Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review-Soul of a Dog

Recently I read the book, "Soul of a Dog, Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm" by Jon Katz. Katz has published a number of non-fiction volumes, many of which are related to Bedlam Farm, his home in upstate New York, populated with dogs, cats, sheep, cows, donkeys, and chickens. As you can imagine, a menagerie such as this provides a virtual smorgasboard of material for a writer. Katz uses it well.

The book is set up as a collection of short stories that give an interesting read on their own. However, Katz goes one step further by discussing certain questions. Do animals have a conscience? Do they have a free will and reason? Do they have a soul?

While Katz may not have all the answers, he does know his way around a story. I loved hearing about Rose, his independent workaholic border collie. It's clear that Rose has a special place in the author's heart, and it doesn't take long to figure out why.

Then there's Lenore the Labrador's affectionate relationship with Brutus the ram. Unconventional to be sure, but strong and loving all the same.

It's actually hard to choose which story in the book I enjoyed most. Elvis the steer? Mother the cat? Henrietta the chicken? Suffice it to say that I got through the book very quickly, and enjoyed the read.

Don't expect to find ponderous philosophy here. But you will discover simple stories about animals that touch your heart...and your soul.


Judy said...

Le jumping with joy! Not only does the local library have this book, it also has other interesting titles by the same author! I'm heading in on Wednesday! Thanks, Pat!

PS Reminds me a bit of the "All Creatures Great and Small" books and tv series which I adored!

Bandit's Pack said...

I have time in my schedule to read some short stories - I'm going to look for this book! Speaking of "All Creatures Great and Small," I need to check if Netflix offers the series. I was of an age when it aired on TV originally that I didn't appreciate PBS as much as I do now. Thanks for the reminder of that series.

irishoma said...

Hi Pat,
Sounds like a fascinating book.

Twinkietinydog said...

Sounds like a great read-along book for my family. Thanks for breaking it down and recommending it. I would have thought that Mr Katz only wrote about catz had I not read your post.

BECKY said...

Sounds like a book I'd definitely enjoy, if I ever get all my other books read...that I bought on sale when I worked at B&N, etc.!! :-)
I consider my books to be my "hobby" "collection"! Some people collect certains kinds of statues, tea pots, S&P shakers, etc....I collect books!!

Life With Dogs said...

I'll have to try to find time for this - it sounds well worth it.

Dip-Dip and The Bridge said...

I have read a couple of books like this, they are really heartwarming.
I will look out for this one in the shops.

nlindabrit said...

Thanks for an excellent book review, Pat!

BECKY said...

Hey Pat! I'm having withdrawals for another Bogey Blog!!

Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

SOunds like something our mommy would like. Especially if it's in short stories...she tends to forget what she reads very quickly! She always was a great fan of the Lilian Jackson Braun cat books as they are short and move right along. We prefer dog books, personally.
Smooches from pooches,
BabyRD and Hootie

Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

Oh p.s.- Heard anything about your Chicken Soup entry??

We know Marty Becker,DVM and his wifie,Teresa, who have done several of the Chicken Soup animal books. He's the Good Morning America vet and LOVES us pets. If he were any nicer, he'd be a dog!!hehe.