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Culture: Stories & Lit
How to Train a Goose Dog
The chaser in the rye
Dogs have always played an important role in my life. My earliest memory is of me astride our small German Shepherd/Husky mix, dog-back riding. No saddle horse was ever as well-trained as that dog. As I grew, dog riding became impossible, so I focused on more traditional canine pursuits: sit, heel, lie down, stay. Training our dogs became an obsession with me, and no methodology was too bizarre...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Dogs and Wild Animals: What We Don't Know
Living on the east side of Milwaukee, a narrow strip of land between the green corridor of the Milwaukee River on the west and the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan on the east, I’d heard many stories of coyotes prowling the neighborhood. Two children reported seeing a “wolf” in the park; a Schnauzer, cornered in his own backyard, was rescued by his owner heroically banging on a pot. The only...
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Caring for Your Pets in Hard Times
Even in hard times, pets and people provide for one another
When my husband Greg and I decided to have a child, we figured we would make things work by sharing the responsibilities. What we did not anticipate was Greg shattering his leg in a serious motorcycle accident when our son was five weeks old. Suddenly, I was taking care of an infant, six animals and my husband in a hospital bed while I was still recovering from major abdominal surgery (C-section...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Parents: Talk to Me About My Dog
“How are the kids?” I always make a point of asking my friends. They appreciate it and talk about day camp, allergies, Saturday’s visit to the Bronx Zoo, who’s good at math and who was so funny at the pediatrician yesterday. My experience as an uncle seven times over has taught me how to talk to parents about their kids, yet I am surprised how poorly people engage my partner Bryan and me...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Kill Jerry: Vol. 2
I think I’m the only writer in Los Angeles without a script to show around at dinner parties and AA meetings. But success in “the industry” has finally come to me. After living here for over a decade, I finally made my way into Hollywood’s inner circle. All thanks to my Beagle, who was just killed.   After being discovered on the street and cast as a female dog named Ruthy, my dog Jerry...
Dog's Life: Work of Dogs
Learning to let go of a guide dog in training
Guiding Miss Ellie
It was a few years into my post-corporate, stay-at-home freelance life that I had the brainstorm. Feeling lonely and useless, I had been driving my husband, Andy, nuts. My life felt small. And the smaller it felt, the more impossible I became. Disgusted by my self-loathing, and sick of taking it out on the one guy I loved, I realized that it was time to pull myself together and focus my energy...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Small Change
Size matters — or does it?
“I’ve always had big ones,” Marian said. “But that’s over.” The volunteer glanced up from her clipboard. “Why?” “Too old.” “You don’t seem —” Marian broke in. “Last one was a Rottweiler.” She clenched her teeth to head off tears. “He needed lifting, toward the end. You need to be strong for that. Young. By the time the new one needs that, I’ll be pushing 80.” The volunteer nodded. “And don’t...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Be Gentle: I know my dog is old
A call for improving our etiquette with older dogs.
Like everyone else in a society loudly lamenting a decline in civility, I recognize there are new breaches of etiquette every minute. On any typical day, cell phones alone account for the rudeness factor going off the charts. But I believe there is one type of impolite behavior among adult humans that goes pretty much unchecked. I’ve been guilty of it myself and slinked away feeling really stupid...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Dogs in the Morning
A Definitive Essay
~ 1 ~ When I was a kid, I loved a song by Pete Seeger, the title of which I can’t recall, but it had this refrain: “All around the kitchen, cock-a-doodle-doodle-do.” I played that record until the needle on my phonograph wore down to a nub. The song was a call-and-response for the human body — Seeger would sing, “You put your right foot out, cock-a-doodle-doodle-do”; “You put your left foot out...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Confessions of a Reluctant Dog Person
Or, how I became a certified dog person
Four years ago, I was in the dairy section of a supermarket when my cell phone rang. My then-23-year-old daughter was on the other end. “Which would make you angrier,” she asked. “If I told you I was in jail or if I told you I bought a puppy?” “How long would you be in jail for?” I said. “Dad, she’s the cutest puppy in the world,” Kate said. I stood and stared at the different brands of cottage...

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