Katz wrote this book to show how dogs play a major role in our
emotional lives. As part of his study, Katz profiles a dozen
cases of people and their dogs in the town of Montclair, NJ. He
also interviewed several psychiatrists.
Some of the cases
profiled are: A lawyer who has a better relationship with his
dog than with his own family; Harry, a Welsh corgi who provides
emotional strength during a woman's battle with terminal cancer; the
"Divorced Dogs Club" where women depend on their dogs to help them
start over and Betty Jean, the founder of a rescue organization that
has saved more than 500 abandoned and abused pets.
Katz states that since pets both give and receive
affection, they come to function as emotional substitutes.
However, sometimes people become so attached to their pets that they
ask too much of them. Katz mentions the case of a
fourteen-year-old Golden Retriever whose cancer had spread to her
brain and had been comatose for two weeks. The owner refused
to euthanize the dog stating that she was too emotionally attached
to the dog.
An important point that Katz makes is that
we need to make a commitment to a pet. One woman got a dog to
keep her company while going through a bad time during a divorce but
when she met someone and got remarried she gave the dog
This is an informative book to read. You don't
have to be a dog-lover to like this book. Everyone will find
it interesting. Jon Katz does an outstanding job of making a
case that people need to be more careful when they use pets as human
substitutes. The book is thought provoking and will really
make you think if you are a dog owner. This is one you should
add to your reading list!
REVIEWED BY NANCY EATON
NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, NANCY