Jon Katz

Jon Katz

New York Times Bestselling Author

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • The New Writer
  • The Real World of Real Animals
  • Inside The Fear Machine: living a meaningful life in modern America
  • The Blog. Creativity, Empowerment, Survival.
  • Publishing Is Changing. Changing Our Story


“Katz’s world-of animals and humans and their combined generosity of spirit-is a place you’re glad you’ve been.”-The Boston Globe

“Katz proves himself a Thoreau for modern times as he ponders the relationships between man and animals, humanity and nature.”-Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“With wisdom and grace, Katz unlocks the canine soul and the complicated wonders that lie within and offers powerful insights to anyone who has ever struggled with, and loved, a troubled animal.”-John Grogan, author of Marley & Me

Jon Katz has written twenty-two books: eight novels, one collection of short stories, and thirteen works of nonfiction-including Soul of a Dog, Izzy & Lenore, Dog Days, A Good Dog,The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, and The Second Chance Dog. Katz is also a photographer and the author of two children’s books, Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm and Lenore Finds a Friend. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Rolling Stone, and the AKC Gazette. He has worked for CBS News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Katz lives on Bedlam Farm in upstate New York with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf; his dogs, Lenore, Frieda, and Red; his donkeys, Simon, Lulu, and Fanny; and his barn cats, Mother and Minnie.

No one brings to life the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs like New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz. He has warmed our spirits with enchanting tales and keen observations of his animal menagerie-the dogs, sheep, chickens, and other residents of Bedlam Farm.

Bedlam Farm blog


Jon Katz has written twenty-two books: eight novels, one collection of short stories, and thirteen works of nonfiction-including Soul of a Dog, Izzy & Lenore, Dog Days, A Good Dog, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, and The Second Chance Dog. Katz is also a photographer and the author of two children’s books, Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm and Lenore Finds a Friend. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Rolling Stone, and the AKC Gazette. He has worked for CBS News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


THE SECOND CHANCE DOG (Memoir, 2013)
From New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz comes a wise, uplifting, and poignant memoir of finding love against all odds, and the power of second chances for both people and dogs. In 2007, a few years after purchasing Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, Jon Katz met Maria Wulf, a quiet, sensitive artist hoping to rekindle her creative spark. He felt a connection with her immediately, but a formidable obstacle stood in the way: Maria’s dog, Frieda. A rottweiler-shepherd mix who had been abandoned by her previous owner in the Adirondacks, Frieda was ferociously protective and barely tamed. But to Maria, Frieda was sweet and loyal, her beloved guard dog and devoted friend. While he and Maria grew closer, Jon was having a tougher time charming Frieda to his side. Armed with a singular determination, unlimited patience, and five hundred dollars’ worth of beef jerky, Jon refused to give up on Frieda-or on his chance with Maria. Written with stunning emotional clarity and full of warm yet practical wisdom, The Second-Chance Dog is a testament to how animals can make us better people, and how it’s never too late to find love.

DANCING DOGS (Stories, 2012)
With his signature insight and gift for storytelling, Katz shares sixteen stories about one of life’s most unique relationships: In the title story, a housekeeper loses her job, but discovers her four-legged “children”have some toe-tapping talents that just may get the whole family back on its feet. In “Puppy Commando,”a shy grade-school outcast forges an instant connection with a beagle puppy she meets at a shelter-and risks everything to keep him. “Gracie’s Last Walk”features a woman who must find a way to say goodbye to her beloved golden retriever-but ends up saying hello to someone unexpected. “The Dog Who Kept Men Away”shows that not all humans pass the “sniff”test when it comes to canines who possess an excellent judge of character. And in “Guardian Angel,”a widower going through a painful transition finds the greatest comfort in the unlikeliest of sources-a funny-looking pug named Gus. Whether sitting, staying, and rolling over, in the barnyard, shelters, or home, sweet, home, the creatures in Dancing Dogs are genuinely inspiring and utterly memorable.

RUNNING TO THE MOUNTAIN (Memoir, 2000)
Jon Katz, a respected journalist, father, and husband, was turning fifty. His writing career had taken a dubious turn: his wife had a demanding career of her own, his daughter was preparing to leave home for college, and he had become used to a sedentary lifestyle. Wonderfully witty and insightful, Running to the Mountain chronicles Katz’s hunger for change and his search for renewed purpose and meaning in his familiar world. Armed with the writings of Thomas Merton and his two faithful Labradors, Katz trades in his suburban carpool-driving and escapes to the mountains of upstate New York. There, as he restores a dilapidated cabin, learns self-reliance in a lightning storm, shares a bottle of Glenlivet with unexpected ghosts, and helps a friend prepare for fatherhood, he confronts his lifelong questions about spirituality, mortality, and his own self-worth. He, ultimately, rediscovers a profound appreciation for his work, his family, and the beauty of everyday life–and provides a glorious lesson for us all.


from “Dancing Dogs” (story excerpt)

The corgis were still doing their dancing thing, and Kara laughed. She clapped her hands and stomped a foot, and the corgis were all up on their hind legs, dancing around her in a circle, barking.

Greg lauged. “You ought to be in a circus act,” he said, vanishing through the front door.

Greg liked to say that she liked him just fine, but she loved the dogs. Sometimes, she would take her boom box out in the yard on warm nights and get the dogs to dance with her. The neighbors loved the show, coming over with their kids to watch. The dogs danced in circles, jumping up and down, hopping back and forth. They danced in a row, in sync, like they were trained in Vegas. On command, the corgis would circle her and go up on their hind legs, spinning around while she tossed treats in the air. They especially loved to dance to Latin, country, and rock – music filled with percussion and fast tempos.

from Rose in a Storm (novel excerpt)

Rose knew -though Sam did not -hat there was a coyote den across the road in the woods, practically in the shadow of the farmhouse.

She ran down to the road beside the farmhouse. She never stopped to look for cars or trucks, which only registered when she heard their sound. When they did get her attention, she herded or chased, then tried to run them off.

Sam was always excited and unhappy when she was near the road, yelling at her to come back, or to stop when she chased after cars and trucks. She did not understand his alarm. Rose was attunded to Sam, and obeyed almost all of his commands instantly, but this was one command she often disregarded. Her instincts overwhelmed her experience, even her judgement.

from The New Work of Dogs (memoir excerpt)

Why do people love their dogs?

Evidence of this affection is ancient: fossils show a relationship between humans and wolflike canines half a million years ago. The domestication of dogs apparently dates back at least 12,000 years, when a puppy was buried in the Middle East in a coffin with a human, who was positioned with his hand around the dog.

But dog ownership is puzzling in a Darwinian sense, because it seems so one-sided: we feed and shelter them, but what, precisely, do they do for us? So many other animal species are dying off, suffering from human greed, cruelty, or mere lack or interest; why are we so devoted to this one?

from A Dog Year (memoir excerpt)

He was a two-year-old border collie of Australian lineage, well-bred but high-strung, and in big trouble. He had been shown at obedience trials in the Southwest. But something had gone very wrong with this arrangement and his breeder had taken him back and was working to find him a home. He needed one badly, she told me. That was all I knew about Devon when I drove to Newark Airport to pick him up.

I already had two sweet dogs and I had plenty of non-dog-related responsibilities as well. I wasn’t particularly keen on taking in a third dog.

from Running to the Mountain (memoir excerpt)

When it comes to change, I’m not a detached observer; I’m a partisan.

It can happen: human beings can look inward, face the realities of their existences, and-sometimes-alter, enrich, or transform the circumstances under which they live.

They can dream, and-sometimes-they can pursue and realize their visions.

Content for the tab Interviews & Articles