Rose felt the storm coming, smelled snow and heavy air. She remembered other storms, the snow and wind and killing cold. She felt a flash of deep alarm run through her like a bolt of lightning. The hair on her back and neck came up. Sam called for her, but she waited a moment longer before following him inside. – from Rose in a Storm, page 12 –
Sam is facing a huge winter storm on his farm for the first time without his beloved wife Katie. Since her death, he has not been the same. No one has noticed this more than Rose, his loyal working dog. Rose misses Katie, too – she keeps looking for her, confused as to why her scent is everywhere and yet, Katie is nowhere to be found. Without Katie, Sam and Rose have only each other to depend on, and as the first huge flakes begin to fall, accompanied by a steep drop in temperature and a howling wind, their loyalty to each other begins to deepen.
At these moments, he would sometimes look at Rose, who was always watching him, watching the farm, ready for anything, and he thanked God that he had her. He’d thought at first that he was getting just a dog. Now he understood only too well that she had become something else, something more. He did not even want to think of being on this farm alone without Rose. – from Rose in a Storm, page 75 –
Rose in a Storm is narrated almost entirely from the perspective of Rose – a border collie who is completely defined by her heart for her job. her person and the animals she is tasked with protecting. Rose senses things before Sam can possibly be aware of them – the scent of coyotes on the wind, the struggle of a ewe about to give birth, and the ferocity of a storm that will change everything.
Jon Katz has written a novel which is tender, bittersweet, and deeply perceptive. This is a book about a dog, but it is also a book about the relationship between animals and people. Anyone who has loved a dog, will recognize the power of Rose and Sam’s friendship.
Working dogs are not like other dogs – this I know from experience, and Katz aptly describes the mindset of a dog who lives to work. Rose is fierce, loyal, perceptive, intelligent and highly motivated – all traits that characterize the best working dogs. Katz also gives Rose a sensitivity and philosophical outlook that almost humanizes her.
Had Sam been in the farmhouse and looked out, he would have been amazed to see this solitary dog, covered in a coating of white, staring up the hill, giving eye to the wind, the snow, the coyotes, to life and the world, to her choices and her duty. He would have marveled at her responsibility, her loyalty, and her bravery. Rose had never run, never backed down, never failed to get it done. He had said that about her so many times – he bragged about her like she was his child, although never in her presence. It would have been patronizing, even insulting to praise Rose too much to her face. Work was her reward. – from Rose in a Storm, page 179 –
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel which explores themes of loss and grief, aging, and the special bonds between humans and the animals with whom they share their lives. This is a short, quick read that had me captivated from beginning to end. Readers who love stories about animals, or those who have experienced a special bond with a dog, will find Rose in a Storm a warmhearted and enjoyable read.
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