trying to help his dog, Orson is helping him, shepherding him toward a new life on a two-hundred-year-old hillside farm in upstate New York. There, aided by good neighbors and a tolerant wife, hip-deep in sheep, chickens, donkeys, and more dogs, the man and his canine companion explore meadows, woods, and even stars, wade through snow, bask by a roaring wood stove, and struggle to keep faith with each other. There, with deep love, each embraces his unfolding destiny.

A Good Dog is a book to savor. Just as Orson was the author’s lifetime dog, his story is a lifetime treasure–poignant, timeless, and powerful.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:25 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"People who love dogs often talk about a 'lifetime' dog. I'd heard the phrase a dozen times before I came to recognize its significance. Lifetime dogs are dogs we love in especially powerful, sometimes inexplicable ways." Author Katz tells the story of his lifetime dog, Orson: a beautiful border collie--intense, smart, crazy, and unforgettable. From the moment Katz and Orson meet, their relationship is deep, stormy, and loving. Two years old, Katz's new companion is a great herder of school buses, a scholar of refrigerators, but a dud at herding sheep. Everything Katz attempts--obedience training, herding instruction, a new name, herb and alternative therapies--helps a little but not enough, and not for long. While Katz is trying to help his dog, Orson is helping him, shepherding him toward a new life on a two-hundred-year-old hillside farm in upstate New York.--From publisher description.… (more)

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