Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me
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Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,566 ratings  ·  203 reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In his previous books, New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz introduced us to the delightful menagerie at Bedlam Farm, including Izzy, the unforgettable border collie rescue. Now, in Izzy & Lenore, Katz delves deeper into his connection with the beautiful, once-abandoned dog, learning yet again about the unexpected places animals can take...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by Villard (first published January 1st 2008)
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JuliaC.
While I enjoyed this book very much; it was also a very hard read for me (for personal reasons I do not wish to go into)
I have read a couple of other books by this author and so expected dogs and other animals to play a big part, but I was not expecting the hospice aspect.
Jon and his border collie Izzy become hospice volunteers, visiting people (young and old) who are at the end stage of life. Their role is to offer comfort to the dying and their families.
If you're not familiar with hospice work...more
Cynthia
First, I would be amiss to not mention that Katz says in the beginning of this book that "No dogs die." Thank you for that.

Moving on. This is the story of two of his dogs, Izzy and Lenore obviously. That is Lenore on the cover as a puppy. Izzy is a sweet-looking, intense border collie. Izzy was an abandoned dog living by himself basically on a farm in upstate New York. Katz was persuaded to take him in and gained each other's trust and friendship. Katz lives on a farm, Bedlam Farm, in upstate Ne...more
Michelle
The first thing I noted about this book was that it was very much unlike the previous Katz books I've read. For one, there was no long discussion of how he fought with a particular dog to get the poor thing under control. Most of his relationships with dogs have been fraught with tension. This was the first time he seemed to either get dogs who were relaxed or who he didn't try to train through sheer will and craziness. Maybe that's why the two dogs he focuses on in this book are so much better-...more
Amanda
Feb 25, 2009 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: Jennifer
As I made my way halfway through this book, I discovered I had alternately cried, laughed and awwwwed repeatedly. The warmth and friendship that seaps from this book is very effective. While listening I feel as if Jon is sitting here, telling me his story himself, like a friend coming over to share a tale. I loved how frank and open he was about his battle with depression and how his dogs helped him get through to the light. His hospice work with Izzy was what touched me the most. The stories of...more
Hassinger
Jan 12, 2013 Hassinger rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hassinger by: Mum
Shelves: do-not-reread


Izzy and Lenore is a schizophrenic work, alternating between touching and strangely egotistical. The stories within the pages of this book are heart-wrenching and inspirational, but they are not well-written. There is no apparent structure or organization; the chapters are haphazard constructions with little flow between or within them, leaving the message of the work muddled. The writing is riddled with broad, sweeping conclusions that often feel out of place. In fact, the majority of Katz's wr...more
LoriO
I always love listening to Katz's stories about his dogs; these stories were no different. But there was something really, well, wrong about the editing of this book. Or maybe there just wasn't any? Because he kept jumping around in time. And that was one thing when it wasn't clear whether Izzy still new or had been around for a while, or whether Lenore was part of his family yet (now she is, now she isn't). It was much worse when he was trying to tell the story of working through his depression...more
Darlene
This is not the first book I have read by Jon Katz. I really enjoy his conversational storytelling style and I recommend any of his books. This book is about a couple of things near and dear to my heart....animals (dogs specifically) and learning to deal and live with mental illness.Mr. Katz talks passionately and emotionally about his love affair with his three beautiful dogs... Rose, Izzy and Lenore. And what he describes in his very personal story is something I have always known.... an anima...more
Meg
*preface - I listened to this book :)

Oh my poor tear ducts! To be honest, I was pms-ing and admist some pretty serious familial stress, BUT, that being said, cried through almost the entire thing. More so than The Art of Racing in the Rain!!! And get this...the author starts the book with the gaurantee that NO DOGS DIE IN THIS BOOK! And he was true to his word. So I guess you can figure out what made me so emotional...? The true and simple joy of it. The beautiful spirits of dogs and those who l...more
Memizuki
http://memizuki-judgingabookbyitscove...

Like many books I read, I find books about humans and animals fun and feel good. There is no helping in getting the warm fuzzy when reading books like “Marley & Me” or “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, and that is why Jon Katz’s book “Izzy and Lenore” is another feel good, warm fuzzy, happy tears read. Having never heard of Jon Katz and going solely on Judging a Book by Its Cover, I picked up this unlikely favorite as a “buy two get one free” deal at Ba...more
Sarah
I picked up this book without reading the back cover, lured only by the cute puppy on the front and the need for something cute, light and mindless.

Instead--as probably even a cursory glance at the back would have revealed--I got a very personal and touching account of a man volunteering in hospice care and dealing with his own depression, and the two dogs that helped him along the way. The two themes were not very interconnected. Izzy, the border collie, takes the spotlight in chapters dealing...more
Gemma
Ostensibly, this is another of Katz's books on dogs. However, this book also deals with his struggle with depression, and his work as a hospice volunteer.

I won't say too much as this book is very much worth a read. Katz rights simply and poignantly about the individuals he met through his hospice work, and we learn a little about their lives and their deaths in ways that are achingly true, and therefore hideously painful and astoundingly beautiful. Katz focuses his memories of these moments on...more
Chanita.Shannon
As trained hospice volunteers visiting homes and nursing facilities in upstate New York, Katz and Izzy bring comfort and canine companionship to people who most need it. An eighty-year-old Alzheimer’s patient smiles for the first time in months when she feels Izzy’s soft fur. A retired logger joyfully remembers his own beloved dog when he sees Izzy. As Izzy bonds with patients and Katz focuses on their families, the author begins to come to terms with his own life, discovering dark realities he...more
Erik
In the introduction, fourth paragraph, "The animals on my farm are simple creatures." This first use of 'farm' will not be the last and I looked at Also By and see 'The Dogs of Bedlam Farm.' Seventh paragraph, he mentions Annie, The Bedlam Farm Goddess. Eighth, "I share Bedlam Farm with..." Twelfth, "morning rounds on Bedlam Farm." Thirteen, "rural upstate New York, where the population of my farm, Bedlam Farm, keeps expanding."
Someone's Hit the Jackpot as a dog owner/lover when they meet that s...more
Kyra
Feb 28, 2012 Kyra rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Kyra by: a sentimental friend
Sloppily edited drivel. With all due respect, Mr Katz had one semi-decent dog book in him, and this is not it. I guess it's tough walking away from the cash register.
Is it a middle-aged man or a young man, you support rescue but there is nothing like getting a dog from a breeder, you have a 'working' farm but you keep a pet steer - oops, TWO pet steers, you love your Labs but you gave them away. I guess it's tough writing a new book a year without getting a new dog each time to write about. Kind...more
Bianca
I think I've read all of Jon Katz's books about dogs. My favorite one was his first, _A Dog Year_, because I read it just as my own adolescent pup was driving me crazy. I understood what it meant to love a dog you didn't understand and didn't know how to communicate with. Such a dog story is, you get the sense, embedded in _Izzy and Lenore_--it's the months of training Izzy, another border collie, whom Katz mercifully rescues when his owners abandon him. But that story isn't the focus of this bo...more
Jessica Avery
Having lost my dad in hospice and my shadow-of-a-canine companion both within and just under a year ago, this was a poignant read. But somehow the dignity and warmth of the hospice volunteer stories and reflection on the enigmatic intuition of dogs and the deep connection they form with us, was comforting. I enjoyed the simple writing style but give this book 5 stars mostly for the emotion it evoked.
Kayla
In this Jon Katz explains the impact that animals can have in our lives and how they can help you even when you don't realize it. If you are an animal lover you will probably enjoy this book. I liked it for the most part, but I felt that the chapters didn't flow very well together. He would write about his life on the farm, and all the animals he has, and then talk about certain people he visited with Izzy in Hospice, and then he would talk about his own troubles and being depressed. I think if...more
Barbara
I've read all Jon's books and loved them all. But, this one is my all time favorite. It touched my heart so deeply. Jon portrayed beautifully the connection between dogs and humans. His honesty about not always finding the right words to describe this connection was refreshing. Sometimes things just don't have an explanation. They can only be felt with the heart. Jon does this so eloquently in Izzy and Lenore. My own dog, who is in a wheelchair, does therapy work with hospital patients and assis...more
Jean
I enjoyed it. It's not necessarily a precise sequence of events so I was slightly confused at times until I got used to that. I wasn't expecting it because the chapters are not entirely distinct essays. The author recounts his experiences on his farm, with a focus on relationships with his dogs. He becomes a hospice volunteer along with one dog in particular, Izzy. The stories of their visits to patients are sweet and sad. It is amazing how people suffering from dementia and other serious illnes...more
Tracey
This volume (hospice volunteering w/dogs; dealing with depression) was more serious than previous Katz tales, but he still does a great job depicting the dogs' personalities and the hospice worker/patient perspective is worth listening to. I admit that I zoned out quite a bit through this audio recording (either getting sleepy or doing other things), but it was still enjoyable to be able to listen to someone reading aloud.
Cath
I listened to the audio version of this book. The story was told by a good actor, his voice and delivery were pleasant.

Potions of the story are very touching and sweet when Jon writes about his relationship with the dogs in his life and how they work together to comfort and bring joy to hospice patients. I found parts of the book to be emotionally intense especially since Jon also wrote about working though his own depression during that time. A warning to you if you are uncomfortable reading ab...more
Amy
Nov 23, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog lovers and hospice volunteers
This book touched me deeply and I cried at the end of several chapters. The photography is absolutely breathtaking - reaching into the depths of the dogs' souls. I would enjoy just a photo book by this author. The chapters that dealt with his hospice volunteer work with Izzy made me think back to my own hospice volunteer days, some of the most rewarding friendships and memories come from this time for me. The only disappointment for me in this book was reading about the author's own depression....more
Vid
I've enjoyed Katz's previous books as I find his writing both moving but not overly sentimental. In fact, his perspective upon the relationship between humans and their dogs, helped me approach the difficult decision to euthanized my beloved dog.

In this book, Katz continues to explore the bond between dogs and their people but now with a twist. He states at the beginning of the book, no dogs die, and I was relieved to think I would not be sobbing my way through the book. Wrong! He ends up volun...more
Maggie
A very interesting and well written memoir about a year in the life of Jon Katz. It was a year of incredible changes for him, beginning with his adoption of an abandoned border collie, which he names Izzy. Izzy is damaged by her years of abuse, but quickly rebounds and become a very valuable asset to Jon's life because she joins him in visiting Hospice patients. The book also follows Jon's adoption and training of the puppy Lenore, Jon's battle with severe depression, and his reconnection with h...more
Teresa
Nov 08, 2008 Teresa added it
I didn't want to finish this book so quickly. Thank goodness for his farm journal and photo blog. I get my Jon Katz "fix" almost daily.

I heard Jon Katz speak in Austin, Texas and the Texas Book Festival. I bought this book there and brought another with me for Mr. Katz to sign. I just wanted to meet him and hear him speak in person. What a humble man.

Jon Katz' writing captures me like no other non-fiction writer. After reading his books I can't imagine EVER reading fiction! Unless of course he...more
Mary Kay
Once again I enjoyed Katz' self-exploration accompanied by dogs. This book describes two new canine characters, rescue border collie Izzy and sweet lab pup, Lenore. Izzy turns out to have a mysteriously effective presence as a hospice dog, helping dying people become calm and focused. The effects on the dog of these encounters is part of the picture. Katz describes several of his hospice encounters, which largely focus on his dog but provide a fair amount of information on hospice volunteer trai...more
Kelly Hager
This is only the second book of his I've read, but I noticed that he repeated some stories. I don't think I would've noticed if I hadn't read the other one earlier this month, though.

This installment details how he got Izzy and Lenore (but the book deals a lot more with Izzy). Jon and Izzy become hospice volunteers so a lot of the chapters deal with that. (They meet a hospice patient, Izzy makes them feel better, but they die, because they are hospice patients and that's what they do.)

Still, th...more
Jan
My friend, who does does therapy work with her canine companion, Teddy, loaned me this book. Jon Katz has more than several books about dogs, this one being about a rescued Border Collie named Izzy and his acquisition of a puppy, Lenore, a Labrador Retriever. I'm amazed at how calm Teddy, an Australian Shepard, is and how well he took to doing therapy work and visition. Katz' Izzy is equally amazing as Izzy's breed is not necessarily a calm one either and seemed to instinctively know what to do....more
Nancy
Great book, and wonderful narrator. The author is depressed, and doesn't know why, or how to get out of it. He has retired to a farm, where he raises animals, to observe and write about them. He doesn't send them to slaughter. In this book he starts to work for hospice. He is using a dog he rescued, who turns out to be great with people. He tells very touching stories of people he worked with through hospice. He at a very dark point in his life, contacts his sister, who has a lot of problems wit...more
Laura Duffield Biegger
Book about dogs, but much more about author's experience with using his dog as hospice therapy and his own therapy. Good book.
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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...
A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm

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