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Dog 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...
Dog 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...
Dog 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...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Grooming Sweetie
Lessons from an elderly Afghan
Afghan
I kneel in front of the kennel that holds my first dog of the day. Sweetie, an Afghan Hound, peers out from a rear corner,where she’s arranged her reddishbrown body into a deceptively small heap.Her large eyes glow with the iridescence of glaucoma. I’m nearly three months and 100 dogs into grooming school and you’d think I’d no longer be nervous, but my trembling hands give me away as I fumble...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
How I Found Addie
Addie
At our local humane society, most dogs seem to fall into one of two equally pitiable categories: those who sit cowering in the back corners of their cages, and those who lunge at the chain link with a fierceness infused with fear. But Addie was different; she was sitting dead center in her cage, just watching. Before I came there as a client, I’d been an employee of this particular humane society...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
The Origin of Dog Sayings and Superstitions
When the Dog Yawns, Sleep Follows
Getting catty over cats — jealous even — is not our intention. But it seems like every really juicy superstition, every prickles-on-the-back-ofthe- neck story, every bit of old-fashioned, been-around-forever folklore is in the cat’s corner, leaving dogs out in the cold, pawing at the back door, dolorously. Exhibit A: A black cat crossing your path at midnight stirs up all kinds of heck. Forget...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Dogs Make a House a Home
In the 10 years that my dog Rex and I have been together (and that constitutes nearly the entirety of his life and a quarter of mine), we have moved 10 times. The reasons for this had more to do with indecision than instability, but I admit it wasn’t ideal. We went from a farm in rural Nebraska (Rex’s first place of residence, hence my ongoing guilt that his life has been all downhill from there...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Short Story: Street Dog
Another finalist in The Bark’s First Annual Short Story/Fiction contest
Street Dog
“Wake up, Georgie boy.” The cop gave the bottom of my shoe another sharp kick with the toe of his boot. I opened my eyes just enough to peer through the lashes, but I didn’t move yet. Start moving right away and you give up your dignity. “Let’s go, George. You know you can’t block the sidewalk.” I quietly started pulling my bags together and got to my feet. Dignity is one thing, but if you...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Short Story: The Stepping-Off Place
Dog Island
“Why does the Director want me? Am I in trouble?” My boss shrugged, clueless as usual, and waved me into his office. “That will do, Carl,” said a thin but strong voice. My boss bowed out and left me alone with the woman behind his desk. She was stern, gray and no bigger than a minute. “Meghan, sit.” I did, half expecting a cookie reward. “Your file is interesting.” “I have a file?” I asked,...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Tips on Unemployment from My Dog
Looking at unemployment through the eyes of my four-legged friend.
I am unemployed. There. I said it. So what if I’ve been in denial? So what if I’ve spent the last two months “on vacation,” visiting with friends and family, collecting severance and happily not waking to an alarm for the first time in three years. Now, however, my current state of joblessness is starting to sink in. I’ve finished my “funemployment” phase and have moved into “Uh-oh, I have bills...

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