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Dog 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 Culture: Stories & Lit
An Open Letter To My Puppy
An apology for my dog-owning deficiencies
Alvy, I owe you an apology. I haven’t been the easiest person to live with over the past few months, and I want to tell you how much I appreciate your patience with me. I did so many dumb things when you first arrived, I don’t really know where to begin.    I’m sorry that I named you Alvy Singer, which I’ve been told is pretentious. In my defense, “Roman Polanski” seemed too political.   I’m...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Goofy as Hell
The other day my daughter confided that she and her friends had that day engaged in an argument, one that’s been raging, it seems, forever. They weren’t discussing the origins of war, or why evil exists, or whether God exists, but a question just as troubling— is Goofy a dog? My heart was warmed that these young people were confronting the same issues I’d confronted when I was their age. How...
Dog 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...
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: DogPatch
To Clone or Not to Clone?
Dog Inc. author explains the high cost of canine cloning.
Canine cloning businesses like to tout their services as akin to resurrection—but the reality is much more complicated. In our video interview, John Woestendiek, author of the new book Dog Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend, exposes the high cost of canine cloning—for both the people who invest their money and emotions in the procedure, and the laboratory animals used to...
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...
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...

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