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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,279 Ratings  ·  253 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
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Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars! First off, I don't know how hospice workers do it. Several of the stories made me teary eyed for sure. God bless all you loving therapy dogs!
Jan 11, 2009 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 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
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to CupcakeBlonde 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
Mar 20, 2011 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
Teena in Toronto
Dec 27, 2015 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
Sandra Heinzman
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
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
Viewpoints Radio
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: viewpoints_radio
We love our dogs to comfort us when we are sad, so wouldn't we want them also in the final moments of life? In this book, author John Katz describes how he is making a difference by taking his dog, in this case his border collie Izzy, to comfort hospice patients. Katz describes the lasting effects of having dogs in hospice with dying patients and why he believes this should be more common. We had the chance to speak with Katz about his love for dogs and helping others on our radio show Viewpoint ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, animals
This is more personal than any of Jon Katz's books about his dogs and about Bedlam Farm. Izzy was rescued after several years confined to a pan, and a truly crazy dog evolves into on that is outstanding in his ability to provide exactly what is needed for each of the hospice patients he encounters. Lenore is a typical Lab: ruled by her stomach, but also born to love and be loved. Best part: no dogs die in this book!

In working with these two dogs Jon learns some good lessons about himself, his de
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hospice
The author likes to write stories about his dogs and other animals on his farm. This is a heartwarming story about how his dog learned to be a hospice volunteer. It is both sad and uplifting. By the end, you want a dog just like Izzy.
Mar 09, 2017 is currently reading it
Izzy and Lenore is a autobiography about a man, Jon, and two of his three dogs at the time. The dogs featured in this book are Izzy, a border collie, and Lenore, a black Labrador. Jon describes his life with the two dogs and how much they impacted him. The time this book takes place, the author is going through depression and explains how his dogs helped him through it.

The librarian recommended this book to me and I'm glad she did. The connection between Jon and his dogs was uplifting and heart
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love Jon Katz's books, such as "A Good Dog", and this one was no exception.
Jon and his dogs, Izzy and Lenore, take him down a new path; they become devoted hospice visitors. I had never read about the job before, let alone ever heard of dogs doing it with people for volunteer.
Sometimes sad, but a very inspiring memorable read and true story about the people they help and situations they encounter when working in hospice. Every day brings a new story to tell,so I suggest reading this one, and
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals
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
Apr 23, 2009 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
Feb 15, 2010 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
Oct 07, 2011 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
Dec 24, 2008 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
Jan 20, 2010 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
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hospice, dogs, depression
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
Shazza Maddog
Sep 14, 2014 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
Mar 22, 2009 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
Feb 28, 2012 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
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 04, 2014 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
Oct 03, 2008 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
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 01, 2009 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
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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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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