Browsing articles in literature
Culture: Stories & Lit
When Did I Fall In Love With You?
Poems: Valentine, Last Call and Leaving Alice
Last Call It's ten p.m. and my dog is telling me what to do. You can't go to bed, she says, until Davey has his pills and I can't until you have your cocoa, so Sit!  Stay! till I tell you it's okay. That's better.Good girl. I know everything that's done in this house and the mouse that lives under the tv is my friend. Valentine When did I fall in love with you? Was it when I saw you...
Dog's Life: Work of Dogs
Letting Go
A therapy dog overcomes her own fear and helps young patients gain invaluable insights.
Holly looked down into the swimming pool, paws extended over the edge, intently watching as her ball on a rope floated away. Head and shoulders thrust forward, she wanted desperately to retrieve it, but not at the risk of leaping into the air with an uncertain landing. The adolescents of 2 South called, “Holly, get it!” She had a strong prey drive, and would chase anything moving: a leaf, a ball...
Culture: Stories & Lit
George, The Dog Who Saved My Life
By the time George had come into my life, I had more than three hundred convictions to my name and had been in prison over thirty times. You might be thinking that I couldn’t have been much of a thief to get caught so many times over the years, but the truth is I found it so hard to cope with life on the outside that I had started to effectively check myself in to prison for the winter. It got to...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Strawberry Blond
Labrador retriever and berries
Nick was my husband’s dog. But, come June, he tagged along every time I ventured out to the garden with my picking bucket. Like me, the big yellow Lab knew that nothing in the world tastes as good as a strawberry plucked hot from the vine on a summer day. I think of him now, with this year’s bumper crop of berries, as I lean over to snap the stem of each scarlet jewel between my thumbnail and...
Culture: Stories & Lit
A Dog with A Purpose
Teddy is very large, and very white. People ask how much he weighs – around 100 pounds - and how much he eats - not that much. Teddy is a Great Pyrenees, a guardian dog breed used for centuries to protect livestock from wolves and other predators in northern Spain and Southern France. Before that, the breed came from Asia Minor, perhaps as long as ten thousand years ago. In the late 1600’s,...
Culture: Stories & Lit
The Gift of a Great Dog
Recognizing the “one” but taking on a new dog.
If Rex could have talked, we would have finished each other’s sentences. We got another dog right away. That wasn’t the plan. But back in March, less than two weeks after Rex died and when I still had faint bruises from digging my fingers into my forehead amid uncontrollable sobs, I signed us up to “foster” a Saint Bernard mix that had been rescued from a crack den. It was a classic rebound move...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Training Maxine, Rescue Dog
Learning that life can be good
She and I are alone. When I say the B-word, she rushes to my side and goes into a sit, the first thing she learned, and so far the only one: sit comes before treat the way head comes before tail. It’s not open for discussion. “Bagel! Maxine! Bagel!” She’s so wiggly, she can barely hold her bum to the floor. The eyes that were sad and dull in her adoption photo are now bright. Her long tail goes...
Culture: Stories & Lit
SoCal Coyote Encounter
A surprising encounter with her dog’s canid cousins.
When you grow up as a child of the dry, in Southern California where water has always been as valuable as melted silver in the canals and irrigation ditches called zanjas way back in the early 1800s, the river calls you. The Santa Ana River calls me every day. I can’t ride my bike or walk beside it every day, but I do as often as I can, and my dog Fantasia loves the wildness of the river as if...
Culture: Stories & Lit
A Pup with a Sting Allergy
When the action kicks in in real life, being a movie buff pays dividends
My Boxer puppy is allergic to bees. I found out as I barreled home from work on I-580 East toward the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge one recent afternoon. Cali—short for “California”— goes to work with me every day. One moment, she was a spry, energetic, sporty Boxer; the next, vomit everywhere, bile and diarrhea all over the passenger seat. I accelerated, crossed two lanes of traffic and pulled onto...
Culture: Stories & Lit
The challenges and rewards of a new pup.
Perhaps she knew this was to be a lifetime position: For her first few days at home, Tula was a portrait of angelic calm. She accepted a leash and trotted next to me down the block, sitting quietly on my foot when she encountered anything new. She bunny-hopped through tall grass. She cocked her head at crickets. She talked to her toys, not with a bark but with a woo-woo. “You will love her,”...