New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz writes about dogs, farm animals and rural life. "I had dogs for much of my life," he says of his writing career, "but until a troubled border collie landed in my life in New Jersey in 2001, I never gave them much thought. Since then, much of my life has changed, and radically." In fact, since that time Katz has written seven books about dogs, farm animals and rural life, becoming one of the country's most respected writers about dogs and companion animals. Before becoming an author and critic in the late 1980's, he worked at a number of media institutions—serving as a reporter and/or editor at the Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Dallas Times-Herald. In addition, Katz was the executive producer of the "CBS Morning News." Before leaving CBS, he produced a documentary with Bill Moyers called "Big Gamble in Atlantic City."
Katz has written six works of fiction—the novel Sign Off and a mystery series, and eleven works of non-fiction. His work has appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Rolling Stone, Wired, The Bark, Family Dog Magazine, New York Magazine, and the AKC Gazette. He writes about dogs and rural life for the online magazine Slate.com and he is co-host of Northeast Public Radio's monthly broadcast "Dog Talk." He is a member of the American Pet Dog Trainers Associaton (APDT). His books on dogs include A Dog Year, The New Work of Dogs, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, Katz on Dogs, A Good Dog, Dog Days, and IZZY & LENORE.
Katz has written extensively about attachment theory-why we love some species of animal so much and the explosion of companion animals (dogs, cats, horses, fish, birds, etc.) in America today. "Something truly extraordinary is happening between Americans and animals. The more disconnected we become from one another, the more we are turning to animals for love, support, loyalty and companionship. This can be wonderful, but also at times disturbing," he says. "There are times we lose sight of the fact that these creatures are wonderful animals, not little people."
Jon's work with hospice has given him new admiration for his dogs: "I love dogs and respect the work they do, but I never imagined that Izzy would have so much of an impact on the people we came to see in hospice-people preoccupied, struggling, suffering sometimes at the very edge of life. A hospice social worker told me about what some call the 'mistreatment of the dying,' the fact that dying people and their families are often shunned by friends, neighbors, even relatives in a culture that avoids death. There is sometimes a sense of isolation in these families. Izzy and I could help ease that and that is a powerful and meaningful experience for me. Thanks to Izzy in part, I saw more love, courage and compassion in these homes than I often witnessed in the rest of my life."
Katz is married to journalist and Columbia University professor Paula Span. Their daughter Emma Span is a sports writer living in Brooklyn. Katz lives on Bedlam Farm in upstate New York with his border collies Rose and Izzy; his black lab Lenore; his donkeys, Lulu, Fanny, Jeannette and Jesus; his barn cats Mother and Minnie; his steers Elvis and Harold; the cow Luna; roosters Winston and Winston, Jr.; hens; goats; and a flock of sheep. "I enjoy working with my dogs herding sheep," Katz says, "but I wanted to go to another level with them, something involving human beings. I never imagined where my dogs would ultimately take me, but it was certainly to another level, an unexpected journey."
Be sure to visit www.bedlamfarm.com for further information.