A Dog Year: Rescuing Devon, the most troublesome dog in the world
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A Dog Year: Rescuing Devon, the most troublesome dog in the world

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  2,963 ratings  ·  224 reviews
Jon and his wife live in a New Jersey suburb with two perfectly behaved Labradors. Then into the mix comes Devon, who creates havoc from the moment he arrives at the airport, when it takes Jon, two baggage handlers and three police officers to track him down after he escapes.

Jon learns the hard way how to encourage Devon to behave. But amongst the difficulties of their fir...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Ebury Press (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jul 10, 2007 Angela rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: nobody at all
Shelves: gaveupon

I feel cheated. Ripped off.

At the beginning of the book, Katz has two Labradors he loves. He writes rapturously of their perfect, content life together.

Then a breeder friend starts nagging him to adopt a troubled, difficult border collie.

I go through this every time I see a homeless animal. I want to adopt the rabbit on Craig's list, whose owners have realized they're not good caretakers. I want to take home the dog I saw at adoption day at the local pet store. But I don't, because...more
Kara Dennison
I read this book after seeing the film of the same name starring Jeff Bridges. There is a great deal left out, understandably, but both were enjoyable. As a former border collie owner myself, I enjoyed the stories of Devon and Homer attempting to herd things, as well as pulling seemingly impossible stunts while their owner was away.

I'm not sure this is a book for people not completely enamored of dogs -- in particular, for border collie owners who understand and embrace their quirks. In that res...more
Carol  MacInnis
Jon Katz tells a wonderful story in "A Dog Year" about living with his dogs and acquiring a border collie named "Devon" who is slightly out of control. Every dog is different as are humans, but in this novel, getting to know Devon was an experience all in itself. It had me laughing, it had me crying, it had me right from page one! In times like today when life can have so many ups and downs, there is nothing like the companionship of a dog whose gives you love unconditionally. A wonderful story...more
Enough with the bred dogs. Learn your lesson already and get a dog from a pound. Then you won't have to put them to sleep when they're much younger than most dogs because of diseases caused by overbreeding or put them to sleep because you can't control their behavioral issues. Shame on you, Jon Katz. Use your money and fame for some good.
Anyone who was a fan of Marley and Me should try one of Jon Katz's books. Katz has a series of books sharing his dog stories is hilarious, beautiful, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking ways.

The first of Katz's books that I read was A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me. Katz has two old yellow labs that have grown accustomed to a lazy way of life. A life that Katz himself has grown comfortable with. One day, however, a friend calls Katz and tells him that she found a dog that he should...more
Jan 21, 2010 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: doglovers
Recommended to Jennifer by: Elisabeth
Shelves: read-2010
A small slip of a book that explores a year in the life of writer, Jon Katz--a year that involves four dogs. As the year begins, Katz is living a peaceful existance in New Jersey with his two white labs, Julius and Stanley (apparently their earlier adventures are chronicled in another book). Even for labs, these two dogs are super mellow and easy-going and they and their needs fit seamlessly into Jon's writing life. After a morning walk, they sleep by his feet as he types on the computer, etc.

Nate Thomas
A Dog Year

The book is called a dog year and its about the author named Jon Katz he is an author and he sometimes writes all day and then he adopts this dog named Devon. Devon is a border collie and he gets into trouble, and he is afraid of people leaving him. Jon lives in New York and Devon likes to have exercise and he can’t because he doesn’t have the space and so he tries to run away every chance he gets. When he runs away he tries to herd the car because he’s a sheep d...more
Overall, I liked this book and the story of Katz's four dogs. I've got to say I don't totally agree with the training tactics used in the book; but it's supposed to be viewed as more of a light-hearted story than a training book. I did fall in love with each of the dogs, however I had a hard time liking the author. For example, I didn't like the way he would refer to his wife - it always came across like she was a bitch. I also understood the frustrations he experienced with his dogs but didn't...more
I enjoyed this book and think the author has a nice, friendly writing style, but it's hard for me to get past the fact that he keeps buying bred dogs. Despite seeing his dogs lead short lives because they are bred and suffer from hereditary problems associated with overbreeding, he keeps buying bred dogs. Come on, Katz. Hit up a shelter. They'll live a lot longer, you'll be saving a life, and you'll be setting a great precedent for all your readers to follow. You're exactly the kind of person wi...more
I absolutely love Jon Katz! This book was sooooooo good! I laughed out loud, cried aloud (even sobbed). I felt like I was right there with him through his trials and tribualations with his beloved boys ( the labs and border collies).
This book is incredible for dog lovers! and apparently it is going to be made into a movie according to the cover. Believe me, i will be first in line to watch it!!!!!
I have read "the Dogs of Bedlam Farm" and am now about to start 'A Good Dog". I have no doubt i will...more
Yes, I cried when his old dog died. Very sweet story of this guy and his dogs. The author has two sweet, obedient, bonded Labs that he adores and who adore him. He then takes on another dog, who is of a very different temperament. I like how Katz is honest about some of the mistakes he made with the new dog, and how he felt about him. It's not all sweet feelings here. Enjoyable book for folks who like animals.
I bought this book for my husband after our beloved cairn terrier passed away at 13 years of age and it brought tears and healing to him. I read it after him and was also deeply affected by its kindhearted and very real struggle with grief and a new, difficult dog. After reading this, we went to the SPCA and got another dog - this completed the cycle on so many levels.
I loved all of Jon Katz's books. He had a really great style of writing, and made his life sound like the greatest life in the world. He's a great storyteller. His books are sad, funny, exciting... they have everything. Perfect book for animal lovers about the life of a bunch of dogs and their owners on a farm.
Breaks my heart every time. The first time I read this book, I had to hide in a stall in the Denver airport for the last 30 pages or so because I was crying so hard. Beautiful and true and not maudlin like many books addressing the same themes.
We have three dogs. Two of which are boarder collies. One of which was adopted later at the age of two. This book really hit home on all aspects. Boarder Collies are extremely challening but very loving and affectionate.
Really touching story. Any animal lover would enjoy this book. Jon Katz does a great job of revealing his faults, curiosities and his joys where his dogs are concerned.
This was an excellent book and a good warning to those who want a border collie for a pet. Unless you have a lot of time and energy DO NOT GET ONE. Plus they are not always good with kids and have many issues as the book shows. I also know this to be true, because I have one, and she has been a problem dog for 7 years but I keep working with her, but some things you just can't change.

For examples:

1. Some border collies have fear aggression. Mine does. She has hit me in the face with her nose a f...more
“A dog year” by Jon Katz tells the story of a man that takes in a new dog that turns out to be quite the handful. The book is a memoir about the struggles of dog owning. Katz shows numerous accounts of frustrations and times where he wanted to give up on training his new collie named Devon. He tells of how crazy his life had gotten since he got her, but also how it changed him and his views on dog ownership for the better.

The setting is somewhere near Newark New Jersey, around the 00’s. The main...more
Victoria Shaffer
“A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me” by Jon Katz shows the never ending bond between a dog and their owner. This memoir demonstrates the many changes can happen in a man’s life during just a single year, whether it is in his own personal life of his dogs. Katz tells about the many journeys that he pushes through to find the peace inside of his house again.

“A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me” is set in a suburban New Jersey town in the early 2000’s where most people in the ne...more
The narrator annoyed me, the dog training techniques as well as how he goes about acquiring his dogs irked me. It's not that I'm against only investing in purebreds - I think there's good reasons for both mutts/shelter dogs and breeders. But this man made a number of mistakes and didn't really apologize for them. As a writer, his characterizations of the people involved in his life were one-dimensional and frustrating. And knowing the truth about what happened to the dog doesn't help his case.
Davyd Gosselin
The book is for anyone who loves dogs. It is also a cautionary tale for those who want to own a Border Collie. Katz's story follows his adoption of a troubled Border Collie that arrives by crate from Texas.

We get the expected glowing accounts of his Labrador dogs and their reactions to the Devon, a dysfunctional dog with a retaliatory attitude toward any slight from Katz. The book is funny in parts, sad in others, but mostly it is a instruction manual for dealing with troubled dogs.

I found Katz'...more
Jon Katz may not be the most profound author I've read, but his stories ring with a truth and honesty that I respect. He admits his mistakes, and is honest about his own reactions when dealing with his difficult dog. I appreciate that.

This was an incredibly bittersweet read for me. I have already read A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life, the further adventures of one of the dogs in this tale (view spoiler)...more
Gail Burns
I just finished reading the most wonderful book on Border Collies and would recommend it. It includes the subject of getting another pet and all the resultant emotions around this, plus the writer Jon, has caught the nature of Border Collies so perfectly. His writing reminded me so sharply of my darling Jess and rounded out for me, her personality as it differs from some other breeds of dogs. Why Borders aren't generally cuddly even if they are very social - he describes the way Borders go throu...more
David Berman
A Dog Year by Jon Katz is an easy-read cute story of a middle aged man who takes on the task of bringing difficult dogs into his peaceful life. I am a big dog person so I really enjoyed reading this book because it was as if the dogs were on par with the human characters in the book in the way that they behaved. It was very easy to relate to because this man leads a very normal life in my eyes besides the fact he is completely consumed in his dogs. The reader became very attached to the dogs and...more
You know how sometimes you pick up a book at the perfect time and it becomes impossible to put down? That's how I felt about this book. For my full review click here.
I love this book, these dogs, this author.....but unless you are a true blue do or die dog lover do not read this book. You have to love dogs and understand just how unique each one is to eve begin to accept and understand this true story. The story, the mission, of this story/ journal is to give a first hand accounting of Devon's year....a rescue dog with too many idiosyncrasies and problems to list. The story evolves over one year, and nothing more, to tell in rich detail, the story of four do...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What a feel good read! Jon Katz is able to write about the highs and lows of dog ownership, or should I say cohabitating, without making it too sweet. The best statement in this book is when he says that his dog, Devon, changed him from a dog owner to a dog lover.
The book starts out with Jon content with his life. He has two awesome Labs, whom everyone in the neighborhood loves. He decides to do something crazy and mix it up with a crazy Border Collie who has serious issues. He doesn't succeed...more
Recently I saw the film version, this is one of the few of Jon's books that I had not read, so I decided to go for it. I really enjoyed reading how Jon and Devon came to be. Naturally, the film version was only "based on" the book, so I was surprised to read about Jon's problem with his legs and walking - that is a very important part that should have been in the film - it makes the story even more remarkable that he was able to do the sheep herding lessons due to the situation.
I have two more o...more
A nice little read if you're a dog lover. Especially if you have known a dog with issues and relate! If not in love with dogs you wouldn't appreciate.
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Interested in knowing... 4 27 Dec 21, 2011 10:09AM  
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  • Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills
  • Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
  • Good Dog. Stay.
  • Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon
  • Saving Cinnamon: The Amazing True Story of a Missing Military Puppy and the Desperate Mission to Bring Her Home
  • What the Dog Did: Tales from a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner
  • Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou
  • DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption
  • The Dog Who Rescues Cats: True Story of Ginny
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
  • Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
  • Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs
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 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 Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, 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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“It inspires a bit of awe to see working dogs really do their jobs, to see thousands of years of history, instinct, and breeding well up and become manifest in a sunny pasture. It transforms the way an owner sees a dog, and the way the dog sees himself. This, perhaps, is the bond people talk about between working dogs and their masters. Working” 0 likes
“I am lucky in marriage and in dogs.” 0 likes
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