A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Nov 28, 2006 - Pets
197 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jon Katz's Going Home.

“People who love dogs often talk about a ‘lifetime’ dog. I’d heard the phrase a dozen times before I came to recognize its significance. Lifetime dogs are dogs we love in especially powerful, sometimes inexplicable ways.”–Jon Katz

In this gripping and deeply touching book, bestselling author Jon Katz tells the story of his lifetime dog, Orson: a beautiful border collie–intense, smart, crazy, and unforgettable.

From the moment Katz and Orson meet, when the dog springs from his traveling crate at Newark airport and panics the baggage claim area, their relationship is deep, stormy, and loving. At two years old, Katz’s new companion is a great herder of school buses, a scholar of refrigerators, but a dud at herding sheep. Everything Katz attempts– obedience training, herding instruction, a new name, acupuncture, herb and alternative therapies–helps a little but not enough, and not for long. “Like all border collies and many dogs,” Katz writes, “he needed work. I didn’t realize for some time I was the work Orson would find.”
While Katz is trying to help his dog, Orson is helping him, shepherding him toward a new life on a two-hundred-year-old hillside farm in upstate New York. There, aided by good neighbors and a tolerant wife, hip-deep in sheep, chickens, donkeys, and more dogs, the man and his canine companion explore meadows, woods, and even stars, wade through snow, bask by a roaring wood stove, and struggle to keep faith with each other. There, with deep love, each embraces his unfolding destiny.

A Good Dog is a book to savor. Just as Orson was the author’ s lifetime dog, his story is a lifetime treasure–poignant, timeless, and powerful.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Jon Katz has a great writing style. - Goodreads
The story has a slow pace and lacks humor. - Goodreads
insightful writing about animal/human connections - Goodreads
I just can't tolerate the ending. - Goodreads

Review: A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life

User Review  - Maggie Cooper - Goodreads

How a clueless guy made a troubled dog worse Read full review

Review: A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life

User Review  - Beth - Goodreads

A lovely yet heartwrenching tale of a dog and a man and the work they shared. Be forewarned, this book will make you laugh, remember and want a dog. On the other hand, it will also make you cry, make you angry and make you question your own beliefs about dogs and their place in our world. Read full review

All 97 reviews »



Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Jon Katz writes about technology, media, and culture for Slashdot.org. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife.

Bibliographic information