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Download Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm, by Jon Katz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (507 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jon Katz Narrator: Tom Stechschulte Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9781440761201
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Do animals have souls? Some of our greatest thinkers, Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, and countless animal lovers have been obsessed with this question for thousands of years. Now New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz looks for an answer and finds even more questions as he recounts the lives and stories of the residents of his celebrated Bedlam Farm: Rose, his beloved workaholic sheepdog who runs the farm, and an array of gentle donkeys, industrious chickens, docile sheep, obnoxious goats, and a murderous yet loving barn cat.

Do these remarkable creatures have consciences? Do they possess free will and reason? Do they have a sense of self, or an existence in the spirit world? Do they shape their own lives? Or are we projecting onto them traits we want and need them to have, allowing ourselves to be manipulated into trading food and shelter for what we see as unconditional love?

With his signature wisdom, humor, and clarity, Katz relates the stories of the animals he lives with and finds remarkable kinships at every turn. Whether it is Rose’s brilliant and methodical herding ability, Mother the cat’s keen mousing instincts, or Izzy’s canine compassion toward hospice patients, Katz is mesmerized to see in them individual personas and sparks of self-awareness. He marvels, too, at the distinctions between the species, our desire to change and our ability to edit and censor ourselves, and their capacity to live in the now. And yet the differences never keep Katz from fully enjoying, loving, and cherishing his unusual cast of Bedlam Farm characters. Katz’s reflections on this eternal debate will resonate with anyone who loves dogs, cats, or other animals, and who wonders about the spirits that animate them and the deepening hold they have on our emotional lives.

“If no two dogs are alike,” Katz says, “neither is there a universal relationship with them.” Such an observation helps to shine a light on the powerful interspecies connection that is redefining the human-animal bond in our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Jon Katz’s] rich vignettes may just inspire you to take a journey upstate to meet the creatures who call Bedlam home.” 

    New York Daily News

  • “A lyrical yet unsentimental memoir about the bond between people and animals.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “As close as our bonds with animals become, Katz avers, we must recognize and respect how divergent our inner lives are from theirs. And though we must take responsibility for animals, Katz has no doubt that we need them more than they need us.” 

    Booklist

  • “Katz’s anecdotes and ruminations, his pure joy and amazement shine through. Each chapter, whether about dogs or chickens or donkeys or sheep, will engage readers and tug at their heartstrings. An engaging and thought-provoking read.

    School Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 2/13/2014

    " Katz combines great animal stories from life on his farm in upstate New York with philosophical musings on the true nature of the animals on his farm. This was a nice relaxing read that made me really think about my own animal experiences. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heywu | 2/6/2014

    " I have really enjoyed most of Jon Katz's books. This one seemed like a collection of essays written along his the way and I did not enjoy this as much as the other books. This may all be colored because he put down Orson, when I thought he could have found other techniques to manage Orson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Norton | 2/5/2014

    " Another thoughful dog book from Jon Katz. More introspective than his other books, Soul of a Dog examines human-animal relationships as observed on Bedlam Farm and its environs. Izzy's work in hospice, Rose's work with sheep, and even Henrietta the hen's personality traits are represented in well written and insightful essays. And as always, Katz turns a keen eye on himself and his foibles as he chronicles his life on Bedlam Farm. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 1/29/2014

    " I don't always agree with Katz's view on animals, but I do enjoy what he writes about his life with them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paige | 1/23/2014

    " I always enjoy a Jon Katz book. This one definitely had more a philosophical feel to it. It was also nice to read the stories about the other animals on the farm as well as the dogs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 1/21/2014

    " Katz did not disappoint. There were two particularly beautiful and moving stories about different friendships Katz has had. I got to know gentle Izzy and workaholic Rose better than I knew the dog I had as kid. The driving force of the book though was the idea that dogs have this uncanny and unmatched ability to mirror ourselves back to us. Katz owns some of these incredible dogs, who through lots of treats, training, and time have become exactly what he needs them to be, even if he doesn't understand the how or why of it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Genie Bishop | 1/9/2014

    " I was disappointed in this book. I loved the stories about the animals on Katz's farm but I don't care whether Katz or any one else thinks that animals have souls or not. The book went on and on about whether animals have souls. My dogs have souls and don't care what any one else thinks about the subject. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karleen | 1/8/2014

    " Like several of his other books more. This one was a bit of a stretch. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 1/3/2014

    " Another excellent book by Jon Katz featuring the animals of Bedlam Farm. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 12/29/2013

    " I love Jon Katz' books. He has a deep bond with all of the animals he shares his farm with, and writes about them beautifully and, sometimes, hilariously. Anyone who loves animals would love this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne Auckerman | 12/25/2013

    " Okay--interesting animal stories, but the morality was a little strange. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy Hollander | 10/26/2013

    " Fantastic if you're a dog lover. Brought up interesting perspectives on whether animals have souls. I sure think they do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordan | 9/5/2013

    " This book made me see the world differently. It's definitely not for the faint of heart because it gets really deep. But still a great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 3/16/2013

    " The author wrote stories about the animals that lived on his farm. They were interesting stories and some were funny and some adventures. He really enjoys his animals and farm. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barb | 1/6/2013

    " The author manages to avoid the smarmy, emotional dog-story genre by being somewhat analytical about the question: Do animals have souls? Mostly, he's just telling stories in which his animals play a prominent part. It's fun reading and even makes you think a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Kenney | 12/14/2012

    " Great for dog lovers, especially those with border collies and labs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 11/30/2012

    " I have to admit - I skimmed parts of this book, which I don't usually do with a Katz book. However, as usual, he had some good insights on the roles animals play in our lives, the roles we may need them to play and how we need to appreciate them on their own terms, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 10/8/2012

    " I am especially fond of the notion that dogs (and maybe other animals) come into out lives when we need them. WEll, when they need us, too. It's a lovely cosmic balance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Tramontanas | 7/26/2012

    " Some of his writing was a little long winded, and a lot religious. Still couldn't put it down though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Green | 1/14/2012

    " Do animals have souls? Jon Katz writes about this issue. A must read for all animal lovers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 deanne pearson | 12/10/2011

    " A sweet, touching, thoughtful collection sure to speak to the heart of any animal lover or tender soul. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doug Gruse | 11/5/2011

    " Katz has really stretched the whole dog-theme book concept, but I think this collection of essays is pretty interesting. He examines the modern trend of over-emotionalizing animals and questions the dangers of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 11/1/2011

    " Charming and sweet, inhabited by some great personalities, even if they don't technically have souls. Katz spins a good story and sparks some interesting thinking, although conclusions are necessarily a bit thin on the ground. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheri | 6/15/2011

    " Jon Katz engaged me in yet another way in the "Soul of a Dog." This time it was philosphically. Another good Katz read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordan | 3/30/2011

    " This book made me see the world differently. It's definitely not for the faint of heart because it gets really deep. But still a great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 2/22/2011

    " I am especially fond of the notion that dogs (and maybe other animals) come into out lives when we need them. WEll, when they need us, too. It's a lovely cosmic balance. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristin | 6/5/2010

    " I always get sucked in by the covers of Jon Katz's books, but then I start reading and realize I don't care about the science behind animals - I just want to read stories about them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 2/15/2010

    " I don't always agree with Katz's view on animals, but I do enjoy what he writes about his life with them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 2/10/2010

    " very endearing, and encouraging to me right now, in the early days of fostering a somewhat troublesome dog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Autumn | 2/8/2010

    " This is the first book I've read of Jon Katz. I want to read more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 1/30/2010

    " Do animals have souls? Jon Katz writes about this issue. A must read for all animal lovers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 12/30/2009

    " Okay--interesting animal stories, but the morality was a little strange. "

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