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Culture: Stories & Lit
A Healing Heart
Lab with a wise old soul helps family navigate loss.
Lab with a wise old soul
There was little discussion of who would keep Tag, my brother’s young black Labrador Retriever, after John’s death. Tag was a living connection to John, and though a grief greater than my own was unfathomable, I knew my mother needed him most. She had lost her broad-shouldered, broad-grinned son. She needed Tag, if only to curl up with when death’s demons haunted. Tag and my mother mourned...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Brave and Noble is the Preschool Dog
Dog
  I never had a dog. I grew up in a cat household, with a mother who disliked dogs for their digging and mess and noise. I can’t blame her, as we were five kids who had lizards, hamsters, parakeets, fish, and always, two or three cats.   But I wanted a dog so badly! I wanted a red Cocker Spaniel like Rusty, the fictional dog featured in novels I read again and again. I dreamed of a brave dog like...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Hot Dog
Doing Double Duty as a Therapy Dog
Dog in highchair
The day I brought my puppy home to Manhattan, a giant article appeared in The New York Times reducing him to a fashion accessory. Headline news: Boston Terriers, dogs for the hipper-than-thou. But I didn’t get my little guy to lift my social status. I got him to lift my father’s spirits—and add quality to the time he had left. A note to my husband Geoff and me lay on the nightstand in our spare...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Becky Has Two Daddies
But which one does she really prefer?
Becky, black lab
It’s become an early-Sunday-morning ritual. I stumble out of bed, throw on a ratty robe and wait for my apartment buzzer to go off. It’s Bill, Becky’s other dad, come to take her for a seven-mile hike up into the wilderness trails of the Pacific Palisades and Malibu. Becky is my two-year-old black Lab. Bill, a steel-grey, captain-ofindustry type, is the capable, commanding and alpha dad who...
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...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Why I Write About Dogs
Woman hiking with dog
I can't throw. As a child, I was spared the humiliation of never being picked for either team in baseball by my friend Debbie, a prodigy with ball and bat who always chose me. She was a sort of one-person Red Sox Dream Team. Because of Debbie and in spite of me, our team always won, which is to say that hers did. Because I love dogs, I have never inflicted myself on a Golden Retriever or a Lab....
Culture: Stories & Lit
Ramona Guitar Wolf Jackson
Lending a Hound a helping hand.
Old photograph of man
It was last summer when I found her. I was going to get a coffee at this place on Bull Street right next to a dog park. The heat had come already, but it wasn’t yet the wet, suffocating, thick, thick burning of late July and August. I’d only experienced one summer in the South and I’d quickly learned that it was something you survived— a test of endurance and stamina. Just walking from my...
Culture: Stories & Lit
A Bird in the Paw
Saving robins, one fledgling at a time
A bird in a paw
It was the dead of summer and scorching temperatures had parched the ground and burnt the grass that surrounds our complex of cottages. Helen, my Bull Terrier mix—all white with coffee-colored splotches, heavy-chested, and 58 pounds of tough-looking docility—was gently nosing something in the yard. I approached, quietly asking, “Did you find something, Helen?” (I talk to Helen about everything...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Evolution
Out of the doghouse, into pajamas.
Man & Dog Sleep - Illustration Phil Marden
"This", my dad said, emphatically pointing to the small pink and lime-green house with gingerbread trim located in the middle of our cement patio, “is for dogs. That’s why they call it a doghouse.”He leaned over so far that his unlit cigar tumbled out of the center pocket of his overalls. Cursing, Dad snatched up the cigar and blew on it. Once satisfied that it was free of dog hair and dirt, he...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Pogo Eats Strangers
The taming of a pugnacious pup.
Illustration by Heather Horton
“Pogo eats strangers,” or so I was told, and when I first met him, he exploded. Barking, growling, snarling, lots of teeth, lunging—all the tricks that make scary people go away. To all that, he added a four-foot, straight-up-in-the-air jump, which explained why he was named Pogo. He looked like a small red Chow: lots of russet hair, thick muscular body, curled tail, short, Jack Russell legs (...

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