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A Love Story

by Jon Katz

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-53117-9
Publisher: Ballantine

Best-selling author Katz (Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die, 2012, etc.) brings readers the intimate story of falling in love with a woman and her extremely protective pet dog.

"There was me, sixty-one, broke and bewildered,” writes Katz, the prolific author of books about pets and, in particular, dogs. “And there was Maria, a sad, brooding fiber artist in her forties…seeking to find her lost creative soul…and finally there was Frieda, aka “the Helldog,” a Rottweiler-shepherd mix who had been cruelly abandoned.” What starts out as a story of despair—for Katz and Maria, as their respective long-term marriages fell apart, and for Frieda, who was raised as a guard dog and then abandoned only to spend years living in the wild—turns to joy as faith, trust, friendship and love replace fear, extreme panic attacks and an overprotectiveness bordering on dangerous. Nearly 20 years older than Maria, Katz felt a sense of urgency to create a life with her and Frieda, but he tamed his desperate need to love and be loved and learned that infinite patience would finally win the hearts of woman and canine. With Maria, he expressed tenderness and an awareness of her stalwart desire for independence—yet he was persistent in his marriage proposals. With Frieda, hundreds of pounds of beef jerky, steady training and an understanding of the dog's past experiences helped create a bond that allowed Katz to move closer to both dog and the woman he felt was his soul mate. "The poet Rumi says to gamble everything for love if you're a true human being,” he writes. “We did. We are."

Bittersweet in its telling, Katz reminds readers of the importance of human and animal connections.