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Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
My Dog Murphy
A most unusual adoption arrangement
One summer, hoping to be a role model for my kids, I volunteered at a local animal shelter as an assistant helper—in essence, a pooper-scooper. Starting at 6 am, I bagged poop and hosed down dog cages. I remained on poop patrol until my shift ended at 11 am. During the training orientation, I was instructed not to feed the dogs, as this task fell to the full-time senior staff. I abided by these...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
My Canine Co-Counselor
One lick at a time, a reformed Terrier helps the unemployed find reassurance.
Illustration of small white dog
Einstein greets my clients with an enthusiasm no paid receptionist could match. I mean, even if I paid a receptionist $100,000 a year, he or she wouldn’t give each client a big sloppy kiss. He then escorts the client to the sofa, sitting right next to him (if not on his lap) and bestowing another round of kisses. An occasional client prefers career counseling without a face-washing and eases...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Waiting for Sydney
What We Do for Them.
I should start by saying that my dog Sydney is not normal. She doesn’t sit or shake or play with toys. She only really likes to interact with other dogs to size them up. She interacts with people to discuss politics and existential suffering. She is a surprisingly picky eater, especially when you consider that she once maneuvered an entire deer head through the dog door and put it on my couch....
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
A True Romance
Dog laying by tree
If grief stops the clocks, turns time into that thick substance it feels nearly impossible to trudge through, joyousness has the opposite effect. Tee’s first job in our household was to enact his own boundless sense of JOY, to get the moments of our day to tick forward once again. We really needed him in this regard. As we’d explained to the women at the shelter, we were depending on him to keep...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
The Perfect Housemate
When I’m asked if I live alone, I reply, “No, I live with Lucy.” Lucy is my 12-year-old Beagle. She’s a stubborn little dog, but especially sweet and loving. My late husband, Don, and I adopted her from the local shelter nine years ago. We had been checking the shelter weekly, and when we drove up one Sunday in early June, the attendant said, “I have just the dog for you.” He led us to a tri-...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Fisherdog
Scott McCaulou
There’s a trail along the river near my house where I often jog with my Flat-Coated Retriever mix, Sylvia. I let her run off-leash until I see someone fishing along the bank. Then I lunge for her collar. Sylvia is usually good about staying close. She’s a classic Retriever that way — laid back, happy-go-lucky, eager to please. But if she hears the thrash of a hooked fish or the whir of a reel,...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Lucky and Frenchy: Dogs as Healers
Lucky - Dogs as healers
Their bedraggled faces peered at me from the adoption website Petfinder.com. Lucky Dog, a 3-year-old Bichon Frise, and French Fry, a 2-yearold Bichon/Poodle mix, had been rescued from a puppy mill that kept dogs under appalling conditions and bred them until they died. Lucky looked like a tough guy and the protector of Frenchy, his pitiful sidekick. Together, they called to mind woeful street...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Summer Magic
Ah, Summertime! Nothing like it for this teacher. No students to teach, papers to grade or meetings to attend. My family’s at Six Flags, and since I get motion sickness, I wrote myself a note, excusing me from it. The handwriting was pretty good, so it worked. I’m not thinking of vacuuming the rug or emptying the dishwasher or starting that last load of whites. Nope. Just don’t feel like it. I...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Watered Down
…but not out in LA
Black Lab
While walking my dog Ilia one morning, I run into our lovely neighbors Bea and Barry and their cadre of five (!) dogs. “Let’s go down to the river!” Bea suggests. Sounds good, I say, and off we go.  Upon arriving, Barry notices a guy tossing stuff into the river and walks down the steep embankment to the water’s edge to inquire as to why said stuff is being tossed. The guy pretends not to speak...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Twice Bitten
Goldie had been in the shelter for more than two months. Despite her runway looks—short golden coat, long snout, Cleopatra-lined eyes and athletic build—no one had adopted her. “She’s very sensitive and isn’t eating. If you don’t take her, she’s going to die soon,” a shelter volunteer told me. The woman who surrendered Goldie told the shelter that the dog—who was six years old, weighed 80...

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