The Second Chance Dog – Jon Katz

The Second Chance Dog – Jon Katz



“Maria loved Disney World because I loved Disney World, the same way I was coming to love secondhand clothing stores, Indian music, and brussel sprouts. We loved what the other loved, with an open heart and soul. Over time, I can to see, we loved almost everything we did together, because we were doing it together. This kind of selflessness, was new to me, and I was grateful to learn it and live it. What, I asked myself, is love, really? I thought about that on that ride, and as we dried ourselves off and looked for popcorn. It is about the other, I decided, not the self.”

I am much more of a fantasy-type reader over anything else. However, I have a huge love for animals and I’ve been trying to branch out a little more. In comes Jon Katz. I’ve read many reviews saying that this book isn’t the best he’s written, more about himself than Frieda, the dog. While I believe that most of those statements are true and that maybe I should have started with a different book, I really enjoyed this one.

There is so much love, and real life in this book, that’s why I kept reading. My favorite parts were of course, the parts about Frieda and the frustration Katz felt trying to train her, love her and make her part of the family.

Training a dog like Frieda would never be an easy thing, I have never had a dog like Frieda, but we definitely had dogs growing up that caused trouble. From Dodge, the gigantic lab, who was way to big and strong for us kids to handle. To Stanley, the Greyhound/Jack Russell Terrier mix who did nothing but run away and listen to only my dad, but only when he felt like it. However, over the years you learn, we had those dogs when I was young. Now, we have the most wonderful dogs, Slapshot, the fuzzy Mini-American Eskimo who is a little sensitive but loves his family and is so bonded to my brother; and Sophie, the little Pomeranian mix who never ceases to love you when you walk in the door. Every dog is different, and in that sense every training tactic is a little different too.

That’s the best part of this book Katz wrote, understand that training Frieda was never going to be the same and training any of the other dogs he had. She was different, and came from a different place and that meant he had to go at her from a new angle.

He also talks about the fact that he’s human and he made mistakes while training her. He yelled at her a couple of times, something he wouldn’t normally do but says he was panicked for Frieda. He gets real, and he isn’t afraid to admit that sometimes it’s hard and frustrating and sometimes you make mistakes. But, in the end, it’s all worth it.

I really did enjoy this book, the only reason that it didn’t get a higher rating was because I would have loved to read about Frieda more, even thought I think he told her story really well. I recommend this to anyone who loves animals, especially dogs. It might just tug at your heart a little.