Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me – Jon Katz

I don’t claim to be exclusively a cat or a dog person, as I am, in fact, both. Indeed, I have lived with multiples of each in my lifetime and enjoyed those relationships very much, though some were more challenging than others. But death has taken its toll and I no longer care to have my heart wrenched again by the departure of a canine or feline friend. Be that as it may, I can still experience those relationships vicariously through John Katz, as long as no dogs die.

Izzy and Lenore, a border collie and a Labrador retriever, are the main dogs in the story, but they are not the only characters, as the title alludes. The story is really about Jon Katz’ experience as a hospice worker and his struggle with depression, which would not be complete without the inclusion of the dogs that served with him in his work, and comforted him in his depression, or if not comforted, at least helped him to deal with it.

At a time in my life where hospice care has more relevance than it ever did, I was touched by his descriptions of his experiences. It really made me think about that time when we all come to an end, how we choose to deal with it, and how it affects those around us. I hope that if I ever need a hospice worker to call on me, that he will bring a dog, too.

Depression has been no stranger to me, so I could relate to Mr. Katz in that regard, though I don’t think I have ever been as affected by it as he was in this story. Perhaps it was the depression that many of us face as we come to consider the more mature years of our lives, and the inevitable and eventual departure from it. In any event, not only do no dogs die, but the author makes it through his depression, perhaps wiser for it.

I don’t kow what you would be expecting in a “dog book,” but if you have ever lived with a dog, you will be able to appreaciate both Izzy and Lenore, and may even find yourself wishing for such a relationship again. I know I did.

Finished 5/12/18