By Jon Katz
Occasionally, switch comes on 4 legs.
In his well known and generally praised Running to the Mountain, Jon Katz wrote of the energy and help he present in the large varieties of his yellow Labrador retrievers, Julius and Stanley. whilst the Labs have been six and 7, a breeder who’d learn his publication 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 types. . . . occasionally, swap comes on 4 legs.” presently thereafter he introduced Devon domestic. A puppy Year indicates how a guy stumbled on a lot approximately himself via one puppy (and then another), whose temperament appeared as various from his personal as day from evening. it's a tale of belief and knowing, of lifestyles and loss of life, of continuity and alter. it's via turns insightful, hilarious, and deeply relocating.
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Extra info for A Dog Year_ Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me
Border collies dislike nothing so much as enforced idleness. They need to come along, to see things and go places, chew stuff, run around, dig holes, keep a close eye on all comings and goings. They have intellects, and in the absence of something that interests them, they’ll find unfortunate hobbies. Devon could already open cabinets and doors almost at will, and dig a bomb-sized crater in minutes. If I couldn’t come up with tasks for him, he’d grow neurotic and destructive, and then my wife might, too.
Was it even really possible? It was time to head for upstate New York, to my cabin, where dogs could indeed roam freely, where Julius had honed his Zen-like concentration to new levels, where Stanley could chase balls and toys right into lakes and streams with wild glee. We’d have male-bonding time together, the four of us. Getting ready for the long drive, I put Devon in my ten-year-old Trooper and drove to the neighborhood shopping area for provisions: bread, milk, cash, a sandwich so I could eat lunch at a New York State Thruway rest stop without leaving the dogs in a hot car.
In fact, I thought, I’m nuts for battling with this screwed-up dog. Devon wore an expression of deep concentration. He was fearless about disapproval and physical punishment, though he did seem interested in an explanation. He was able to do anything I wanted, but really, why should he? Merely performing held no particular appeal. Was there a point? How could I get through to him that this wasn’t a silly command in an obedience event, that this meant the difference between his living with us, being my dog, and not?
A Dog Year_ Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me by Jon Katz