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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,...
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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...
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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...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Rex in the City XXIV: Board Approved
A little herbal help for Rex’s party nerves
It’s always stressful to throw your first adult party, and it can be even more stressful if you have a really hyper, poorly trained (or rather, imperfectly trained) dog. It was the year 2000 and Ted and I had just moved to a 350-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn. This was a big step up for us, given that our previous apartment was only 300 square feet. You might be shocked at that number, but we...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Howl: The Cattle May be Lowing
But two hounds get it said
The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, the Yule fire burns low and, according to an old tradition, at midnight on Christmas Eve … the animals speak. COMET (Beagle, about age four): You think that’s Alex Trebek’s real hair?AJAX (also a Beagle, somewhat Comet’s senior, waking): What? C: Alex Trebek. You think that’s a hairpiece?A: I’ll tell you who wears a piece is that Bob Barker.C: No...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Studying the Dog
A friendly pack is scaling ivory towers on campuses worldwide
Spinoza defines far and near like this: far he said, is the constellation of the dog in the night sky, and near is the animal who barks—the distance between abstraction and reality, the ideal, elevated theoretical realm and our earthly, immediate lives. So it is surprising to find that, at colleges and universities—bastions of abstract thought—scholars are closing the gap on what dogness means,...
Culture: Stories & Lit
Dog Is My Co-Dependent
Reflections on the role of dogs in modern life
How does one own a dog without becoming a dog person? The answer, I suspect, depends upon whether or not you have a dog and the degree to which you’re inclined to buy into the idea that pet ownership, like child rearing, isn’t what it used to be. Of course, most things aren’t what they used to be, but when it comes to the relationship between helpless creatures and responsible adults, many of us...

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