Saturday, January 15, 2011

Author Jon Katz

Jon Katz has written an amazing series of books that chronicle his transformation from dog loving city dweller to dog loving farm owner living in the Vermont countryside. He talks about our amazing relationship with dogs, his own quirky, loyal, smart-as-a-whip dogs, and how the dogs and his move helped him deal with a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, and eventually, a divorce. This man was suffering, and had health issues besides.

In order to find a link for you to Jon Katz in the last post I found myself on his beautiful website for the first time, where he journals (sometimes many times a day) about farm life and displays his stunning photographs. (You can also see more about his books and his dogs here.) I ended up spending most of the evening reading his posts and discovered that he has gone through an amazing transformation. And even found a new love. He writes:

"My own experience with fear began many years ago, but came to a head when I broke down a few years [ago], an experience I partially shared on the blog. Since then, I have gone many miles and to many people and to a lot of different places  in my search to understand fear and move beyond it – therapy, medical doctors,  analysts, pills, music, friends and family,  meditation, massage, Quaker Meeting, Presbyterian Church, Zen Centers, poetry, acupuncture, spiritual counseling. I am getting somewhere. I am going to see myself. It’s inexpensive and effective.

Through spiritual counseling, I have come to understand how my mind works. How it evolved into a fear-scanning and anxiety machine which sometimes served me well, sometimes not. I have lived in lament and drama. No more drama. No squawking about snow, whining about bills or the state of publishing, living out of fear and anger to the normal exigencies of life. When you stop telling that story out loud, the mind calms down. That is what is happening to me."

Jon Katz takes extreme delight in his dogs and the many walks they take each day in the Vermont countryside. I was especially taken with this sentiment about this magical and private time:

"As I work my way towards a spiritual life, the morning sky, my daily walks, are my Church, my mass, my call to awakening. Each day I say my prayers, when I look up at the sun soaring over the Vermont hills, and receive the call to life and my story. Love, not loneliness, empathy, not anger, calm, not fear, hope, not despair."

Beautiful words. Beautiful website. Check it out.


  1. I picked up 1 of his books at the Salvation Army thrift store to give my husband for Christmas--because he likes dogs and it was called The Dogs of Bedlam Farm. Gil read right through it and was done by the day after Christmas. He then took it to church to lend it out, and someone recognized the author and grabbed it up. I will have to give it a read when it comes home again. I will also tell Gil about the website.

  2. Sarah -

    Glad you found this of interest. You might want to direct Gil to Katz's books in chronological order. It's interesting to see his path along this journey. Also, in the book where he first adopts a border collie (that may be "A Dog Year") the accounts of what this dog manages to do is hysterical.

  3. I just finished A Dog Year and naturally am interested in everything about Jon Katz. He always skims right over what happened to his ankle, then mentions his left leg is totally disabled. Would like more info instead of glossing over these mentions. Was not surprised he is now divorced from Paula, as he was always gone with his dogs.

    1. I'm trying to catch up with his life chronologically. The last book I read was Izzy and Lenore. Now I see he is divorced, remarried, and moved to Massachusetts.
      Can anyone put the books in order? Maybe I'll write on his facebook page:)