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Dancing Dogs: Stories

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  546 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
No one brings to life the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs like New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz. He has warmed our spirits with enchanting tales and keen observations of his animal menagerie—the dogs, sheep, chickens, and other residents of Bedlam Farm. Now, Katz is back with what he does best in his first collection of short stories, Dancing Dogs.

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,199)
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Oct 17, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of Jon Katz' dog memoirs, and I was curious whether his short stories would read as well. They do; actually in some ways I think that these stories allow Katz to show off his talents as a writer in a way not possible with non-fiction. Here, the narrator is not restricted to Katz himself - in one story the narrator is an old farmer, in another a middle aged woman clerking in a big box store, and in another a dog, home alone and far from bored. The characters in Katz' stories are no ...more
Short stories have never been my favorite medium, but dogs are among my favorite characters in fiction, so I hoped that this would be a fun collection - perfect to take along with me for a weekend at the lake house. Unfortunately, this is only the perfect collection to accompany a box of tissues and a private room - well, unless you are a pretty crier and don’t mind when people keep asking you what’s wrong! From the very first story, “Gracie’s Last Walk,” Katz opens with - as the title suggests ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Sharyn rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book of short stories. Took me awhile, as it is my bedtime reading if I am not trying to finish a book. I try to limit myself to one story, but that doesn't always work well.I have not read any of the other books by this author, but I may as I have to have dogs in my life vicariously, as my little dog died and my husband does not want another. Oh well. My favorite story was "Day in the life of Pearl and Joan" and I won't spoil it by telling why. This is just a lovely little book w ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers
I got this ARC prior to its publication as a "Goodreads Giveaway" and at first glance I thought it might be silly or boring, but boy, was I wrong! I loved most of the stories, starting with "Gracie's Last Walk". This book has a good mix of happy, sad, funny and thoughtful stories. One is about what a dog does when his owners leave the house. If you've got a dog that stays alone while you work then you'll really get a kick out of this narrative from the dog's perspective. I have a miniature pinch ...more
Nov 09, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
As with any short story collection, I liked some of the stories more than others. For me personally, I couldn't read this book straight through as the stories seemed to have the same tone, but with different messages. What is nice is that I could read from this book at different intervals to take a break from my other readings. Some of the stories really resonated with me (the suitcase on the subway - oh my!), but a few felt like filler. Any dog lover will enjoy this collection. I have read most ...more
Julie Salinas
Sep 18, 2012 Julie Salinas rated it really liked it
Shelves: won-book
Dancing Dogs is a collection of dog stories and also of the people in their lives. This is not James Harriet kind of writing which was stories about a vet and the animals and people encountered. This is more like peeking over the hedges into the dog park. Some of the stories are from the dogs perspectives. Others are from the people perspective almost in a Flannery O'Conner kind of way. Any dog owner/lover will identify with many of the stories, but bring tissues. Some stories will make you chuc ...more
Eva Leger
I didn't plan to and I normally wouldn't rate each story in a collection like this but something is telling me to so I will. The overall rating will be for the entire collection together.
Short stories in order:

1. "Gracie's Last Walk" (5 stars) - This is the first story and it's a good one. The narrator is really good with the exception of the vet assistants (Brazilian?) accent and the story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.
I could totally 100% relate to Caroline and what s
Sep 17, 2012 Gail rated it really liked it
I won this book in a first reads free giveaway. Received it in the mail yesterday. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for my copy.
I really enjoyed the book. Inspiring collection of short stories about the lives of humans and dogs. There are a lot of sad parts that dogs could be treated that way.My favorite stories were Guardian Angel, Dancing Dogs, Lucky's Day, Puppy Commando and The Dog who kept Men Away. They were all good stories but I enjoyed those the best. Great job Mr.Katz on showin
Oct 25, 2012 Jami rated it really liked it
Shelves: animal-books
Well, don't I feel like an idiot!?!? I got several stories into the book before I realized that this was fiction!!!! I was thinking that they were all true short stories at the outset. Not that I am complaining - I love fiction and this certainly did not take away from my enjoyment of this book!!! I enjoyed all of the stories; although I liked some more than others, I liked each and every story in the book. One word of caution: this is not a "read-in-public" book, as I found myself reaching for ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-books
Dancing With Dogs is a charming book of short stories that is sure to please any dog lover. The 16 stories range from heart warming to heart breaking and explore our relationship with our pets and nature in general. While I had my favorites all of the stories were enjoyable reads. This is a quick read that is apt to give you a few laughs and is likely to bring on the tears as well. It would make a great gift for a pet lover and I definitely recommend the book ...more
Sep 15, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it
I was pleasantly surprised upon winning a copy on Goodreads. I enjoyed the short stories by Katz. A great light read that will inevitably have dog-owners relating to these stories. It was great that a handful of the stories involved animal shelters since so many pets are in need of adoption. One theme that was a little overdone was of death--in both losing owners and dogs. I will be passing the book along to some of my animal-loving friends.
Joyce Ferrante
Sep 16, 2012 Joyce Ferrante rated it it was amazing
I won Dancing Dogs by Jon Katz through Goodreads!!Ismiled,laughed and cried as I read the delightful short stories about dog's lives!! She is an amazing author and I plan to read more of her books. Looking at life through the eyes of a dog is quite interesting. I highly recommend this book to all animal lovers, not just those of dogs. Now I wonder what Monte, my black lab is thinking all the time and what his life is like when noone is looking...???!!
Rachel Carr
Sep 12, 2012 Rachel Carr rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. I received this book from a goodreads giveaway. I loved the way the tales didn't always end the way I thought they would. Some were very poignant, others very uplifting and all were delightful in their own way. If you are a dog lover, you'll like this book. I've not read anything else by this author, but I enjoyed his writing style enough that I'll certainly seek out something else by him.
Mar 23, 2014 Chantel rated it liked it
This is the first book that I've picked up by Jon Katz. When I got it on my e-Reader, I knew that it was a collection of short stories and thought it would be some cutesy dog stories to pass the time. Short stories have a difficult task in a small amount of words. Jon Katz did a decent job in most of the fifteen stories. Early on these stories felt more like children's stories but they also felt like realistic snap shots in the lives of the characters in the stories. They weren't heartwarming st ...more
Donna Lewis
Oct 01, 2012 Donna Lewis rated it really liked it
A delightful collection of dog (and cat and donkey...) stories told from the both the owner and the Pete's perspective. Jon Katz has a slew of border collie books -- and of course I own and love one -- and he has a unique understanding of how animals relate to their people families. The stories are fun, entertaining and touching.
Ilona Mustafin
Sep 18, 2012 Ilona Mustafin rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to receive this book because I adore dogs. It was a good book filled with short stories. I know I don't fully understand dogs and I wish we humans would. Dogs are amazing animals and these stories show us a good peek into their existence. This book is for any dog lover. I do recommend.
Sep 22, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A mix of stories about dogs. And one about a cat, to break things up. Many stories told from the POV of the dog. Not your fruffy, fluffy, feel-good animal stories. But, for those of us who love our canine family, it is great to read stories that were written by someone who feels the same.
Sep 25, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
I loved this collection of short stories. Many of them had me laughing out loud as I could relate my experiences with dogs that have passed through my life. And I shed a few tears, too. I recommend this to anyone who loves dogs as much as I do! I received this as an Advanced Reader's Edition!
Kristy Browning
Great collection of stories. I was worried about reading this because I am very sensitive about animals suffering, but there were only a few sad stories, and even the sad stories had hopeful endings. A must read for animal lovers!
Karen & Gerard
Oct 05, 2012 Karen & Gerard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
Dancing Dogs by Jon Katz has 16 short fiction stories all centered around dogs. Most of the stories are really, really good! I loved it! If you are a dog lover, I think you will love it too!
(Gerard's review)
Vangie Anderson
Oct 10, 2012 Vangie Anderson rated it it was amazing
even though DANCING DOGS had a few sad parts in it, it was definitely an awesome read and worth every tear!! I loved it & I would recommed it to anyone who loves dogs!!
Jan 02, 2013 Courtney rated it it was ok
It had a few good stories. Alot of them weren't very deep - seemed kind of juvenile, like a kids book.
Dee Toomey
Aug 14, 2014 Dee Toomey rated it it was ok
Fairly unimpressed. I love dog stories, but most of these short stories lacked depth. Also, the stories are fiction. When you write true stories, you have no choice for the direction the story choice of a plot and how it is choice as to an ending. But in fiction, all the afore mentioned are created in the writer's mind. I just didn't feel this author did much plot development nor did he do too well with the endings.

A couple of the short stories were an exception...My fav
Oct 13, 2012 Jevelyn rated it it was amazing
Fun read for dog lovers, or any one who wants to look at the world differently
These are all delightful stories. Definitively kleenix material.

Good stories. Some made me bawl my head off.
Jul 15, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2015
My mom is a big fan of Jon Katz, & I grew up on a hobby farm, so I thought hey, let's give it a go. Why not, right? What I didn't expect was to be crying as much as I did. I laughed too, but man, were there a lot of tears here.
I think what made me cry so much was that the stories were so relatable. "The Dog Who Kept Men Away" reminded me of my dog Colleen, who goes nuts every time someone even comes near the door. "Lucky's Day" really put you in the head of how a dog made me think and made m
Oct 04, 2015 J.T. rated it liked it
Shelves: canine, short-stories
I was never quite sure what this book was trying to be. It was written like a children's chapter book, but had profanity and sexual content. It was written to be a book of short stories, but they weren't poingnant enough to stand on their own like a true short story can magically do: develop characters, envelop us in this cross-section of someone's life for a brief moment. As for it being a book about dogs, it was more about people who love dogs (or just HAVE dogs).

The biggest turnoff for me in
Dec 10, 2012 Hilary rated it it was amazing
I won this book through the GoodReads first-reads program.

I'm rather a sucker for animal stories, which is unfortunate because the bulk of them end with the animal passing away and commentary about the circle of life. Luckily Dancing Dogs Stories wasn't one of those books. While the first story, "Gracie's Last Walk", delves into that territory the rest of the book focuses much more about the relationship that exists between humans and animals.

The stories ran the gamut from humorous to touching,
Louise Chambers
Jun 22, 2013 Louise Chambers rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dog lovers
Recommended to Louise by: Denver Public Library
The first story nearly made me abandon this book. I cried so hard. I had just lost my Step-Dad, and also I am grieving the 7th anniversary of the passing of my best friend, my Shiba Inu Akira Kurasawa aka Booee; so you see I was quite vulnerable, and allowances must be made.

I put the book down on the floor by the bed overnight, and picked it up the next morning to try again with my cuppa joe. So pleased I turn over a new leaf, so to speak, pun intended!

I love each of these stories uniquely. They
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Jon Katz is an author, photographer, and children's book writer. He lives on Bedlam Farm with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf, his four dogs, Rose, Izzy, Lenore and Frieda, two donkeys, Lulu and Fanny, and two barn cats. His next book, "Rose In A Storm" will be published by Random House on October 5.
He is working on a collection of short stories and a book on animal grieving.
More about Jon Katz...

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