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

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,549 ratings  ·  283 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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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,549 ratings  ·  283 reviews

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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
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!
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 Silod 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
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
First, I loved the disclaimer in the beginning saying no dogs die in this book. That always wrecks me and sometimes I might choose to read it anyway but it’s great to know about it ahead of time. This book introduced me to Izzy, whom I loved instantly, and Lenore, also irresistible and a “typical” goofy Lab. The main theme in this book involves dark places: Jon’s personal struggle with depression and his amazing involvement as a hospice volunteer with Izzy as the star. Katz’ understanding and sk ...more
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
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
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Surprising! Jon Katz has done it again. By sheer, brutal honesty he's dragged his success and failure and depression and slow recovery out into the light of day, and wound the threads into a gripping story. And central to it all, are the dogs who saved him--Izzy and Lenore. Izzy is a border collie with sad backstory, and their "getting acquainted" period reminded me of my early days with Izzy. My Izzy didn't throw up in the car, though. She pooped everywhere in the house, had recurring diarrhea, ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an unexpectedly delightful book. i had purchased this book quite awhile ago, so I did not 100% remember what it was about. The author delves into his relationship with Izzy, a border collie who was found abandoned, and how he becomes a sought-after hospice care dog. Izzy's complete comfort and flawless intuition when working with the hospice patients allow the author to then focus on the other family members needing respite, or just to talk. Lenore joins us midway through the story as an eb ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 3rd Jon Katz book I’ve read and I loved it as much as the others. He is a wonderful writer and each book deals with a specific aspect of his life. Hospice care is so important and becoming more so as healthcare is rapidly changing. His sensitivity to preserving the dignity of people in general as well as in the process of dying is tender but grounded. Izzy is a beautiful comforting soul and Lenore is just pure joy. Although the first books I read by Jon encompass later periods of his ...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
Judy Wesol
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a good book but it deals with depressing matters. Its focus on the joy of having a dog/dogs for a companion is really what I loved about this book. That connection that you have with your dog/baby is so hard to put into words but the author does a good job. I lost my best friend/dog of 17 years last year and miss him beyond words. I swear he could look at me and see into my soul & he knew me better than any person ever has. Jon Katz gets that - he understands that connection and has als ...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
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I may have selected this book to read just because of that face on the cover. It did not make me want to research becoming a Hospice volunteer. It did make me want to adopt a steer and a couple of baby goats. The book made me smile and it made me weep a bit. I learned some things about depression that I did not know. It is well-written. It is not a sad book it just made me feel things. Therapy dogs and their handlers are such special beings. Hats off to them and to the author.
Wendy E
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very gentle, thoughtful story about the author, his dogs, his experience with depression, and his experience as a hospice worker with his dogs. It is a quiet, peaceful book, filled with heartwarming stories. The history of Izzy broke my heart, and the fact that this man took the time to save him and train him was remarkable. He was then blessed with a faithful companion who saved him in return. I enjoyed this book, and would definitely seek out some of his other work.
Elly Wendy
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
2* The writing was okay, I like the subject matter, but being a dog-lover, I was startled to find some instances of what I consider abuse and these spoiled the book for me. For example, I would never put a new, very young puppy into solitary confinement after removing her from her mother and family, and let her cry all night. Would we do such a thing to an infant?
Maybe in the future I will be able to finish it, but I'm put off for now.
Linda T. Hunt
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I thought this would be a feel-good book; instead it was a very good book that is teaching me to feel. I lost my dog, Clyde, 4 months ago. He was a 12-year-old Lab. I have looked at animals in my life from a different perspective than this author. I loved them, but they were animals. Perhaps my next dog ( yes, I am looking) and I will have a different perspective...thanks to this book and its author.

Verena Ruiz
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hope Simpson
I enjoyed every minute of this book. Jon Katz seems to always make me want to read more of his writings. This book is so much more than just a book about dogs. It's a story of a tough life, a story of coming to the end of life on this earth and the animals that help us along the way.
Jane Thompson
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dog Story

This is good book, one that tells a simple story about a dog's love and acceptance. The author tells the story of his dogs going with him when he volunteered at hospice care. The dogs helped the patients and the author
Anthony Messina
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable author that weaves stories about his life with those of the animals and people he meets. A realistic view of life with depression and the many ups and downs involved in volunteer work for hospice. Highly recommended read.
Leslie Sheldon
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Jon Katz is an excellent writer! In this book he talks of the two dogs that come into his life and enriched it in so many ways. Jon also shared his own personal journey of dealing with depression. A must read!!
Sharon Williams
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
An engaging read, paralleling Izzy's recovery as a feral dog and Katz's recovery from depression. Touching and delicately handled stories about Izzy and Katz's volunteer work in a hospice program are engaging, something I was apprehensive about, as both of my parents were in hospice care.
Melva Clark
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The story of a man and his dogs. If you are interested in Hospice this might be something you would like to read. If you journey with depression this book might interest you. If you love dogs this might be a book for you.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you love dogs, you will like this book. It speaks to the mystical and spiritual side of dogs. So if you can’t accept that, this is not for you. It talks about the hospice patients Izzy visits. So it is not a laugh a minute book. It sometimes is a bit slow moving but it makes you reflect.
Lisa Bricker
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I was disappointed. Lenore was far less than half the story and even though Izzy led, the story was truly about Katz. And Katz himself was disappointingly anthropomorphic (despite constant protestations against just that). I don't know; I guess the cover mis-sold it.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, dogs, 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.
Michelle G
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It really gives you a great overview of the relationship between dogs and their humans. Although difficult to read at times as it portrays animals and how they can influence patients on hospice or near end of life, I really enjoyed it.
Kelly Steinhilper
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book - so refreshing and heartwarming! Man’s best friend!
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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.