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Give a Cheer
Give cheer Give a Cheer

You don't even want to know how many pictures I snapped of this LO! It is still wonky looking, but everything is straight in real life.

I am pleased to introduce you to Izzy. He is one of four dogs that grace the home of author Jon Katz and his wife Maria. Izzy was abandoned on a farm in upstate NY. Though the farm's caretaker watched over him, the conditions were less than favorable. Izzy had seen a vet only once, as a puppy. His coat was matted, his nails curled talons, and he was nearly feral. Izzy's behavior had reached a manic state, as he obsessively patrolled the perimeter of the fenced property, literally wearing a deep trench in the dirt where he ran the fenceline.

Rescue workers asked Jon to consider taking Izzy. He reluctantly agreed (he already had three dogs) and his instincts were right; Izzy was a difficult case and his issues were not minor. Even the car ride to Jon's farm was disastrous, but with a great deal of training and love, Izzy's true self emerged in the safety and serenity of his new home. Jon can pinpoint the exact moment when Izzy became "my dog" and recounts the story poignantly in his book, Izzy and Lenore - Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me.

Izzy has grown into an amazing dog and companion. Everyone loves Izzy and Izzy loves everyone - especially women. Jon says he is partial to blondes!

When Jon became interested in the hospice program, he believed that Izzy had both the temperament and intuitive skills to do that kind of work. As you can see from the photos, Izzy excels in his role as a hospice volunteer. The stories of how he is able to reach people on the edge of life melt my heart. Izzy didn't need any training to do his job; he's a natural. Jon tells how he navigates around wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen tanks, and miscellaneous wires to comfort those who need his reassuring presence. Many of the the people they see had dogs at some point in their life, and just to touch Izzy's fur or feel him nudge their hand sends them into a peaceful, relaxed state.

In the book I mentioned above, Jon shares wonderful stories of Izzy's success as a hospice volunteer. Lenore, the black Lab, is also a hospice dog.

With Jon's permission, I am using his amazing photographs to document his four wonderful dogs. Jon took this photo of Izzy with a dear soul named Marion. She was an Alzheimer patient who had lived most of her life on a farm. Her caretakers at the nursing home said she never smiled and rarely spoke -- until the day Izzy came to visit. To Izzy, Marion told her life story and confided her most intimate thoughts; how hard it is to grow old and be alone. Marion became quite fond of Jon also and "nagged" him about brushing Izzy's coat. Needless to say, Izzy brightened Marion's last days as only he could. Izzy is one of my heroes.

Thank you for looking! -Karen-