By Jon Katz
Occasionally, switch comes on 4 legs.
In his renowned and generally praised Running to the Mountain, Jon Katz wrote of the energy and aid he present in the big kinds of his yellow Labrador retrievers, Julius and Stanley. while the Labs have been six and 7, a breeder who’d learn his booklet 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 dogs complement—but, as he writes, “Change loves me. . . . It is available in all varieties. . . . occasionally, swap comes on 4 legs.” presently thereafter he introduced Devon domestic. A puppy Year indicates how a guy came across a lot approximately himself via one puppy (and then another), whose temperament appeared as diverse from his personal as day from evening. it's a tale of belief and knowing, of existence and dying, of continuity and alter. it truly is by way of turns insightful, hilarious, and deeply relocating.
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Extra info for A Dog Year_ Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me
I love you. You’re home. You’re home for good. ” I stroked his head and neck. “And I’ll make a solemn promise to you. We’ll go find some real sheep as soon as things settle down, and you’ll get to herd them. ” Devon’s whole demeanor had changed. It was as though a different dog had emerged from the battlefield haze. Some cars and more school buses came by. Devon didn’t even give them a look, though we probably provided an odd sideshow for the commuters and schoolchildren, whose numbers were beginning to grow.
Later that day, I returned from walking Julius and Stanley and found Devon waiting for me on the front lawn. He had, I later saw, learned to open the porch screen door with his left paw. It dawned on me slowly that Devon and I had entered upon an epic and intensely personal conflict, a contest of wills and wile made all the more interesting by the fact that only one of the principals understood just how brutal and protracted it was going to be. Devon became bored with trying all the slats, so he tunneled underneath the fence.
We’d take up position about a hundred yards back from the fence. When a truck or car whizzed up, Devon would drop into the border collie herding crouch, tail down, eyes locked on me for some ancient command. ” It was important to sound excited, I figured, or he wouldn’t feel truly useful. The dog would shoot toward the fence like a rocket, then veer right to run parallel to the car or truck, keeping the fence between them. The fence, a tall and sturdy chain-link, ran for a hundred yards or so, and Devon would run to the very end, barking, then race back toward me in a long arc.