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Dog Culture: DogPatch
Beginners film leads star to adoption
How actor Ewan McGregor found his co-pilot dog
With the new film Beginners, director Mike Mills creates a delightful and very personal love story. Ewan
McGregor stars as Oliver, who navigates not only his father’s final years (Hal, played by Christopher Plummer)
but also a burgeoning love affair (with the effervescent Mélanie Laurent) in the company of his father’s Jack
Russell Terrier, Arthur—portrayed by the charming Cosmo. You’ve heard...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Beginners' Animal Trainer Extraordinaire
Coaxing a Great Film Performance from Dogs
It’s a rare film that offers a realistic portrayal of the human-dog bond, but writer/director Mike Mills does just that in his new, very personal, movie, Beginners. Ewan McGregor stars as Oliver, who’s not only navigating his father’s final years (Hal, played by Christopher Plummer) but also a burgeoning love affair in the company of his father’s Jack Russell Terrier, Arthur — portrayed by the...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Q&A with Sara Paretsky
The mystery writer talks fictional and real-life rescue dogs.
With the help of her downstairs neighbor, Mr. Contreras, V.I. shares her life with two dogs: Peppy, a Golden Retriever, and Mitch, a half- Golden; each came to her via a case and each has a distinct personality, but both help her unwind from her complicated life. After a road trip promoting her book, Paretsky took time to tell us more about the dogs in her own life. Bark: Why did you decide to...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Lassie’s Timmy
Jon Provost and his Collie co-star.
He was the favorite boy of America's favorite dog. For Jon Provost—“Timmy” on the “Lassie” television show—50 years later, life is still very much about dogs. His recently released autobiography, Timmy’s in the Well: The Jon Provost Story (co-authored with wife, author and Hollywood historian Laurie Jacobson), marks the half-century anniversary of his role on “Lassie.” The photo-filled book reads...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Tolkien’s Dogs
Although the philologist and fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien did not himself keep a dog, he put several memorable canines into his books. Indeed, a dog is the “start” of the most recent of his stories to have been published, Roverandom (1998). In 1925, Tolkien and his family were on a seaside holiday when his middle son, Michael, lost a beloved toy dog on the beach. To console him, Tolkien invented...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Renee Fleming
Imagining the lives of famous people has always been a favorite American pastime. There are a whole raft of magazines designed to help us picture the inner worlds of the very talented and the very beautiful and the very rich. We envision the people we admire with such clarity that our ideas about them can seem, at least in the little movie theaters in our heads, quite true. Renee Fleming, for...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Maxine Kumin: A Profile
Maxine Kumin
My 10-year old Boxer, Otto, and I have a ritual in which the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Maxine Kumin plays a central role. The ritual is enacted during our annual late-spring pilgrimage to a farm owned by generous friends in a profoundly underrated portion of upstate New York. Along with Otto, the main players in the rite are the dozen or so frogs who reside in the pond that lies just...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
John Steinbeck
I treasure the last time I saw John Steinbeck. We met for lunch in San Francisco while he was on the final lap of driving his camper around the United States, the basis of his best-selling book Travels with Charley. We were at Enrico’s sidewalk care, and Charley, the big Poodle, sat obediently in a corner near our table. With us was Howard Gossage, the innovative advertising man who, among other...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Ian Dunbar Speaks
And the dog world sits up and listens
Ian Dunbar
Ian Dunbar is a doctor twice over, holding a veterinary degree (from the Royal Veterinary College in his native Britain) as well as a PhD in animal behavior (from the University of California, Berkeley). But he’s most renowned for revolutionizing the way dogs—and especially puppies—are trained. The founder of Sirius Puppy Training, and more recently, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (an...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Every Living Thing Has Value
Dr. Eric Davis and the RAVS team take their veterinary show on the road to benefit underserved animals everywhere.
Growing up in Portola Valley, California, Dr. Eric Davis lived in a household with lots of animals around—dogs, cats, sheep, cattle and birds. He learned to treat living things humanely, but acknowledges that “little boys will be little boys.” When he was five, he taped a “daddy long-legs” spider to the floor by its legs. His mother saw him, and pointed out that he was hurting the spider, which...

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