Dog stories

Tolstoi in winter

Tolstoi, my Samoyed, in his winter whites, circa 1977. Who can say no to such a face?

People say having a dog is like having a permanent toddler. (I say: better than having a permanent teenager.) But many people get a dog after the kids leave home. Even the Wall Street Journal has recognized the phenomena.

I might welcome the companionship of a dog in a few years when the human offspring depart—though I am not sure how the feline contingent would feel about that. And the spousal contingent already has voiced opposition.

Dogs and literature go way back. Old Yeller and Buck come immediately to mind. Wikipedia lists 30 pages of dogs in literature. Rin-Tin-Tin can have honorary membership in the club. And we can’t leave out Enzo, the hero of Garth Stein’s Racing in the Rain: My Life As a Dog. I don’t write much about dogs, but my first foray back into short story writing after a 20-year hiatus was Mistress Mine.

For anyone who longs to live more in the moment, dogs (and, we must admit, cats) are a tonic. Their concerns are elemental. In every way, they are creatures of few words. And, by example, they bring us back to our better selves.

Dog-ku

I had a dog, once.
Now I have only children.
My dog ran with me.

When my nest empties,
I’ll fill it with happy dogs
To frolic with me.

Who frolics with you? What are your favorite animal stories?

11 thoughts on “Dog stories

  1. Samoyeds are great. I often have people ask if my Eskie is a Samoyed. Nope, too small. And others as if my Eskie is a Pomeranian. What?!? No. Waaay too big! Kind of like Goldilocks… my Eskie is just right for me.

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  2. We weren’t blessed with kids, but our dogs give us daily doses of the most infinite, joyful love I could ever imagine. I don’t know how people, well, those without kids that is, can live without receiving such happy love every day. I truly consider our dogs to be a most powerful heart chakra openers. PS: Loved listening to Mistress Mine–how enticing, now I want to read it!

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    • Let me tell you, you’d be waiting a LONG time to get that kind of love from kids :-). I do believe a dog is in my future. P.S. I will send you a copy of Mistress Mine (it’s also in “Fault Zone: Stepping Up to the Edge.”)

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  3. It’s interesting, because when I was at ThrillerFest, I attended a lecture on where to draw the line with violence, if at all. Pretty much every author up there said they had no problem killing off people, but they’d never kill off a dog, and most wouldn’t kill off a cat. So I think you’re right–dogs and literature go together!

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    • That is bizarre. But now that I think of it, I can recall a few books (and movies) where animals were the target of violence, and those stories seem somehow more disturbing than some containing violence against humans. Not a great commentary on our society!

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