Dangerous Territory

In which I take a chance by writing about my dog

It can be dangerous to write about your dog. For lots of reasons.

I’ve written about my dog twice, I think. The last time was in this space, about two years ago. Foster died before the issue came out. To be fair, he was pretty sick, but still. Dangerous.

For another, most people who write about their dogs do not do it very well, our back-page columnist excluded, of course. In fact, most people who write do not do it very well, despite what their mothers have told them. But that is a topic for another column.

As journalists, we are taught, or self-taught, as the case may be, to be honest, to do the work, and then to tell the truth. It is impossible to tell the truth when writing about your dog. We don’t really know what it is thinking, or if it is thinking, so we project. Everyone thinks his or her own dog is cute, even when it is not.

My wife thinks I should write about our dog, or at least show his picture. She was mildly upset it took me so long to run our old dog’s photo. She feels, for the dog, that an important perk of being owned by a magazine editor is that it gets its picture in the magazine. I disagree with this line of thinking because, you see, I do this for you, the reader. I don’t do it for my dog. But still, if I’ve learned one thing in being married, it’s that my wife is right most of the time. And by most, I mean all.

Allow me at least to share a few details. Hank is a relatively large dog that we snagged from the pound. He’s a bunch of breeds, but obviously has some German shepherd in him, as well as, I prefer to think, some Great Dane. He’s about two, has a deep well of energy, and is among the most social creatures I have ever met. He even tried to play with a mustang once (it did not go well). He likes to root through the garbage, but only when we are away. That’s also when he chews on door frames. I can’t figure out how smart he is, or if he is smart at all.

And now, having written about my dog, I am venturing into dangerous territory. But let me add this: I am glad that Hank can’t read. Because I don’t think he’s ever been to any of the places on the list in our cover feature, “Pets Rule,” which starts on page 46 (I should add that the package also covers cats and other, equally exotic pets). He has never done dog yoga, never tasted bakery treats, never participated in a dog agility course. He does not have a designer collar, has never been to a doggie chapel, and has never even been groomed (please do not call canine social services on us).

But at least he’s had his picture in a magazine.

Categories: Editor’s Note, Opinion, The Buzz