The Dogs of Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz
An Adventure with Sixten Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me

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Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jon Katz's Going Home.

“Dogs are blameless, devoid of calculation, neither blessed nor cursed with human motives. They can’t really be held responsible for what they do. But we can.”
–from The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

When Jon Katz adopted a border collie named Orson, his whole world changed. Gone were the two yellow Labs he wrote about in A Dog Year, as was the mountaintop cabin they loved. Katz moved into an old farmhouse on forty-two acres of pasture and woods with a menagerie: a ram named Nesbitt, fifteen ewes, a lonely donkey named Carol, a baby donkey named Fanny, and three border collies.

Training Orson was a demanding project. But a perceptive dog trainer and friend told Katz: “If you want to have a better dog, you will just have to be a better goddamned human.” It was a lesson Katz took to heart. He now sees his dogs as a reflection of his willingness to improve, as well as a critical reminder of his shortcomings. Katz shows us that dogs are often what we make them: They may have their own traits and personalities, but in the end, they are mirrors of our own lives–living, breathing testaments to our strengths and frustrations, our families and our pasts.

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm recounts a harrowing winter Katz spent on a remote, windswept hillside in upstate New York with a few life-saving friends, ugly ghosts from the past, and more livestock than any novice should attempt to manage. Heartwarming, and full of drama, insight, and hard-won wisdom, it is the story of his several dogs forced Katz to confront his sense of humanity, and how he learned the places a dog could lead him and the ways a doge could change him.
 

About Jon Katz

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Jon Katz has written twenty-five books, including works of nonfiction, novels, short stories, and books for children; he is also a photographer. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Rolling Stone, and the AKC Gazette and has worked for CBS News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He lives on Bedlam Farm, in upstate New York, with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf, and their dogs, donkeys, barn cats, sheep, and chickens.
 
Published October 5, 2004 by Villard. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Self Help. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

The New York Times

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Picture books about pets and working animals.

May 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An A...

Publishers Weekly

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Katz, whose books A Dog Year and Running to the Mountain earned him many faithful, dog-loving readers, here channels James He

Aug 30 2004 | Read Full Review of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An A...

Book Reporter

In THE DOGS OF BEDLAM FARM, Katz chronicles his first nine months.

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An A...

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