7 April

A Very Special Day: My Books Program Gets A Helper, A Helldog Finds A Home, My Meditation Class At The Mansion Resumes Tomorrow.

by Jon Katz

Today was a sweet special day.

Delilah, my young Amish neighbor has joined my book dispending campaign and has found a number of Amish friends who love to read and need some books.

I pull up to the shed, and we talk books. She also likes getting books for people.

She has two shy friends in the Amish community who don’t know me but who have heard I will bring books if asked.

Delilah and I had the nicest meeting, her looking over my shoulder as I searched online for books that her cousins and friends might like.

She doesn’t search online, but she was content to watch me, guide me, and chide me when I got a name or spelling wrong.

I see she loves her life, she loves sitting in the shed most of the day selling cookies, bread, pies, and necklaces.

We have the nicest connection.

After we were done, and I gave her my three Wendell Berry Books for her father Moise – The Farm, What Are People For, and the Art Of Loading Brush. I also got two Black Stallion books for her brothers and an Amish romance for her mother.

I’m curious to know what the boys think of the Black Stallion series.

As always, Delilah urged me to come to the baked goods shed and take some food in exchange for the books. I just couldn’t do it. The idea of taking money for the books, especially from children, just gets stuck in my throat.

I did buy a loaf of wheat bread for $4.

We will do some good together. She is impressive and loves to read.

Moise wasn’t home when I stopped by, we are trying to get together to talk but both of us have been busy, we wave to each other as he passes by on his horse and carriage.

This is a different kind of friendship, I’m very comfortable with it. I’m discovering later in life that there is a shyness in me that I hide easily.

Earlier, more good news.

I went to WBTN for my radio show – now at 2 p.m. Wednesday and I was very happy with the broadcast.

People were calling, Maria called in to talk about our new lamb and the fight to save him and there were more calls than I could handle – five or six people I think including one from Iowa, another from Boston, another from Virginia.

Not a swarm, but a positive step.

I was happy with the calls and the talks. I have some homework.

The show was so busy I didn’t get to talk about barking dogs or how we gauge the intelligence of dogs.

Next week, 2 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, April 14th. The call-in number is 802 442-1010. Smart and interesting callers today, thank you.

You can hear the show live by going to WBTNAM.org and clicking on “live.” It’s quite simple, you don’t really even need an app.

I love Cynthia Daniello’s calls. I’ve asked her to call every week for Edgar reports.

She is in her 80’s and moves by wheelchair but has eagerly adopted a grumpy, deaf, and sometimes aggressive Chow/Corgi mix named Edgard.

Most of us would have tossed Edgar out by now but she is committed to working with him, and she calls every week with updates.

Lucky Dog Edgar, a Hellion, deaf and protective to boot.

She is a remarkable woman and I love speaking with her.  A number of incredibly stupid rescue groups refused to let her adopt a dog because of her age, a decision that is outrageous and out to be illegal.

Ageism is right up there with racism as something that ought to be fought at every turn. Countless older dogs languish in crates and die in them because of narrow-minded and ignorant rescue rules.

They can easily make arrangements for the dogs before they die.

The first thing Edgar did when he came home was bite her on the hand when she reached for his food bowl.

Then she learned he was deaf. Maybe that was why nobody wanted to adopt him.

Then he went after her rescue feral cat Ginger, who leaves right out front of her apartment in a special cat house. Then he began barking at everything that moved outside the apartment.

Edgar and Ginger are pals now, and Cynthia, a former vet tech, handles his food safely and often.

Rather than turn Cynthia down, the local shelter wouldn’t even charge her for taking him off their hands. Her daughter nearly refused to let him in the car.

Cynthia stuck to her guns, as she always does. I wouldn’t wish to tangle with her.

Edgar has settled down quite a bit, and Cynthia loves him very much. She is a strong and determined person and a true animal lover. She lives in an elder care facility in Virginia, I’ve never met her except on my radio show.

The next Rubicon to cross is guard barking. I’m on it.

Cynthia loves to get e-mail: her address is [email protected]. I think she needs to understand how special she is.

Also, Maria is thrilled with her new simple sewing machine. That makes me happy, too. And it was a gorgeous day. I love being back at work in the Mansion, tomorrow I’m bringing a load of scrubs and some meditation necklaces for my meditation class.

It’s just ten minutes long, and Zinnia is coming.  We sold out an Amazon Mansion Wish List and I bought a few hundred dollars worth of makeover and nail equipment, the residents are having a blast working on themselves.

I took this shot of an Amish carriage this afternoon. I just love taking photos of these carriages, and they are now asking me for prints of the carriages and their horses. I’ll be happy to do that.


  1. Hi Jon! Are the radio shows archived anywhere so that we can listen after they air live? I would love to hear what you discover about guard barking ( or guard growling,I have a 3 year old Aussie who has started growling at children of varied ages. No indication of wanting to bite, but I would like to head that off NOW!)

    Bless the rescue for ‘letting’ Cynthia adopt. My other pet peeve is rescues who won’t let you adopt unless someone is home with the pet 24/7. While that is easier during the pandemic, it is difficult in ‘normal ‘ times, and deprives many pets of an otherwise awesome home full of love.

    The Black Stallion series were a big favorite of mine growing up ( my favorites were Flame & Black Minx). I hope the boys (and maybe the girls too) in the Amish Book Club enjoy them as much!

  2. I was happy to read your belief that older people should be able to adopt. In my case (I’m 76), I just had to “put down” my much beloved companion for the past ten and a half years. He was a lab/shepherd that I got when he was three. Buddy and I walked 5 miles daily until he couldn’t do it anymore and we finally were down to a quarter mile. Anyway as a retired person I have all the time and love in the world for a dog yet I feel when I apply on line (petfnder,etc) I’m ignored due to my age. As we just lost Buddy a few weeks ago, I’m not sure I’m ready at this point but if the right dog came along I know I would adopt. Thanks for your blogs. I just “found” you and Maria this past fall and read both your blogs faithfully.

  3. Excellent show! Your talk had the essence of all the time in the world, no hurrying through…love that! I was able to catch the last thirty minutes when Cynthia was talking about her going through the door threshold first…so important, as I found out, for building confidence in your dog. On barking, this may take some time, but have found that using the Premack Principle, with treats and/or toys does help with my dog’s barking. (google or youtube will have examples). Yes, I will disclose that I pretty much have all the time in the world to train him. He also has separation anxiety and I cannot leave him…
    Happy to hear Maria is thrilled with her new machine! Yay!

  4. Maybe your Amish neighbors would want to make meditation necklaces (or baked goods) for the Mansion residents in exchange for the wonderful books you give to them. Since you are uncomfortable taking any type of payment for the books, and they would like to repay you in some way, it seems like the perfect arrangement.

  5. Thanks for having shared Cynthia’s story and email. I’ve already written to her about how I can convince our six-year-old black lab to accept a visit from a kitten that our son will be bringing with him when he visits us in a month. Our dog is a sweet animal, but he views cats, during our walks and during their occasional visits through our yard, as a source of amusement. I don’t allow him off of his leash to chase them, and I don’t think that he’s capable of catching them if he was. I look forward to Cynthia’s advice about how to introduce these two animals to each other. If you have any thoughts about this, maybe it would be a topic for a future radio show.
    And, I would suggest that, in the future, you write email addresses on your blog in this format: story_teller_34[AT]yahoo.com.
    Publishing an actual email address can make it available to SPAMMERS who use a software program called a SPIDER that ‘crawls’ around the internet, collecting email addresses to spam. It’s a variation of the software that Google and other search engines use to index websites.

  6. Thank you for taking my call yesterday. I am the lady with the two Goldens. I enjoyed your show and will be listening every week. I may call in again to ask you what you think about howI stopped out of control barking with my young dog. After your show , I left to take the young girl to rally class. She will probably never get a title, but she loves doing it and it is a great bonding experience for us both.
    Thanks again for taking my call.

    1. Thanks Ann, I enjoyed talking with you, I’d love to hear your stories. You are especially thoughtful and interesting about your dogs. Please call anytime 802 -442-1010

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