The Dog Nobody Loved by Jon Katz
|The Dog Nobody Loved by Jon Katz|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: More than a memoir - more than a book about a dog. An entertaining, informative and thought-provoking read. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: January 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
When we first meet Jon Katz he's not in a good place: his marriage of thirty-five years was breaking up and he was close to a nervous breakdown. He didn't need any more problems. He particularly didn't need a young rescue dog, a Rottweiler/Shepherd mix, who'd been living wild, to contend with and to upset the fragile equilibrium of the life he lived with his animals on Bedlam Farm. Frieda was near feral but devoted to her rescuer, Maria Wulf and it was Maria who was at the centre of this conundrum. Katz was spectacularly disconnected from the world - and Maria was the only person to whom he seemed able to talk, but to connect with Maria he had to connect with Frieda too.
Maria wasn't in a good place either. Her marriage was breaking up and she lacked the self belief to even try and make a go of what she wanted to do - to be an artist (a 'fiber artist' - have a look here and you'll see what that means) and she needed the confidence that she could be independent before she could commit herself to any sort of relationship with Katz. But - being independent with a large and very unruly dog is far from simple. The Dog Nobody Loved is the story of how Jon, Maria and Frieda reshaped their lives and how - corny as it might sound - love really was the key.
I expected a book about Frieda but what I got was far more than that. Katz is brutally honest about where he was and the difficulties he was facing. He's aware of his own shortcomings, if not always clear about how to circumvent the results. He's honest about his feelings for Frieda too - in the beginning he was in the game because of Maria and it was only gradually that a bond developed between Katz and the dog. He's good at conveying the difficulties of taking on a damaged dog (I did this some years ago with a Shepherd mix - Luce is my avatar) and the fact that normal reward-based training is sometimes not appropriate or effective - much as it pains me to admit that.
Katz writes well: he has strong opinions, particularly about animals, and he's not afraid to express them. It's a refreshing change from the books which seem designed to ensure that no one is upset and when you reach the end you'll have been entertained, informed and given plenty of feed for thought.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Dogs Never Lie About Love: Why Your Dog Will Always Love You More Than Anyone Else by Jeffrey Masson. For a book at how a dog changed someone's life, have a look at I Have Heard You Calling In The Night by Thomas Healy.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dog Nobody Loved by Jon Katz at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dog Nobody Loved by Jon Katz at Amazon.com.
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