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From New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz comes a wise, uplifting, and poignant memoir of finding love against all odds, and the power of second chances for both people and dogs. I had no idea that Frieda would enter my life and alter it in the most profound way, but that’s one of the beautiful things about animals. They change you, and you almost never see it coming From New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz comes a wise, uplifting, and poignant memoir of finding love against all odds, and the power of second chances for both people and dogs. I had no idea that Frieda would enter my life and alter it in the most profound way, but that’s one of the beautiful things about animals. They change you, and you almost never see it coming. In 2007, a few years after purchasing Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, Jon Katz met Maria Wulf, a quiet, sensitive artist hoping to rekindle her creative spark. Jon, like her, was introspective yet restless, a writer struggling to find his purpose. He felt a connection with her immediately, but a formidable obstacle stood in the way: Maria’s dog, Frieda. A rottweiler-shepherd mix who had been abandoned by her previous owner in the Adirondacks, where she lived in the wild for several years, Frieda was ferociously protective and barely tamed. She roared and charged at almost anyone who came near. But to Maria, Frieda was sweet and loyal, her beloved guard dog and devoted friend. And so Jon quickly realized that to win over Maria, he’d have to gain Frieda’s affection as well. While he and Maria grew closer, Jon was having a tougher time charming Frieda to his side. Even after many days spent on Bedlam Farm, Frieda still lunged at the other animals, ran off into the woods, and would not let Jon come near her, even to hook on her leash. Yet armed with a singular determination, unlimited patience, and five hundred dollars’ worth of beef jerky, Jon refused to give up on Frieda—or on his chance with Maria. Written with stunning emotional clarity and full of warm yet practical wisdom, The Second-Chance Dog is a testament to how animals can make us better people, and how it’s never too late to find love.


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From New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz comes a wise, uplifting, and poignant memoir of finding love against all odds, and the power of second chances for both people and dogs. I had no idea that Frieda would enter my life and alter it in the most profound way, but that’s one of the beautiful things about animals. They change you, and you almost never see it coming From New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz comes a wise, uplifting, and poignant memoir of finding love against all odds, and the power of second chances for both people and dogs. I had no idea that Frieda would enter my life and alter it in the most profound way, but that’s one of the beautiful things about animals. They change you, and you almost never see it coming. In 2007, a few years after purchasing Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, Jon Katz met Maria Wulf, a quiet, sensitive artist hoping to rekindle her creative spark. Jon, like her, was introspective yet restless, a writer struggling to find his purpose. He felt a connection with her immediately, but a formidable obstacle stood in the way: Maria’s dog, Frieda. A rottweiler-shepherd mix who had been abandoned by her previous owner in the Adirondacks, where she lived in the wild for several years, Frieda was ferociously protective and barely tamed. She roared and charged at almost anyone who came near. But to Maria, Frieda was sweet and loyal, her beloved guard dog and devoted friend. And so Jon quickly realized that to win over Maria, he’d have to gain Frieda’s affection as well. While he and Maria grew closer, Jon was having a tougher time charming Frieda to his side. Even after many days spent on Bedlam Farm, Frieda still lunged at the other animals, ran off into the woods, and would not let Jon come near her, even to hook on her leash. Yet armed with a singular determination, unlimited patience, and five hundred dollars’ worth of beef jerky, Jon refused to give up on Frieda—or on his chance with Maria. Written with stunning emotional clarity and full of warm yet practical wisdom, The Second-Chance Dog is a testament to how animals can make us better people, and how it’s never too late to find love.

30 review for The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Reed

    I love animal books and i used to love Jon Katz. But this one is more about his divorce and remarriage and is just kind of whiny and self absorbed. he never even mentions his wife's name although they spent thirty years together and raised a child. Instead we get a glimpse of his extramarital affair that turned into a remarriage and all of the excuses he gives for not keeping his commitments. I love animal books and i used to love Jon Katz. But this one is more about his divorce and remarriage and is just kind of whiny and self absorbed. he never even mentions his wife's name although they spent thirty years together and raised a child. Instead we get a glimpse of his extramarital affair that turned into a remarriage and all of the excuses he gives for not keeping his commitments.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sallee

    Well! This book was a bit of a departure from most Jon Katz books. That said, I still loved it. Jon bares his soul about his emotional problems, sometimes making me most uncomfortable feeling like a voyeur watching him falling apart. He meets a woman every bit as frail as he is who owns a shepherd-Rottweiler mix that he can't even get close to and finds himself falling in love with her. She also has emotional problems and the dog, Frieda, has her own issues. This is a love story of two wounded Well! This book was a bit of a departure from most Jon Katz books. That said, I still loved it. Jon bares his soul about his emotional problems, sometimes making me most uncomfortable feeling like a voyeur watching him falling apart. He meets a woman every bit as frail as he is who owns a shepherd-Rottweiler mix that he can't even get close to and finds himself falling in love with her. She also has emotional problems and the dog, Frieda, has her own issues. This is a love story of two wounded people and a very wounded dog who, together heal themselves. Frieda is redeemed as Jon and his now wife, Maria are self-redeemed. Many people had disparaging comments about their "weakness". I found only courage. To share such intimate details takes courage and most people would not be capable of being so open and honest. Everyone deserves a second chance and I am happy that Jon Katz, Maria Wulf, his artist wife and Frieda all got that chance. A people story and a dog story....I found it a wonderful and heart touching read that has lessons in it from which everyone could benefit.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Jon Katz should stick to writing about dogs. I liked thoise parts of this book that were about the dog, but the parts about HIM and his nutty girlfriend, now wife, Maria were boring and annoying. Really Jon, you would divorce your wife of 35 years for this nut with a vicious dog? At least, that is the way he portrayed this woman. I thought she was borderline autistic from his descriptions of her. I'm married to an artist, so I know they can be a little whacked, but really, Maria was beyond whack Jon Katz should stick to writing about dogs. I liked thoise parts of this book that were about the dog, but the parts about HIM and his nutty girlfriend, now wife, Maria were boring and annoying. Really Jon, you would divorce your wife of 35 years for this nut with a vicious dog? At least, that is the way he portrayed this woman. I thought she was borderline autistic from his descriptions of her. I'm married to an artist, so I know they can be a little whacked, but really, Maria was beyond whacky. A quilt maker who makes quilts from old scraps of material, but she hasn't done anything with her art for 10 years....because...?? Well, because she thinks people won't think it's good. And, she doesn't really like to show her art to people. But of course, a true artist is not going to much care what anyone else thinks of her work. A true artist is compelled to make art. God, what a couple of whiners. Even the dog, Frieda. Maria named her after Frida Kahlo. So, am I the only one who wonders why she spelled it Frieda, not Frida? A tiny nit-picky point, admittedly, but still, why? Yep, Jonny boy, stick to writing about dogs. I don't care about your personal life. At all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandy from Alaska Colón

    This book is a memoir about Jon, Maria and Freida the dog all looking for second chances at a better life and love. The story is sweet and uplifting. I love animals, so, I'm a sucker for any success story involving a wayword, dog. A dog most would have given up on. Despite the repetition in the book, it is a good read and quite enjoyable. This book is a memoir about Jon, Maria and Freida the dog all looking for second chances at a better life and love. The story is sweet and uplifting. I love animals, so, I'm a sucker for any success story involving a wayword, dog. A dog most would have given up on. Despite the repetition in the book, it is a good read and quite enjoyable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This is very different from the author’s other books, but I enjoyed it just as much.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I would give this book a 3.5. I have read several books by Jon Katz. "The Second Chance Dog:A Love Story" Is about Frieda the dog pictured on the cover. Jon met Frieda the same time he met her owner Maria. Frieda had been rescued from the animal shelter where she had been for a year. Frieda and Maria bonded but Frieda wanted nothing to do with any other person or animal. This story could have ended here but Jon was smitten by Maria. Both were and the end of their marriages and unhappy. Soon both I would give this book a 3.5. I have read several books by Jon Katz. "The Second Chance Dog:A Love Story" Is about Frieda the dog pictured on the cover. Jon met Frieda the same time he met her owner Maria. Frieda had been rescued from the animal shelter where she had been for a year. Frieda and Maria bonded but Frieda wanted nothing to do with any other person or animal. This story could have ended here but Jon was smitten by Maria. Both were and the end of their marriages and unhappy. Soon both went through divorces. Jon wanted Maria to be part of his life, and Frieda was part of the package. most of the book writes about Jon getting closer to Maria and finding a way to get close to Frieda, not an easy task. frieda had been hurt and betrayed in her past and is distrustful of everyone but maria. the second chance dog is about second chances for dogs and people. will jon succeed in winning over Frieda? will Jon and Maria have second chances with each other? this is a pretty nice read. Jon Katz is always very honest about his love for animals and about the obstacles he has faced with depression and starting over. I liked this book for the most part but i liked a couple of his books a bit better. This one is pretty good as well. I just wished he had stuck to writing about the animals, the main reason I read his books.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cecilie

    It illustrates the problem of rescuing a dog physically but not mentally, and I wish the author had said more about how giving the dog a home isn't enough if you don't make it comfortable in the world... that is my main problem with the book. Almost two thirds of the book is devoted to the author and his relationship with the owner of the dog, Frieda. I liked the parts and musings about the dogs, and the relationship between the people and dogs in the book. I was not particularly interested in lon It illustrates the problem of rescuing a dog physically but not mentally, and I wish the author had said more about how giving the dog a home isn't enough if you don't make it comfortable in the world... that is my main problem with the book. Almost two thirds of the book is devoted to the author and his relationship with the owner of the dog, Frieda. I liked the parts and musings about the dogs, and the relationship between the people and dogs in the book. I was not particularly interested in long musings about how being an artist means that you cannot pay your bills... I was rather annoyed at both of the main human characters, one being manipulative and the other mistaking solitude for independence. I probably would have liked the book of the humans got their shit together during the book, but no, some minor changes in habits, but little real behavioural changes. Almost the opposite of the dog story. Showing how it can be easier to rescue a dog than to rescue yourself and other people....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I got frustrated with this memoir at times as it was about a man, younger woman, and antisocial dog, well, really all of them were antisocial. I guess the bottom line is that love heals all, but I wondered why they would make life so difficult for themselves by trying to make a life with other damaged souls. I eventually fell for them and was rooting for them to make it. I have to admire this devotion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    loretta

    I loved this story for the love, persistence, stamina and survival of both humans and animals. It’s a story surrounded with love amidst the harsh realities of life. I have never read a story by Jon Katz before but I will after reading this one. However I’ll need to take some time to dwell on the wonderful, sad but ultimately triumphant life of Frieda, Jon and Maria. It is a beautiful testament to the hope, love and persistence of Jon’s dream. I’m glad he succeeded. We are all richer for it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I loved this book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This may be one of the most enligtening books on love out there. It was the sweetest love story between Katz, his wife and her dog. It also was in a sense about how Katz learned to love himself in the process. Being a single woman with a strong-willed guard dog, who also happens to have a healthy prey drive, it was easy to see my Ollie throughout this book. In fact, as I’m writing this he is terrorizing someone through the screendoor who dared walk on our street. 🙂 My emotions were all over with t This may be one of the most enligtening books on love out there. It was the sweetest love story between Katz, his wife and her dog. It also was in a sense about how Katz learned to love himself in the process. Being a single woman with a strong-willed guard dog, who also happens to have a healthy prey drive, it was easy to see my Ollie throughout this book. In fact, as I’m writing this he is terrorizing someone through the screendoor who dared walk on our street. 🙂 My emotions were all over with this book. I was laughing, crying and sighing throughout. Jon Katz has once again written a fantastic book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    I loved this story. It is such a touching and beautiful account of the growth to happiness and wholeness of a couple and their dog that needed a second chance. Very happy story!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I haven't read Jon Katz's other dog books, but have always wanted to read at least one. When I was given a chance to read this one I was happy to read a dog story that I knew did not have a unhappy ending. In other words, I knew this dog would always have a home and nothing tragic happened to her before I picked up this book. Those that shy away from dog books for this reason, rest easy. :) This book was really half of what Jon and, his now wife, Maria went through to be together. One of Jon's bi I haven't read Jon Katz's other dog books, but have always wanted to read at least one. When I was given a chance to read this one I was happy to read a dog story that I knew did not have a unhappy ending. In other words, I knew this dog would always have a home and nothing tragic happened to her before I picked up this book. Those that shy away from dog books for this reason, rest easy. :) This book was really half of what Jon and, his now wife, Maria went through to be together. One of Jon's biggest obstacles was gaining Frieda's, Maria's protective dog, trust. I have to admit, I wasn't involved in the story until Jon started unraveling Frieda's past and he gained insight into being a generous person to the people he loves. After this happened, I couldn't wait to read how things progressed with Frieda and Maria. My one complaint is really a general one. Whenever someone, especially dog trainers, adamantly complain and decree that dogs should not ever be anthropomorphized, I usually scoff and then roll my eyes. Why? Because you can always catch them doing just that. In the book, yes, I did catch him several times putting human emotion or reasoning to an animal... and sometimes he even caught himself. I mean I do it all the time, but I don't tell people to "how dare you" not ever do it. I mean, they do have emotion, right? :) Anyhoo... at least this wasn't a major part of this book so it didn't get in the way too much. I give this book 3 stars. For dog lovers you will really enjoy how he never gave up on a dog that seemed determined to never be a part of the farm's life. You will enjoy the dedication he gave to this dog and his, now wife, Maria.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I liked the part about the dog rehab, but the people part was awful. Two whiny adults who get divorced, probably because they have no self esteem. Meet - have panic attacks together, about 250 pages worth. He is on the verge of bankruptcy even though he just bought a farm and a has kazillion Apple doodads, but at 60 whatever years old can't balance a checkbook. She because she seems to know nothing about the world and any kind of technology, and perhaps was living under a rock. I've never read a I liked the part about the dog rehab, but the people part was awful. Two whiny adults who get divorced, probably because they have no self esteem. Meet - have panic attacks together, about 250 pages worth. He is on the verge of bankruptcy even though he just bought a farm and a has kazillion Apple doodads, but at 60 whatever years old can't balance a checkbook. She because she seems to know nothing about the world and any kind of technology, and perhaps was living under a rock. I've never read any of his other books, but he keeps saying how he's trained a bunch if other dogs and written books about it, but he doesn't seem to have a clue about Freida, no where to look for help, or really even like dogs all that much. He has 3 others in the book, but funds it strange that people talk to their dogs and he has to resolve to do so himself? That's not a dog lover! She lives Freida but never in the book does the author show she cared or wanted to help with the dog's behavioral issues? What kind of dog owner us that? And just crates her up and leaves her alone because she can't be by anyone. That is not ok. The overall picture just doesn't fit quite right, and it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Katz compares his story to a fairy tale of three entirely beings, each looking for a second chance at life, at love. Each had been spiraling downward, away from hope. But each had what the others needed. Jon had faced an impending breakdown, disconnection from his family, divorce, and panic attacks prior to speaking engagements. His dogs were able to break through his loneliness and help him keep alive the hope of love. Maria’s marriage was dying. She found in Frieda a companion worthy of trust, Katz compares his story to a fairy tale of three entirely beings, each looking for a second chance at life, at love. Each had been spiraling downward, away from hope. But each had what the others needed. Jon had faced an impending breakdown, disconnection from his family, divorce, and panic attacks prior to speaking engagements. His dogs were able to break through his loneliness and help him keep alive the hope of love. Maria’s marriage was dying. She found in Frieda a companion worthy of trust, one who could protect her from all that frightened. Frieda, Maria’s dog, was meant to work, and work she did---snarling at any and all who might invade Maria’s territory. But it would be Frieda who had a profound effect on Jon, and Jon found a way to return the favor by shattering the barriers in Frieda’s world. Incidents were true, though some names were changed and characteristics embellished. Descriptions were often repetitive, and the story did not unfold in a timeline, but wound back and forth in time. It was, however, a story of warmth and one I’m glad I gave a second chance to see through to the end. I received this ARC free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    A sucker for underdog stories where the animal triumphs, the title, The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story, by Jon Katz really caught my eye. In this story the author was living in upstate New York on Bedlam farm in 2007. His marriage of 35 years was ending, and he was looking to find meaning in his life. Katz meets an artist by the name of Maria Wulf whose marriage of 20 years was also ending. Although the two had felt a definite spark, there was a another hurdle to their relationship. Maria's 4-le A sucker for underdog stories where the animal triumphs, the title, The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story, by Jon Katz really caught my eye. In this story the author was living in upstate New York on Bedlam farm in 2007. His marriage of 35 years was ending, and he was looking to find meaning in his life. Katz meets an artist by the name of Maria Wulf whose marriage of 20 years was also ending. Although the two had felt a definite spark, there was a another hurdle to their relationship. Maria's 4-legged protector was a rottweiler-shepherd mix who had been abandoned and had been living in the wild in upstate New York. The dog, which Maria named Freida was adopted from a shelter. The dog was aggressive and protective of her savior, Maria. So for Jon winning Freida's trust was probably the bigger challenge in the new relationship. There isn't a lot to say about this book except that I thought this story was fairly well written. I enjoyed reading about the transformation of not just a "second chance" for Freida, but for Jon and Maria as well. Much of this book is their story and the difficulties they faced with broken relationships, depression and anxiety.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Barrett

    This love story is about how Jon Katz met his second wife Maria and her ferocious shelter dog Frieda, a rottwieler/shepherd mix. When they first meet Jon is depressed, anxiety ridden and has been separated from his wife for years. Maria is a timid artist, who has lost faith in her ability to be an artist, and her marriage is failing too. Frieda, named after artist Frieda Kahlo, was a stray dog, living by her wits, picked up by a shelter where no one wanted her, until Maria saw her and they saw a This love story is about how Jon Katz met his second wife Maria and her ferocious shelter dog Frieda, a rottwieler/shepherd mix. When they first meet Jon is depressed, anxiety ridden and has been separated from his wife for years. Maria is a timid artist, who has lost faith in her ability to be an artist, and her marriage is failing too. Frieda, named after artist Frieda Kahlo, was a stray dog, living by her wits, picked up by a shelter where no one wanted her, until Maria saw her and they saw a need in each other. When Maria rescues her, Frieda goes into overdrive protecting and guarding her; being hyper-viligent to the detriment of anyone who crosses her path—bad news for Jon who wants to friends with Maria and whom Frieda sees as a threat. Anyone who has lost love and is struggling with trust issues will love this memoir. You’ll enjoy it if you love animals, animal stories, or work with dogs or just plain like a good down to earth story. It’s the 2nd one I’ve read by Jon Katz and I’ve given both books 5 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I picked this up because I enjoyed Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm and because the dog on the front looks a little like one of my dogs. Unfortunately, the book ended up being less about dogs and philosophy and more about the author's divorce and subsequent romance. He came off as more navel-gazing and . . . well, whiny, than he probably intended to. I'll probably still check out some of his other dog books, but I'll steer clear of anything that's this auto I picked this up because I enjoyed Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm and because the dog on the front looks a little like one of my dogs. Unfortunately, the book ended up being less about dogs and philosophy and more about the author's divorce and subsequent romance. He came off as more navel-gazing and . . . well, whiny, than he probably intended to. I'll probably still check out some of his other dog books, but I'll steer clear of anything that's this autobiographical and introspective.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Judy Churchill

    I loved the dog, Frieda. Abused, mistreated and untrained Frieda gets a second chance at life with a family of both humans and dogs. As her mistress finds love and a new life, so does she. The author has a good understanding of dogs and how to train them. Even so Frieda was a challenge. I did not like the story of the author's progression to a new life. I have nothing against a second chance at love after divorce but this story seemed unnecessarily maudlin. I loved the dog, Frieda. Abused, mistreated and untrained Frieda gets a second chance at life with a family of both humans and dogs. As her mistress finds love and a new life, so does she. The author has a good understanding of dogs and how to train them. Even so Frieda was a challenge. I did not like the story of the author's progression to a new life. I have nothing against a second chance at love after divorce but this story seemed unnecessarily maudlin.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marsmannix

    If you, like me, have been curious about the backstory of Jon Katz and his wife Maria Wulf, this is the book. This book is part mystery, part low-grade romance. Using Maria's ferocious dog Freida as both a metaphor and key character, Katz again weaves his magic in his down-to-earth prose. This is a book about second chances: second chances at life and love, and second chances for a "hound of hell" who threatens to blow his burgeoning romance all to pieces. If you, like me, have been curious about the backstory of Jon Katz and his wife Maria Wulf, this is the book. This book is part mystery, part low-grade romance. Using Maria's ferocious dog Freida as both a metaphor and key character, Katz again weaves his magic in his down-to-earth prose. This is a book about second chances: second chances at life and love, and second chances for a "hound of hell" who threatens to blow his burgeoning romance all to pieces.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Mack

    I enjoyed this book and it was a fast read. It is a book about a dog who has trouble fitting in but also about two middle aged people finding themselves with the help of this dog.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Malinda Lawrence

    "Two of the most important words I have ever learned are 'drop it.' Drop whining about the divorce. About money. About the way I was raised as a kid. About my family. About being lonely or sad, or crazy. It doesn't matter really. We all have ups and downs in our lives, we are all afraid sometimes, or struggling, and if we are wise, we move on and just try to do better. I think dogs know this intuitively. You will never hear a dog whine about the past, about being mistreated, about disappointment "Two of the most important words I have ever learned are 'drop it.' Drop whining about the divorce. About money. About the way I was raised as a kid. About my family. About being lonely or sad, or crazy. It doesn't matter really. We all have ups and downs in our lives, we are all afraid sometimes, or struggling, and if we are wise, we move on and just try to do better. I think dogs know this intuitively. You will never hear a dog whine about the past, about being mistreated, about disappointment in humans. They live in the moment, accept their lives, and move forward. This is something they know, but I am just learning." (p. 192). "Finally I understood what I needed to do, what Frieda wanted from me. It was so simple that I had missed it, so easy that I couldn't help looking over and around it, as people are wont to do with dogs. Dogs, in one way or another, have been talking to people for thousands of years, and people have been talking back. It was not really all that surprising that Frieda had a message for me, only that it had taken me so long to listen." (p. 242). "And that's the thing with fear and dogs: it isn't about them; it's about you. I had always approached her as if we couldn't do it, as if I didn't trust her. ...Now I was showing her something else, another feeling. I was trusting her." (p. 243).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erma

    I try to read as many dog-oriented books as possible, many of which are very good, some are excellent, and very few are outstanding: five stars plus. Jon Katz's The Second Chance Dog is exceedingly outstanding! I haven't the extensive vocabulary to adequately express how good this book is. I was only dimly aware that this book is an autobiography of a human and a biography of an exceptional dog. I was hooked from the beginning, not realizing what a treasure I had found. The more I read, the more I try to read as many dog-oriented books as possible, many of which are very good, some are excellent, and very few are outstanding: five stars plus. Jon Katz's The Second Chance Dog is exceedingly outstanding! I haven't the extensive vocabulary to adequately express how good this book is. I was only dimly aware that this book is an autobiography of a human and a biography of an exceptional dog. I was hooked from the beginning, not realizing what a treasure I had found. The more I read, the more engrossing the story. It was one of those rare books that kept me awake until way past my bedtime. In its gripping way, I couldn't put it down. I know I wouldn't have gotten to sleep until I got to the ending. Even at the end, I was invited to view the Bedlam Farm video of Frieda. I couldn't stay awake long enough to do that, but viewed it almost immediately upon awakening in the morning. I apologize for not offering more of a review. I will say that it is smooth: well written, well edited, and well structured. It didn't have the disjointed feel that seem to be prevalent in so many modern books. Of course I'll be reading more of Jon Katz's books, hoping to find the same smooth style and gripping story. I strongly recommend this remarkable book to all.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    This book would've been benefitted from some serious pruning shears. It rambles all over the place, from a fierce, over-protective Rottweiller-Shepherd rescue dog, Frieda, and her owner to the author's divorce, donkeys, book tours, panic attacks (a zillion), loneliness, the Beef Jerky Campaign (initial dog training), then back to Freida and her back story. It's enough to give a body whiplash. This book is about twice as long and half as lucid as it could be. It feels like the author is schitzophr This book would've been benefitted from some serious pruning shears. It rambles all over the place, from a fierce, over-protective Rottweiller-Shepherd rescue dog, Frieda, and her owner to the author's divorce, donkeys, book tours, panic attacks (a zillion), loneliness, the Beef Jerky Campaign (initial dog training), then back to Freida and her back story. It's enough to give a body whiplash. This book is about twice as long and half as lucid as it could be. It feels like the author is schitzophrenic in places. Or in the thralls of "kitchen sink disease"? He can't seem to make up his mind what to focus on. So he just throws in everything. Frieda's story plays out almost as an after-thought, a postscript to the author's romance with the dog's owner, Maria. It comes close to "bait and switch." (A more honest book cover would feature a sprawling farm and a Toyota Yaris). The result is a tedious soap opera-ish memoir long on sentimentality and short on substance, with a generous dose of, "Are we done already?" Disjointed and disappointing. 

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carol Knepp

    Being an author and reading reviews of books where you expose your innermost feelings must not be easy, especially when you have self doubts. I respect Jon Katz for putting himself out there for all to read. His questions and searches must be valuable for some readers, but... ... I love reading about his dogs. It is his misfortune that so many of us pick up a Katz book to read about Lenore or Frieda or any of his other critters and not about his personal doubts. In The Second Chance Dog Katz comp Being an author and reading reviews of books where you expose your innermost feelings must not be easy, especially when you have self doubts. I respect Jon Katz for putting himself out there for all to read. His questions and searches must be valuable for some readers, but... ... I love reading about his dogs. It is his misfortune that so many of us pick up a Katz book to read about Lenore or Frieda or any of his other critters and not about his personal doubts. In The Second Chance Dog Katz compares his evolution to his future wife's dog and built the storyline around that. That part works but there's too much of his story. I was searching for some great anthropomorphism. The book is well done, just not what I was hoping to find. My apologies to Jon Katz for wanting a different story. The world today is crazy (coronavirus) and a heartwarming dog tale would go a long way. Still, the book ended as it should, even if a little rushed. I've read every Jon Katz and probably will continue to, but I read them for the animal stories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Morefield

    I loved this book. I have been feeling blessed w/my book choices of late. I have read some of Jon Katz's books prior to this one, but this was my favorite. The others rated 4 stars for me, but this was definitely a 5. The title is a double entendre meaning Freida, an abused guard dog and himself, who found love after a divorce from his first wife after 35 yrs. of marriage were both second-chance dogs. I am always amazed at the cruelty of people and at the heroic people who step in to rescue dogs I loved this book. I have been feeling blessed w/my book choices of late. I have read some of Jon Katz's books prior to this one, but this was my favorite. The others rated 4 stars for me, but this was definitely a 5. The title is a double entendre meaning Freida, an abused guard dog and himself, who found love after a divorce from his first wife after 35 yrs. of marriage were both second-chance dogs. I am always amazed at the cruelty of people and at the heroic people who step in to rescue dogs. Such an amazing dog and who was fortunate to land in the lives of such amazing people. If you love dogs; this is a great story. I appreciated this story because every word was needed but there was not any superfluous writing. I think that shows a masterful writer. This story was definitely written from the author's heart. His connection w/this story as the author really connected to me as his reader. A very worthy read (and I got it on sale through bookbub for $1.99).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    It took me a long time to get through this, mostly because I fell into a reading slump, but also I was cross at the author for saying he didn't believe dogs had souls. However, toward the end, I believe his tune changed a bit. This is a superbly-written novel about second chances for both humans and dog. This really is a love story; the author tells about how he fell for Frieda's owner, Maria, as well as Frieda herself -- and Frieda, who'd had a very rough beginning, was difficult to love for a l It took me a long time to get through this, mostly because I fell into a reading slump, but also I was cross at the author for saying he didn't believe dogs had souls. However, toward the end, I believe his tune changed a bit. This is a superbly-written novel about second chances for both humans and dog. This really is a love story; the author tells about how he fell for Frieda's owner, Maria, as well as Frieda herself -- and Frieda, who'd had a very rough beginning, was difficult to love for a long time. I was sad to learn that Frieda passed away on February 19, 2015, but was glad she lived out her remaining years in a warm, loving home. I recommend Googling "Bedlam Farm Meet Frieda", and watching the 5-minute video of Frieda, Lenore, and Red (Rose & Izzy had passed in 2011); she really was a massive dog.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I consider myself a Jon Katz fan. However, I did not find myself loving this book. While on the one hand, Jon disclosed himself at his most vulnerable, which could have been compelling to a fan, it mostly came off as self-absorbed. Tracing Frieda’s roots provided some genuine insights, but much of the rest of the book re-hashed tired themes. The prolonged portrayal of Frieda’s perspective throughout her wilderness sojourn was a stylistic technique which flopped for me. To exclude the rehabbed do I consider myself a Jon Katz fan. However, I did not find myself loving this book. While on the one hand, Jon disclosed himself at his most vulnerable, which could have been compelling to a fan, it mostly came off as self-absorbed. Tracing Frieda’s roots provided some genuine insights, but much of the rest of the book re-hashed tired themes. The prolonged portrayal of Frieda’s perspective throughout her wilderness sojourn was a stylistic technique which flopped for me. To exclude the rehabbed dog at the book’s pinnacle seemed to offer a conclusion contrary to what he has worked for throughout the book and had ostensibly concluded. As stated, I am a fan of much of his writing but seriously considered not finishing this volume.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Great Story When I bought the book I thought it was a book of a dog. The book is beyond that, show the love, commitment, respect to the person you love. At the beginning of the book I did not understand that part, I want more of the dogs and less of the human relationship, but the story turn and the challenge of the dog is the great achievement of the author. I love how the story changed and developed in a great human and dog relationship. Yes, everybody deserve a second chance and that chance re Great Story When I bought the book I thought it was a book of a dog. The book is beyond that, show the love, commitment, respect to the person you love. At the beginning of the book I did not understand that part, I want more of the dogs and less of the human relationship, but the story turn and the challenge of the dog is the great achievement of the author. I love how the story changed and developed in a great human and dog relationship. Yes, everybody deserve a second chance and that chance requires a lot of work trust and commitment for any relationship. I like the ending totally unexpected.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Although this book was interesting, it was almost more about the author and his problems/challenges than it was about the dog. That he would even consider taking on the training of this dog, which most people (even dog many trainers) would have given up on, says a lot about his objective and commitment. I did think, though, that someone who himself is not in control should be taking on another project which would entail getting another being under control. It seemed like a particularly bad fit. Although this book was interesting, it was almost more about the author and his problems/challenges than it was about the dog. That he would even consider taking on the training of this dog, which most people (even dog many trainers) would have given up on, says a lot about his objective and commitment. I did think, though, that someone who himself is not in control should be taking on another project which would entail getting another being under control. It seemed like a particularly bad fit. However, he persevered in everything and eventually was able to get everything he wanted: his finances under control, marry the woman he loved, and train Frieda to an acceptable level.

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