BOOKS: The Second Chance Dog
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2013: (Actually published on November 20, 2013.)
The Second Chance Dog by Jon Katz Ballantine Books (1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019), 2013. 267 pages, hardcover. $25.00.
The Second Chance Dog may be the last of Jon Katz’ many successful dog stories written from Bedlam Farm in Hebron, New York, on the far side of a couple of hills from the original ANIMAL PEOPLE office near Shushan; Katz in mid-2013 listed his renovated 1862 farmhouse and acreage for sale at $450,000. Katz moved to upstate New York, shortly after ANIMAL PEOPLE relocated, because there he felt “spectacularly disconnected from the world.” But he did not stay disconnected. Looking for barn windows in nearby Queensbury, Katz met a woman named Maria and her dog Frieda, a Rottweiler/shepherd mix adopted from a shelter. That began a new chapter in Katz’s life, both with Maria and with Frieda. Katz felt “something very warm” about Maria, but wasn’t sure he needed Frieda, a dog who didn’t like men or other animals. Frieda meant the world to Maria. Around her, Frieda was a love sponge. Otherwise, she lunged at just about everyone, chased other animals, barked, and growled. Frieda came from an Adirondack breeder who sold guard dogs raised in puppy mill-like conditions. Kept outdoors, subjected to brutal training methods, Frieda received no socialization or veterinary care. Abandoned in the woods, she scraped out a living for almost a year until students and staff at a local community college rescued her. Katz, with his own canine family, fell in love with Maria, but to make the relationship work, Frieda had to become part of the relationship. and there lay the challenge, which Katz addressed with snacks, behavior training, patience, and affection. ––Debra J. White