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Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Stay with Me Extended Q&A
Bark talks with author Paul Griffin
What lessons do you hope teens take away from Stay with Me? In Stay with Me, Céce and Mack fall in love really fast. I hope kids who read the book realize that it’s okay to slow it down, to take a step back, to be at peace with the folks in their lives — family, friends, neighbors, even people they don’t like. I often talk about dogs when I’m working with kids. Dogs not only live in the moment,...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Duke of Smith's Pond
Adventures with a Childhood Companion
Every boy should have two things: a dog and a mother willing to let him have one.—Anonymous I first met Duke at Walter’s house. Walter and I were both 10, friends from suburban Philadelphia’s Penn Wynne Elementary School. We hung out together after school, hunting for crawfish, salamanders, frogs and snakes in a small creek nearby, then shooting hoops in his driveway. His dad bought one of...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Rin Tin Tin
Simon & Schuster, 336 pp., 2011; $26.99
With Susan Orlean’s much-awaited Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, readers face a sad story, but not for the reason you might think — that a wonderful, heroic dog will die in the end. In fact, this dog lived many lives, first in silent movies in the 1920s and again in the 1950s in one of the most popular television series in American history. And to some degree, Rinty still lives, though when...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Team Building
Take one anxious dog, add a talented agility trainer, and good things can happen
Dusty and I weren’t the most difficult team Dee—our wisecracking, charismatic agility instructor—had ever trained. There were plenty of dogs whose exuberance could not easily be funneled into a structured activity, and there were handlers whose thickness made your average two-by-four look like Stephen Hawking. “Try that again with the dog on your right,” Dee would call out after a botched jump,...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Color of Joy
Beauty in every detail, love in every look.
Imagine a scaled-down, delicately boned German shepherd dog, black and gray and tan instead of black and sable like a purebred, her face the color of ink with a faint gray mask. This is Lucille, a most ordinary-looking dog. She does have some exceptional features—her two forelegs are white, one halfway up from the paw, the other about a quarter of the way, which create the impression that she is...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Pre-Amble
A man, a dog, a snowy mountain—deep-winter thoughts as a new year approaches.
New Year’s Eve already, again. Stepping out through boot-deep snow. Here on Spring Mountain it’s traditional to celebrate the final evening of each calendar year with a good stiff hike, accompanied by whatever hounds are currently at hand and up to the effort. This year, I’m down to Mr. Otis, since Angel dog is 13 and on her last leg and that last leg is lame. While Otis is nine, which in big-...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Carolina’s in Heat and I’m Not
My hound dog Carolina is sitting in the car, and I’m in the drugstore standing in an aisle I haven’t been down for fifteen years. Carolina is in heat. Such an archaic concept, heat. I’m looking for something to slip into the mesh pocket of a red Speedo-like contraption I’ve just bought for her. Who knew they made such things for dogs? I recall the flimsy little garter belts we girls got with our...

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