By Jon Katz

Occasionally, swap comes on 4 legs.In his renowned and broadly praised working to the Mountain, Jon Katz wrote of the energy and aid he present in the big types of his yellow Labrador retrievers, Julius and Stanley. while the Labs have been six and 7, a breeder who’d learn his e-book contacted Katz to claim she had a puppy that used to be intended for him—a two-year-old border collie named Devon, good bred yet high-strung and homeless. Katz already had a whole canines complement—but, as he writes, “Change loves me. . . . It is available in all varieties. . . . occasionally, switch comes on 4 legs.” presently thereafter he introduced Devon domestic. A puppy 12 months exhibits how a guy found a lot approximately himself via one puppy (and then another), whose temperament appeared as diversified from his personal as day from evening. it's a tale of belief and figuring out, of existence and dying, of continuity and alter. it's through turns insightful, hilarious, and deeply relocating.

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He needs somebody to connect to,” Deanne told me. ” She also told me I could change his name—it was a tad Martha Stewart for my taste—but I figured he’d have enough to adjust to. Border collie breeders are notoriously picky, since so many of their weird and energetic animals wind up abandoned or unwanted. I suspect they tend to look either for ranchers with hordes of sheep or stay-at-home oddballs—writers, for example—to take in the rejects. It seemed that when I’d mentioned—during the interminable interviewing any potential border collie owner is subjected to—that Stanley liked to give my butt a nibble when he wanted me to throw his ball, that clinched something for Deanne.

Did I believe in training? Neutering? The couple obviously liked the fact that I worked at home, liked to walk, and had a fenced yard. Even more, they liked my determination to train a new dog thoroughly. So they brought four-month-old Julius up from the kennel. He was delighted to make our acquaintance, licked me and Emma repeatedly, and when I took him in my arms, he fell asleep, his body cradled upside down, his head lolling. He came home with us. A professional trainer named Ralph Fabbo—so calmly authorative that the freakiest, most out-of-control dogs would sometimes wet the floor when he appeared at their front doors—came to my house an hour each week for two months.

I held out my hand, and he licked it, once, very gently. I opened the door and Devon jumped up onto the front seat as if he’d done it a million times. I lowered the front window a bit—he stuck his nose out. Curiosity was my ally here; from inside the van, the airport was more fascinating than terrifying—though when we got to the parking-lot cashier’s booth, he jumped onto the floor and hid. Then he jumped back up, looking at me, then out the window. The wheels were turning: Who is this guy? What is this place?

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A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me by Jon Katz
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