Here are a few more reviews:
A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life
How can one describe this guy?, January 1, 2007
Reviewer: Whidbey Shepherdess (Oak Harbor, WA USA) - See all my reviews
Is charlatan, egotist and fool to strong a description of the author?
As a long time sheep breeder and sheepdog trialist I would have to say no, this man is using his poor animals as nothing but bait to draw the unwitting reader into purchasing his books. Books in which he exposes himself as a charlatan in regards to animal training and husbandry. Books in which he exposes himself as a self gratifying abuser of the ego. And, books, which perhaps only the purchasers of, are foolish.
I would join others in agreeing that Katz not be allowed to have dogs anymore.
Orson Never Had a Chance, January 1, 2007
Reviewer: C. Ward "dog lover" (OK, United States) - See all my reviews
I have been a fan of Jon Katz since I read "A Dog Year." I loved "The Dogs of Bedlam Farm." I expected this book to be a tribute to the dog that brought us those books, a final tribute about a man's love for his dog. I expected the ending to be a sad one, but the actual ending was far beyond sad - it was heart-breaking and unbelievable. I honestly thought this man loved his dog, but I see it differently now.
This is a story about a man who gave up on his dog, perhaps always intended it to be so. Perhaps a story about a man desperate for another book, another heartwrenching tale. Perhaps he tricked us all. After all, as he so eloquently writes, "I am a writer." Maybe he is still suffering the "Midlife Crisis" he wrote about in "Running to the Mountain." I can see in Jon Katz a man who makes rash decisions just because he feels like it, because he wants different circumstances, and this book proves it so.
He writes in a loving, heart-warming manner of his loving, close, committed, special relationship with Orson, the dog he wrote about in "A Dog Year." Then the tables turn and he writes of his horrifying "CHOICE." Might I add SELFISH. In horrifying DETAIL he tells the tale of Orson's fate and he doesn't stop there. He writes about how much better his life is without this dog. This dog whose work was Jon Katz, but Jon Katz did indeed fail him, though he reasons and justifies his actions as best as he knows how as a writer. I feel like he lied to all of us who loved his previous books. He fooled us, but most importantly Orson.
If any of you enjoyed "A Dog Year" or "The Dogs of Bedlam Farm," I advise you not to read this book. Those two books touch the heart, caused me to be a better guardian, one in which I could relate to since I have herding dogs of my own. But how could I ever read those books again after reading this one? I can't and won't. It was all just a big lie.
That poor dog never had a chance in the first place.
Hard to assign stars to this one...., December 31, 2006
Reviewer: Lois Huneycutt (Columbia, MO USA) - See all my reviews
I read his first book about Devon/Orson and enjoyed it...gave it to my dog-loving sister and she enjoyed it, too, even though she pointed out that it is an awfully odd thing for a person to adopt a high strung border collie on impulse, especially if one's other dog experience was with elderly, gentlemen labs, and secondly, it's a bit odd to try to fix your problems with one dog by getting another one. OK, though, nice book, nice man, if just a little bit, what shall we say, impetuous? impulsive? naive? about the process of bringing a high strung border collie into one's life. The first book did persuade me that we never, ever were going to get a border collie. When my son reached the age where I could deny his demands for a dog no longer, we got a standard poodle for the family -- after a lot of research about what we were getting into. The second book, Bedlam Farm, I couldn't finish. I thought the man was having great difficulty drawing the line between his needs and those of his dogs. Perhaps having a very difficult time with dogs who weren't quite meeting his psychological and emotional needs. Perhaps expecting these poor dogs to fulfill needs that dogs aren't supposed to fill in the first place. I dunno, the man seems to have a desperate need to meet the perceived needs of his dogs, and if he can't figure out what those need are, he'll call in any doctor, herbalist, shaman, medium, you name it, trying desperately to make the dog happy. Hey, my dog has food, water, regular walks and car rides, toys to chew, somebody to scratch his belly when it itches, a tongue that reaches what's left of his genitals...life is good. Or not. He's a freaking dog. If we couldn't meet his needs, we'd find somebody who could. If something went haywire, and he got super aggressive, and bit people, well, he's a freaking dog....we'd make reasonable attempts to find out what's causing the behavior and correct it, and if we couldn't, we'd make the same decision Katz did, I am sure. You can't have an aggressive dog around people. So far, I'm good with his decisions....
However, it just seems like the poor man is tortured by his own failures. I am absolutely unconvinced by the ramblings of the dog communicator who tells us that Devon/Orson, "worries that you will give him away, like you did that other dog." Right. Seems to me that Katz must feel some residual guilt over the decision -- and how did the dog guru know about old Homer and his re-homing? Same way I did. I read Katz's articles/books. The need to have the "experts" tell him that Orson is in some better place now, running with the bulls or whatever, just strikes me as pathetic.
You had a dog you loved that you couldn't save. You had him killed. End of story. Even though it's not a very interesting story that way, the other story, of the author's guilt, desperate attempts to reach the dog's psyche, whatever, it's not a very good story, either. It's a self-indulgent, self-serving apologia that's both unconvincing and very, very sad.
I tend to agree with the other reviewers who have suggested that Katz not be allowed to have dogs anymore. At least not complicated ones.
Dog Lovers Beware-Do Not Buy This Book, December 30, 2006
Reviewer: Sandy M. Magrath "dog lover" (Granbury, Tx) - See all my reviews
If you love dogs, do NOT buy this book. Every dog lover, who buys a book about dogs, is prepared to read about the dog dying at the end of old- age, accident, or disease. But, we are not prepared to have the author/owner make you fall in love with a dog and then take it's life by his own hand. The title of the book totally misrepresents the content. This is a story about a man who does not understand animals, who is lazy when it comes to caring for an animal with "issues", and uses animals for his own personal monetary profit. Orson (the dog who changed the author's life????) deserved to live out his years with someone who could rehabilitate him. But the author was too selfish to find him an alternative home and took the "easy" way out. Dogs are not disposable. They are a wonderful gift to us and our gift in return is committment. Euthanasia is not the answer for behavior issues. This book was extremely upsetting to me. I was totally saddend by the author's action - I cried for days. And, I was bitterly angered by the deceit. The title and jacket summary lured in dog lovers. This is not a good book for anyone.... especially dog lovers. I feel very violated.
Hurled the book across the room and then into the fireplace, December 28, 2006Reviewer: Christopher Wright "cwright" (Las Vegas, NV) - See all my reviews
I've personally worked with a pitbull who had been trained to fight and was able to successfully rehabilitate him into non-aggressive, loving pet for the past 5 years. The fate of Orson at the hand of a man going thru his pathetic mid-life crisis is simply outrageous.
Pure and simple...Orson was USED...and then discarded like a piece of garbage.