BOOK REVIEW

THE NEW WORK OF DOGS - JON KATZ

Jon Katz wrote this book to show how dogs play a major role in our emotional lives.  As part of his study, Katz profiles a dozen cases of people and their dogs in the town of Montclair, NJ.  He also interviewed several psychiatrists.

Some of the cases profiled are:  A lawyer who has a better relationship with his dog than with his own family; Harry, a Welsh corgi who provides emotional strength during a woman's battle with terminal cancer; the "Divorced Dogs Club" where women depend on their dogs to help them start over and Betty Jean, the founder of a rescue organization that has saved more than 500 abandoned and abused pets. 

Katz states that since pets both give and receive affection, they come to function as emotional substitutes.  However, sometimes people become so attached to their pets that they ask too much of them.  Katz mentions the case of a fourteen-year-old Golden Retriever whose cancer had spread to her brain and had been comatose for two weeks.  The owner refused to euthanize the dog stating that she was too emotionally attached to the dog. 

An important point that Katz makes is that we need to make a commitment to a pet.  One woman got a dog to keep her company while going through a bad time during a divorce but when she met someone and got remarried she gave the dog away.

This is an informative book to read.  You don't have to be a dog-lover to like this book.  Everyone will find it interesting.  Jon Katz does an outstanding job of making a case that people need to be more careful when they use pets as human substitutes.  The book is thought provoking and will really make you think if you are a dog owner.  This is one you should add to your reading list!

REVIEWED BY NANCY EATON

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, NANCY EATON

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