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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...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
At Long Last Love
An interview with Jeffrey Masson
This is one of the first interviews (if not the very first interview) ever to appear in the pages of Bark. It was originally published in Bark’s third issue in fall 1997—back when Bark was still printed in black-and-white on newsprint—when Jeffrey Masson first released his book Dogs Never Lie About Love. On the day of our interview, Jeffrey Masson’s lovely Berkeley home was a bustle of activity...
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
Top Secret
A Tale of Dogs, Flatulence and Giardia
Dog Winks
People’s names in the story I am about to tell you are not real. To protect the health and safety of the husband who told me this story, I’ll call him Harry and the woman’s name will be Sally — because if she finds out, he gets hurt. In fact, I am changing the name of the couple’s dog to protect the dog’s identity. You can see this is a serious situation, so don’t start laughing, OK? The name of...
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...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Teacher’s Pet: Boning up at Ivy League
Harvard puts canine cognition to the test
Ivy League Dog
My dog was a little late for her test at Harvard University. Penny Jane was clearly nervous. Then she saw the testing room’s slick linoleum floors and the glare of the fluorescent lights, which screamed veterinarian’s office to her. She trembled and panted lightly as she scanned the shadowless room, probably for a syringe. When she turned her black nose up at a salmon-flavored treat, I worried...
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,...

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