Nov 14, 2007

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys and Me
by Jon Katz

Jon Katz moved with three border collies into an old farmhouse in upstate New York where he shared land with a bunch of sheep and a few donkeys (as you can see from the subtitle). A novice at livestock keeping, he plunged into the work with the help of his half-trained dogs and some friendly neighbors. Toiling through a bitter winter a bit unprepared, Katz came face to face with some of his limitations, to know himself and his dogs better than ever before.

Most of all, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm is about how dogs are what we make them. The trainer (or lack of training) does a lot to shape a dogs' behavior, demeanor and work habits. Katz realized that to have better dogs, he had to be a better person, because they were a reflection of himself. And so he begins a long struggle to do so, taking us along with him on the rough road to overhaul his spirit, with many mishaps, amusing adventures and new friends gathered along the way.

The personalities of the workaholic dogs, woolly sheep and two gentle donkeys shine though these pages full of reflections on life and descriptions of the land. This book was a joy to read, and inspirational as well.

Rating: 4/5               256 pages, 2004


Maggie said...

Purchased it and Dog Days! I look forward to reading them! :)

Jeane said...

Is Dog Days by the same author? I know he's written a ton of stuff.

Janice Harayda said...

Katz is such a good writer, isn't he? I'm not sure I agree with his thesis that to have a better dog, you have to be a better person; I suspect some behavior in dogs has more to do with nature than nurture.

But Katz has such an engaging writing style that I stayed with him all the way, even as I was arguing with him in my head. Thanks so much for the blogroll listing.
Jan Harayda
One-Minute Book Reviews

Maggie said...

Why, yes Jeane! He is one in the same. :D

Jeane said...

Janice: You make a good point. I'm sure that not all people have to improve themselves in order to have better dogs. But in Katz' case, it seemed that his emotional reaction to the dog's misbehavior got in the way of the training process. I watch this tv show "It's Me or the Dog" and over and over they show people whose shouting & stress cause their dogs to behave worse; when they calm down the animals are calmer too.