Going Home by Jon Katz

Dec 262011


Going Home by Jon Katz

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Villard (September 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345502698
ISBN-13: 978-0345502698

In this moving and thoughtful book, Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a devoted companion, and offers comfort, wisdom, and a way forward from sorrow to acceptance.

When Jon Katz first brought Orson home, he couldn’t predict how this boisterous border collie would change his life, most notably by inspiring him to buy Bedlam Farm. Yet for all of Katz’s years as a dog owner, Orson’s death shook him in a deeply profound way. “I was embarrassed by my grief,” he remembers. “What right did I have to fall to pieces over a border collie?”

Drawing on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections, Katz provides guidance and support for those in mourning. By allowing ourselves to grieve honestly and openly, he posits, we can in time celebrate the dogs, cats, and other creatures that have so enriched us. With great compassion, Katz compels us to consider if we gave our pets good lives, if we were their advocates in times of need, and if we used our best judgments in the end. In dealing with these issues, we can alleviate guilt, let go, and help others who are undergoing similar passages.

Full of empathy, insight, and sage advice, Going Home is an invaluable guide and touchstone for anyone who has lost a pet. Jon Katz honors the animals that have graced our lives and reveals their truly timeless gifts: unwavering companionship and undying love.

My feelings about this book are mixed. I do think it would somewhat benefit someone who was losing or had recently lost a pet or having to make the decision to uthenize, but I didn’t agree with everything the author said. I don’t know if he always made the best decisions for the animals he owned, I think he ultimately made the right decisions based what he was feeling. In some cases, I wouldn’t have made the same decision.

Losing a pet is a very painful thing to go through. We get so attached to them that they become more than just pets, they are a part of our family. I know my dog Patches means everything to me. She is my shadow and I would be lost without her by my side. I pray I never have to make the decision of whether to have her put down or not, but if I do, I won’t base it on my own feelings, I’ll base it on what’s best for her.

The book is defenitely a sad read.

  4 Responses to “Going Home by Jon Katz”

  1. I don't know what I would do if my pet was in need of a decision, I know we all cried terribly when our cat died.

  2. Our dog is 16, so I might need this right now, but I don't want to read it.

  3. Hi Vicki,

    We don't have any pets, so I can't really imagine how I would feel in similar circumstances to those the author found himself in, however a close friend has recently had to make the decision to end the life of her 18 year old dog, who was already living with cancer and had started to show signs of some form of dimensure.

    She would have been heart-broken and disbelieving had the vet or anyone else made the suggestion that ending 'Halley's' life would be the best outcome, but it seems that as she was the one to make the decision that his quailty of life was deteriorating so badly and that now was thr right time to end it all, she has been able to deal with the situation much better and the dog, who normally flatly refused to enter the vets room without a fight, apparently went willingly and almost contentedly.

    Who knows…?

    Great review and I hope that you enjoy a happy and healthy New Year of reading.


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