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

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,082 Ratings  ·  239 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
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by Villard (first published January 1st 2008)
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Marley & Me by John GroganDewey by Vicki MyronA Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce CameronThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
It's Raining Cats & Dogs!
20th out of 271 books — 77 voters
Angelo's Journey by Angelo DirksIzzy & Lenore by Jon KatzRose in a Storm by Jon KatzSheepdog in the Snow by Ben M. BaglioPatches Catches the Sargo County Cattle Rustler by Mark Niemann-Ross
Border Collie Books
1st out of 14 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 11, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 09, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amanda by: Jen
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
Teena in Toronto
Dec 28, 2015 Teena in Toronto rated it liked it
Jon Katz is an author living on Bedlam Farm, which has a variety of animals. He is contacted about a border collie named Izzy, who has been living his life fenced in with little contact with humans. Katz adopts him and socializes him. Katz discovers that Izzy may be a good hospice dog so they enrol in the program. Izzy does indeed have a knack for comforting people who are dying but also those who are supporting people who are dying. Katz also gets Lenore, a black Lab puppy who is a sweetie. Dur ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Hassinger rated it it was ok
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
Sandra Heinzman
Feb 20, 2015 Sandra Heinzman rated it really liked it
I’m always a sucker for animal stories, and this did not disappoint. I had never heard of Jon Katz before, but I will definitely look into reading others of his many animal books. I wish I could meet Izzy and Lenore someday, as they sound like wonderful dogs! The story was very inspiring and made me want to consider doing some dog therapy work someday, when I retire, if I get another dog. Or even just do volunteer work (without a dog)! Jon paints such vivid stories about his dogs, that I could a ...more
Shazza Maddog
Sep 25, 2014 Shazza Maddog rated it liked it
Jon Katz has become a name in writing about Bedlam Farm and his dogs and other animals. In this book, he writes more about his Border Collie, Izzy, whom he adopted. Izzy was running on acreage with another Border Collie, but both of them were all but feral, having lived with little to no human contact. When Katz adopts Izzy, the dog had never been inside a vehicle nor a house. However, there was something about Izzy that made Katz decide he wanted this dog.

While there's very little about what h
Sep 09, 2014 LoriO rated it liked it
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
Vanessa Alejandra
Nov 19, 2014 Vanessa Alejandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Good reviews and on sale...those were the two reasons I picked this book up. Touching and well narrated (audiobook) were two reasons I finished it quickly.

As has been mentioned in other reviews, it's the story of a man, his travails through life, and two of his many animals. It's told in a very conversational tone that draws you into the book. No pretenses and very matter-of-fact. There are moments of sadness and joy throughout and I never had a point where I wondered "when's this gonna finish a
Mar 06, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing
What a most tender and spiritual book. This book has touched me on a spiritual level that I haven't read in a long time. An owner of dogs and a farm has a special relationship with his animals from goats, donkey, bull, dogs, chickens, a menagerie of special animals each of which hits a tender place in his heart. He mentions two of his MOST special dogs that have helped him through some terrifically special to really difficult times. I love them all so very much. I think of my sweet kitty Frisco, ...more
Sheri Struk
Jun 04, 2015 Sheri Struk rated it liked it
I appreciated the author's honesty regarding changes in his life, particularly his self observation of feelings of depression. While the story revolves mainly around the hospice work done by Katz and his dog, Izzy, he also describes his other animals on Bedlam Farm and their personalities. He reflects on the importance of animals and how they seem to have a special ability to intuit the feelings of their owners. He describes the unique and important role Izzy played in the lives of hospice patie ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Darlene rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 20, 2010 Meg rated it really liked it
*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
Jun 02, 2015 Memizuki rated it really liked it

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
Jun 05, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, animals
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
May 04, 2009 Gemma rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs, non-fiction
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
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
Oct 12, 2008 Erik rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio, inspire, animals, bn-loan
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
Sommer Huffmaster
This book is good. Very thoughtful, and Jon Katz is an excellent writer. He takes you through his world on a farm with three dogs, one of which he does hospice volunteering with. That being said, this book is about working through his depression and volunteering with hospice. It's super sad. Be prepared to cry. Luckily the sad chapters are interspersed with the antics of an adorable lab puppy. You have to be in the right mood to read it. I think I'd like another of his books more, maybe.
Feb 28, 2012 Kyra rated it did not like it
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
Mar 22, 2009 Bianca rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it
I have just started volunteering in my local hospice and this book was recommended by one of the hospice workers who spoke at our training. I found the book very interesting and enjoyed reading about our 4 legged volunteers as well. You just never know who, what, how and when they or even us will be the highlight of the day for someone in hospice, or even their family members trying to come to grip with the day to day reality of hospice.
Dec 18, 2014 Katrina rated it it was amazing
This is another installment on the activities and occupants of Bedlam Farm. This book centers around two of the author's dogs, Izzy, a rescued border collie and Lenore, a Labrador puppy. It is a story of Katz and Izzy's journey to become experienced hospice volunteers and of Katz's battle with depression, which a sweet and soulful puppy named Lenore helps Katz get through. Heartwarming stories of animals and their significance in human lives, this book is well worth the read.
Jessica Avery
Aug 19, 2014 Jessica Avery rated it it was amazing
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.
Jim Patterson
May 24, 2016 Jim Patterson rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2015 Carol rated it liked it
Good book for those in canine therapy work that THINK they want to try hospice. I would not recommend the work for most teams as it will emotionally take a lot out of you and your dog. Some dogs are more intuitive than others to this type of work.

I do think this could have been two books. One on Katz' struggle with mental illness and the other about the two dogs and therapy work.

This was a sweet book. I really liked hearing about all the animals on the farm, how the dogs especially helped the author through a rough time. But what really rang with me was the hospice visits. My dad was in hospice at the end of his life and I know what a blessing those people are. To have something so simple as a dog to help ease your last days is great!
Oct 05, 2009 Kayla rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Oct 03, 2008 Barbara rated it it was amazing
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
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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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