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Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me    by John Katz order for
Izzy & Lenore
by John Katz
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jon Katz, the owner of Bedlam Farm and author of A Dog Year, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, A Good Dog and Dog Days, now brings his myriad of fans another tale of canine/human relationships. Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me pulls on the heartstrings as it delves into dark areas of the psyche, relating to depression and death, but is ultimately uplifting.

Katz tells us that his book 'is about small things, like getting a new dog that changes your outlook. And about big things, like having a dog lead you places you never imagined going.' He begins by telling his readers how he and Izzy came together after the border collie was abandoned by previous owners on an isolated farm. Izzy became 'a shadow, a pal and companion, a stealth dog who appears and disappears but remains within a few feet of me. He's always there.'

Katz talks of enlisting himself and Izzy as hospice volunteers, discusses their training for this challenging role, and shares their (at times emotionally harrowing) experiences as they visit patients nearing the ends of their lives in their own homes and in nursing homes in upstate New York. Izzy was a natural. 'The dying were merely people who welcomed him, and all sorts of emotions emerged as they became comfortable with him, ruffled his soft fur, felt his warmth and affection.

Though Izzy is the star of the book, affectionate Lenore, a black Labrador acquired as a puppy, has an important role too. She is 'a proven spirits-booster' as the author works his way through a severe depression, and later becomes a successful canine hospice volunteer too. Have your hankies handy as you read Izzy & Lenore - you'll need more than one.

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