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We bring you a spring issue filled with another wondrous array of articles, essays and art. To start, we offer a canine-behavior trifecta. Karen London dissects the controversy over the term “prey drive.” Does it increase our understanding of dog behavior, or—similar to the “alpha dog” notion—does it merely lead to more misunderstandings? In “Dog Smart,” Julia Hecht gives an overview of current academic interest in canine studies. Finally, Sophia Yin presents compelling evidence that operant conditioning is not only the most humane approach to dog training, but pays dividends, and that it has proved to be more reliable than long-standing coercion-based methods.
Our other features include a fascinating and inspirational report from Chicago on community advocates who are trying to solve animal abuse and dog-fighting problems by focusing on programs for young people. We also look at the ways military therapy dogs are deployed to provide battlefield troops with much-needed emotional support. We talk with our old friend, Mark Derr, about his latest canine “history” project, this one taking a look way back at the dawn of dogs. And we look at a therapy dog who is still busy working even though she has lost her sight.
For those of you who want to put more zing into your dog’s diet, we present “Toppings,” which lays out easy, inexpensive and inventive ways to vary suppertime fare. Plus, easy-as-pie directions for making your own yogurt—good for you and your dogs. Our travel piece takes us to our very favorite spot in SF: the Presidio of San Francisco. There you’ll find the city’s best beach and bay frontage; the Golden Gate Bridge looks close enough to toss a Frisbee over. And in “Follow Your Nose,” we have a thoughtful excerpt from a new memoir by Donna Kelleher, DVM, in which she discusses her holistic veterinary practice and approach to caring for cancer patients. Lee Harrington invites us to help celebrate Chloe’s springtime birthday, and in the touching EndPiece by Marianne Leone, we learn what it’s like to open your home, and your heart, to a pair of puppy-mill rescues.
All that, plus news from the Bark home front: Charlie, our newest addition—who can be seen on the cover—is proudly proclaiming his new status. Because he makes our fourth dog, we also look into why that number, at least for us, seems to be ideal in our lead-off piece, “The Pack is Back.” Anxious to hear your thoughts on that score. For now, dig in and enjoy it all.