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Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
The Great Unwashed
Poem
My golden retriever, four years old, has not yet learned to swim. He is standing chest-deep on the edge of a green, rippling pool on the West Fork of Cold Spring. The sandstone floor of the pool slopes into the deep end, but he stays rooted in the shallows, even though an encouraging lifeguard stands by in the person of his patient owner. Come on, I say. Fetch! I say. The stick floats in...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
My Canine Co-Counselor
One lick at a time, a reformed Terrier helps the unemployed find reassurance.
Illustration of small white dog
Einstein greets my clients with an enthusiasm no paid receptionist could match. I mean, even if I paid a receptionist $100,000 a year, he or she wouldn’t give each client a big sloppy kiss. He then escorts the client to the sofa, sitting right next to him (if not on his lap) and bestowing another round of kisses. An occasional client prefers career counseling without a face-washing and eases...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
This Hound
Poem
for Creek Wherever scent blows, this hound goes. Flop-eared mutt, three times snake bit, Bound by the black wet leather of his nose. He trots the trail happily, lapping the green hills over & back again. O! to be this dog, pissing & crapping, drinking in the trough of wind—coyote scat, dense fur snagged on outcrop rock, pine duff, the frag & slough of opossum skin, the bear’s...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Waiting for Sydney
What We Do for Them.
I should start by saying that my dog Sydney is not normal. She doesn’t sit or shake or play with toys. She only really likes to interact with other dogs to size them up. She interacts with people to discuss politics and existential suffering. She is a surprisingly picky eater, especially when you consider that she once maneuvered an entire deer head through the dog door and put it on my couch....
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Chloe Chronicles Part X
Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie
Chloe Chronicles
For the past few years, my dog Chloe and I have been going south for the winter, staying in rentals ranging from cottages at artists’ colonies in Florida to cabins at spiritual retreat centers in South Carolina. I don’t pack lightly for these annual trips. Thus, I always hire someone to help me load my van. “Just how many dogs do you have?” asked my most recent moving man as he maneuvered yet...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
One Truth of Dogs
Late November the corn is in, stubs litter the ground, frozen and thawed a dozen times since Veteran’s Day. Gopher mounds poke up then collapse across the lawn. This morning I find bear scat halfway down the drive, coming or going I can’t say. While I stand and think, Don Armstrong’s truck bounces across the rows, belching exhaust. Whatever is he doing? Then I see his dog Evie at the...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Bringing Up Blondie
A troubled Greyhound finds her perfect match.
We weren’t going to keep her. That was understood at the outset. By me and by my partner Kathy. By the Greyhound adoption group. By the Greyhound advocacy group that had deemed her a candidate for rehabilitation. Possibly even by Blondie herself. And after we brought her into our home, we wondered if we should have taken her at all. “Giddy’s Blondie” was one of the last two dogs at Dairyland...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Best Boy
An essay reminds us: Don’t ever leave (the gate open).
The dog has run away again. It’s the third time this month. One of the construction workers accidentally left our backyard gate open, and Bowie wandered out. Or maybe he darted out—I don’t know, since, busy washing dishes and corralling the kids, I didn’t see it happen. When I looked out the kitchen window and saw the gate wide open, I knew he was gone. He’d never let an opportunity like this—for...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Time Flies
Editor’s Letter
Kit, standing on "Determination" stone at César Chávez park
Welcome to our 75th issue. When we launched The Bark almost 18 years ago (before email became the ubiquitous medium it is today), we relied on traditional “pamphleteering” to campaign for off-leash recreation. That humble eight-page broadsheet—the first incarnation of today’s magazine— showcased articles similar to those in this glossier version. We set out not only to help dogs (and their...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
The Addict
 humor fletcher cicadas
In roughly two weeks, my dog Fletcher will be very sad. And, he will most likely be going through withdrawal. I say that because I fear Fletcher is addicted to eating cicadas. Granted, the dog has a well-documented history of eating bizarre things (even his vet has been amazed) but this is different. Prior to the cicadas arriving, I would have described Fletcher as your quintessential Golden...

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