Dancing Dogs

. October 2012. 256p. 978-0-34550-026-1. 24.
In this first collection of short stories from best-selling author Katz (The Dogs of Bedlam Farm), a barn cat bonds with a farmyard rooster, a socially awkward seventh grader on a class field trip falls in love with an injured puppy, and a woman struggles to bring her deceased golden retriever to the vet via city streets and subway. Clearly, as our pets accompany us through the most difficult of human trials—coming-of-age, divorce, death—they support us while sometimes complicating matters. This is not a lighthearted romp with mischievous puppies—most of the selections here concern heart-wrenching loss and dilemma, with loneliness and isolation the common themes. The stories are hard to read but honestly done, and the most effective selections approach the world from the animal’s perspective (e.g., “Lucky’s Day”; “Barn Cat”).
VERDICT For fans of animal stories who have recovered enough from John Grogan’s Marley and Me to have another good cry (or several).
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