About Our Pets
When you're the editor, you get to write about your dog. So I'm going to. But first, a couple of other staffers are going to write about their pets.
Senior Editor Blake Miller:
"There's an old Hungarian saying that says, 'If you own a viszla, it will live on your head.' And even though all of the descriptions of a viszla also say they're nicknamed the Velcro dog because they constantly want to be with you, I didn't believe it. Until we got her. Bella truly wants to be by your side all of the time. Lying on your lap, chewing her bone while propping it against your leg, asleep at your feet when you're eating dinner. It's very, very cute."
Art Director Carrie Campbell:
"My cat Georgia hates her own tail. Sometimes she growls and hisses at it then jumps really fast to try to smack it, claws and all. Psycho. One of my other cats is named Black Cat. Try not feeling stupid hollering his name when you want him to come inside. Angel was my neighbor's cat until she decided to move to our house because we serve better food. Boone (the dog) is a food ninja. He can sneak a cupcake off the kitchen table and wolf it down before you realize you even made cupcakes."
So now for stories about my own dog. You don't have to keep reading, but I'm not going to stop writing. His name is Foster, and he was raised from a pup by my wife, Ashley. Early in our relationship, she often reminded me that Foster was there before I was. I have grown to accept that fact, and I no longer mind when Foster, previously sleeping soundly on the floor, gathers himself to follow Ashley when she leaves the room, despite the fact that I am still sitting right there.
We're not sure what kind of dog he is. Definitely has some German shepherd in him, probably some Doberman, and something else. Probably a lot of things else. At one point, I was convinced he was mainly coonhound -- you can convince yourself of anything with the Internet -- but now I am not so sure. Mainly because when someone asks me what kind of dog he is, it is awkward to answer "mostly coonhound."
Foster is twelve now, and his days of chasing squirrels and wrestling larger dogs to the ground are behind him. He went blind a couple years ago, and he has other issues. Last fall, we had to hospitalize him for two days. Finally, the vet said that his liver was failing, that he should come home with us, that there was nothing more they could do. She gave him a week, best case. That was tough. Short walks became emotional affairs, as we knew each time might be his last. We took dozens of photos. We cooked him every meat you can think of, from filet mignon to lamb. But eventually, he started eating again (I feel sure that it was my cooking). And, as I write this, nine months later, he still gets excited at the jingle of the leash, he stills chews on his squeaky bone, he still insists on sticking his head out the window, even when the car is moving at seventy miles per hour. I guess he didn't need that liver.
He's living on borrowed time; we try not to think about that, but we know it. It makes the stories even better. The time he was thisclose to catching that squirrel in the corner of our old yard. What we always refer to as “The Best Day of Foster's Life,” spent at Alligator Point Beach in Florida. He chased gulls into and out of the surf, never caring that he couldn't fly. The way he destroys any soft toy you put in front of him. That, in any canine encounter, he was always the dominant dog, and how it made me proud (that's my boy!). His "spot" in the corner of the deck, where theoretically he can see the yard and the street. Even though he can't see, he still lies there. How he waits on the front porch for Ashley to come home (see photo, above), amazing neighbors with his restraint. And a million other stories that any dog owner will recognize.
OK, I'm finished now. The point of all this, of course, is that the cover package to this month's issue is our Pet Guide. Pet owners know: we love our pets because they love us. They don't get grumpy; they always are excited to see us. Our pets make us happy. Blake and Carrie and a team of writers have a compiled a list of more than fifty ways to repay the favor.
Coming next month: The Style Issue • Fall Culture Preview • Great Trips Worth the Hassle