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Culture: Stories & Lit
How Do I Love Thee?
A valentine from the heart.
I have to admit that, for a few weeks following the adoption of my new dog—an ex-racing Greyhound I named Elvis (Hey! Costello, not Presley!)—I was a bit concerned. Not about him. He seemed like a nice enough dog. No, it was me I was worried about. After all, Elvis was well behaved. Gentle. Mild-mannered. Practically perfect. And he was certainly pretty enough, with big doe-eyes and an...
Culture: Tributes
Callie’s Papers
A gift of love.
Callie the Magnifica, our 14-year-old Shepherd/Husky Mix, has been living with us for the past seven years, but lived with another family for her first seven. When we met her, she was called Kali, and led a nomadic-urban life with a poor couple and their two children; the family lived in a small trailer parked at the end of our street. Kali was never tied up and was allowed to roam as she wished...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Wedding Bell Blues
In which Rex meets the love of his life.
Now that Ted and I were engaged, we had two big decisions to make: when to have the wedding and whether to include the dog in the ceremony. Both answers, you’ll be surprised to note, were made with rapid—or shall we say rabid?—certainty. The wedding, we decided, would be held in May rather than September (with the idea that, if we did it sooner rather than later, we would freak out for only 5...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Play Dogs of the New West
She may have washed out of cow-dog school, but her new life suits her just fine.
My cow dog Daisy and I are going to work. We’re eating goldfish crackers—two for me, one for you—in my pickup truck and howling Buck Owens and Merle Haggard ballads off the tape deck, when we come across a broken pickup 39 miles down 40 miles of bad road. Old blue-and-rust Chevy. Open hood, pair of boots sticking out from underneath. Four tires bald as apples, three with air. I roll the window...
Culture: Stories & Lit
The Dog Who Came Gift-Wrapped
An unexpected gift takes its recipient on a wild emotional ride
I wish I loved my dog, but I don’t. I know that makes me sound like an asshole, which I am. But it’s baffling. I’m one of those embarrassing Dog People prone to falling on the sidewalk and allowing strangers’ pets to lick my tonsils. I’ve always had a dog. So what’s the deal? Perhaps it begins with a tiny truth: this one showed up in my apartment as a surprise gift, a barking turd machine tied...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Taking Care of Me
Soul support comes on four paws and wearing a wedding veil
I did it again. I know that I shouldn’t have. I promised my husband that I wouldn’t. But I couldn’t help myself. I have no excuses, really. I understand that to some, my crime is tantamount to animal cruelty. But it couldn’t be helped. And yes, it involved a novelty wedding veil. I know I should be ashamed of myself. Eleven months into my husband’s deployment to Iraq, I was counting the days...
Culture: Stories & Lit
The Dinner Party
A screen treatment
Premise: What social life would be like if people behaved like dogs. Opening scene: A living room. Some of the guests have already arrived and are racing around the room, variously hugging, colliding, dancing around each other, patting one another vigorously on the shoulders and jumping up and down. Another guest arrives at the door and rings the bell. Everyone runs over to the door,...
News: Show & Tell
Put Fido on the Phone
On-call for roundup work
My mother was born 1916 to immigrant parents; her mother was from Hungary and her father was German. She grew up in New Brunswick, N.J. Fido—who was, I think, a Border Collie mix—was their pet, but he was also a working dog, and he took his job quite seriously. My German grandfather was a butcher, and in those days (the 1920s), worked right next to the stockyard. Sometimes things would get a...
News: Show & Tell
How I Found My Dog: The Right Dog for Me
The list goes out the window when the perfect dog comes in the door
I used to stop at Point Isabel, a sprawling off-leash dog park after work for my minimum daily requirement of canine affection. On occasion, a dog owner would ask why I didn’t have a dog. “It’s complicated,” I’d say, remembering the dogs I’d had in my life. Job, child, husband, aging parents, a weedy garden, house in need of constant repair—the dog wound up being just another burdensome...
Culture: DogPatch
People Who Matter: An Interview with Doris Day
April 3, 2012, marks the 88th birthday of Doris Day — adored for her nonpareil career as a singer and actress, and equally admired for her dedication to animal welfare and the creation of the Doris Day Animal Foundation. In 2006, Bark had the opportunity to interview Ms. Day by phone, and was joined by singer Nellie McKay, an incredible singer and animal activist in her own right. She said "Call...

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