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Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
A Dog’s Tale
My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me; I do not know these nice distinctions myself. To me they are only fine large words meaning nothing. My mother had a fondness for such; she liked to say them, and see other dogs look surprised, and envious, as wondering how she got so much education. But indeed it was not real education,...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Devotion
My wife finished her first set of chemotherapy in 2002. They were aggressive drugs, and Genie fought hard. In the spring, cancer’s grip was finally broken. We thought we could rest easy. Then something odd occurred, something cold. Cancer took Wylie, our first sweet dog, the summer of 2002. Cancer took Ruby, our tall red dog, the following year. And when Jackson — a bigger, stronger dog — died...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
On Responsibility
Caring for two loves
I am not responsible for much. I do not have children who have to get to school on time and wear matching shoes and be taught the difference between right and wrong. I do not have a job in which the well being of a company or the safety of the nation or the health of anyone at all is resting on my shoulders. I have a couple of plants I must remember to water. I make a point of paying my taxes on...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
The Dogs Go Too
Blue jeans, blue grass and faithful friends
I’m sorry to tell you, sweet girl, but I might be a writer. I might be a writer who, on occasion, squirms into a tweed jacket and gives a quick reading. I might be a writer who goes to dinner parties and laughs loudest and can sometimes tell the difference between syrah and merlot (not really, but I’m full of bull). I might lift my glass into the light and I might sniff the cork. I might be a...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Pet Smarts
The verdict is in—the dog did it!
When Mr. Dad and I, not wanting our kids’ psyches to be forever twisted into the knots of emotional angst that produce those hideous “parents dearests” tomes, decided that, yes, getting a dog could help build their little characters. After responsible-parent research into breed sizes, temperaments and personality profiles and scouring the local animal shelters, we narrowed the list to a number of...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Dogs I Have Known
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
A Lifetime Dog
A companion, a friend and a source of joy
So there I was, alone, sitting outside Tully’s and enjoying a latte when a woman approached me. “Excuse me,” she said, looking concerned. “Is your dog okay?” Puzzled, I reassured her that Elvis was fine. He’d gone on a walk earlier and couldn’t be budged off his La-Z-Dog recliner. I had to ask. “I’m sorry, but do I know you?” “No,” she replied, smiling. “It’s just that I see you around town...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Professor Burt
What my dog taught me about being a mom
When I had my first child at the age of 32, I knew nothing. Or so I thought. I had never changed a diaper, never held a newborn baby—in fact, I don’t think I’d ever seen one. I hadn’t experienced a sleepless night since college, and the only bottle-feeding experience I had involved a baby woodchuck. But it turned out I did know a few things about parenting. Things I learned from my dog. A...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
This Dog’s Life
The fulfillment of a single woman’s dream.
It happened like this: After a walk in the park with a friend, I saw a young woman sitting in a car talking to a dog. Even from a distance, beneath the hard glass of the windshield, we could tell this was an exceptional animal. Never shy, I tapped on the young woman’s door to ask her what kind of dog it was. We live in Nashville, where people do things like this and no one is frightened or...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
How Do I Love Thee?
A valentine from the heart.
I have to admit that, for a few weeks following the adoption of my new dog—an ex-racing Greyhound I named Elvis (Hey! Costello, not Presley!)—I was a bit concerned. Not about him. He seemed like a nice enough dog. No, it was me I was worried about. After all, Elvis was well behaved. Gentle. Mild-mannered. Practically perfect. And he was certainly pretty enough, with big doe-eyes and an...

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