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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
Canis Mythicus
A creation story that makes sense
Once upon a time, back in my teaching days at Minnesota State University in Mankato, the Chair of the Agronomy Department, Dr. Mohammed Azad, lived in the modest white stucco house clinging to the James Avenue hillside like the American middleclass clutching by its bloody fingernails to its disintegrating economic status. Mo had two PhDs—agronomy and hydrology—so I called him Dr. Dr. I often...
Dog Culture: Readers Write
Old Dog Time
Eggs, Un-scrambled
Toby was bossy, brilliant, single minded, the quintessence of Terrier tenacity. But she was once a puppy, dithering and distracted, thoughts running in every direction. A seasoned dog trainer advised me, the ingénue, that puppy’s brains are scrambled eggs: time and guidance would firm them up. Evie, just past babyhood, rescued us a month after Toby’s untimely departure. She was always a bit...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Dog + Baby Love
A surprise acceptance for a new arrival.
“He’s worse than a baby,” my husband liked to say about our dog Nigel when the Hairy Son was acting particularly needy and pining for our attention. Of course, this was before we had our actual (human) baby this past summer and learned that Nigel—our 11-year-old Lhasa Apso— is indeed not worse than a baby. In fact, there’s no comparing Nigel to our daughter Mirabelle. Nigel doesn’t cry...
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: DogPatch
Happy Holidays
A case for personalizing greetings.
For most of th e year I’m more than happy with my decision not to have kids. But then the holidays come around and I want to send out cards and realize I can’t because somehow this has turned into a thing that only parents are allowed to do. It didn’t used to be this way. It used to be that people just sent regular cards and if they wanted to stick in a snapshot or some school portraits of their...
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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