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by Jon Katz

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-345-50268-1
Publisher: Ballantine

For fans of man’s best friend, a collection of insightful, moving and often unforgiving stories about dogs, cats and their people.

There are lots of good books about animals, usually written for children, and a rash of bad books about dogs in particular, written to wring out the widest possible audience. But it’s unusual to unearth a collection of great stories about dogs written for adults. Former journalist and mystery novelist Katz (Lenore Finds a Friend, 2012, etc.) settled comfortably into a gold mine of a niche with his 2002 memoir A Dog Year. With this book, the author brings together 16 stories about pets and people and how they keep each other company. The opener, “Gracie’s Last Walk,” carries on the theme of Katz’ book Going Home (2011), about dealing with the loss of a pet. Another heart-rending story, “The Surrender Bay,” chronicles the day-to-day courage of Emma, a part-time employee of a local animal shelter. One of the best, “Lucky’s Day,” deals virtually not at all with people, but follows the daily schedule of a small brown mutt who is unusually self-aware about The Deal: “It was a trade-off, Lucky cautioned. You got food and shelter and attention, but you gave up much of your natural life as a dog. Most of the time, it was a good deal.” The collection runs the gamut, from a sappy story about a young girl on a mission to connect with a stray, to a gravely elegant piece about a barn cat.

A tissue-box-worthy collection of animal tales.