The New Work of Dogs
Tending to Life, Love, and Family
By Jon Katz
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780375760556, 272pp.)
Publication Date: June 8, 2004
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In an increasingly fragmented and disconnected society, dogs are often treated not as pets, but as family members and human surrogates. The New Work of Dogs profiles a dozen such relationships in a New Jersey town, like the story of Harry, a Welsh corgi who provides sustaining emotional strength for a woman battling terminal breast cancer; Cherokee, companion of a man who has few friends and doesn’t know how to talk to his family; the Divorced Dogs Club, whose funny, acerbic, and sometimes angry women turn to their dogs to help them rebuild their lives; and Betty Jean, the frantic founder of a tiny rescue group that has saved five hundred dogs from abuse or abandonment in recent years.
Drawn from hundreds of interviews and conversations with dog lovers and canine professionals, The New Work of Dogs combines compelling personal narratives with a penetrating look at human/animal attachment, and it presents a vivid portrait of a community—and, by extension, an entire nation—that is turning to its pets for emotional support and stability in a changing and uncertain world.
Jon Katz has written twelve books—six novels and six works of nonfiction. A two-time finalist for
the National Magazine Award, he has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, and Wired. He is a contributing editor to public radio’s Marketplace and to Bark magazine. A member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, he lives in northern New Jersey with his wife, Paula Span, a reporter for
The Washington Post; their college-student daughter, Emma Span; and their two dogs. Katz is working on his next book, which is about women and dogs. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
“Deserves a blue ribbon . . . [Katz] does a terrific job of examining how dogs are handling their ‘new work’: serving as many a family’s nurturer in chief.”
“[Katz] writes with sensitivity about human relationships with animals.”
“Engagingly bittersweet . . . Katz’s central thesis, that dogs have moved way beyond their past work, is certainly true.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Humorous, compelling, and heartrending, this is a breakthrough book from one of our most talented and perceptive canine chroniclers.”