A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me by Jon Katz

By Jon Katz

Occasionally, switch comes on 4 legs.In his renowned and commonly praised operating to the Mountain, Jon Katz wrote of the power and aid he present in the big varieties of his yellow Labrador retrievers, Julius and Stanley. while the Labs have been six and 7, a breeder who’d learn his publication contacted Katz to assert she had a puppy that was once intended for him—a two-year-old border collie named Devon, good bred yet high-strung and homeless. Katz already had a whole dogs complement—but, as he writes, “Change loves me. . . . It is available in all kinds. . . . occasionally, swap comes on 4 legs.” almost immediately thereafter he introduced Devon domestic. A puppy 12 months exhibits how a guy chanced on a lot approximately himself via one puppy (and then another), whose temperament appeared as diversified from his personal as day from evening. it's a tale of belief and figuring out, of lifestyles and demise, of continuity and alter. it truly is by means of turns insightful, hilarious, and deeply relocating.

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The PA officers were not dog lovers, it turned out. “Hey, he’s a champion border collie,” I pleaded as one got on his radio to alert Newark’s animal-control team. “We aren’t dogcatchers,” he said. But he wasn’t totally unsympathetic either, and they agreed that we would try to restrain Devon before calling in the doggie SWAT unit. They warned, however, that they wouldn’t be held responsible if he nipped some kid, or if an old woman got knocked over. “I’ve seen dogs a lot less excited than that one bite people,” one muttered.

I longed for someone who would come along and take care of me and my sister. Maybe I wanted the chance to do that for a creature like Devon, to be the benefactor who came along and took faithful care of him. Another thought: having a child had been the central, most rewarding experience of my life. I loved being a father and was proud of the kind of father I usually was, mostly because I have such a great kid. Now that she’s gone off to college, I don’t really miss being a full-time dad, although I do miss her.

In my Boomerville town, big dogs were definitely in style, and a few stayed locked up in houses all day while everybody was at work and school. Hunting dogs were special favorites, because they are bred for patience and spending time with people, and because they are often beautiful. It was sometimes an unfortunate formula: the fewer people around, the bigger and more powerful the dog. People wanted a pet, but many were too pressed or eager for a puppy to focus long on the reality that big dogs need exercise, not to mention disciplined, labor-intensive, time-consuming training.

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