fierce attachments

a mother-daughter blog about the fierce attachments in our lives… title inspired by Vivian Gornick's wonderful memoir

Tag: dogs

it’s true, all men are bastards: when your dog falls in love with a fickle partner

by nikki meredith

Alice is in love. The object of her affection is Jasper, a hefty Labradoodle who looks more like a bear than a dog. They are both shaggy but otherwise they are a picture of contrasts. She’s a creamy 25 pounder; he’s chocolate and weighs 75 pounds. Every day when we pass Jasper’s house on our walk, if he isn’t home or if I don’t have time to stop, I have a mutiny on my hands. Alice emits a doleful cry and like a stubborn donkey in a cartoon, she puts the brakes on and no amount of cajoling will get her to move. Since I don’t want to drag her little butt along the sidewalk, the only way to keep going is to pick her up and carry her far enough away that she loses his scent. According to Jasper’s owner, Fran, when we have a scheduled play date and she announces it to Jasper, he posts himself at their front window and waits. As soon as he sees her, he literally jumps for joy and the two of them fall into each other’s forelegs.

They jump, they run, they twirl. They lick each other, they play tug-of-war, but even with all the rough and tumble, the boy is gentle with her and has been since she was a tiny puppy. It’s like watching Gérard Depardieu make chaste love to little Gidget. Read the rest of this entry »


unleashed aggression: how leash laws protect mother nature

by nikki meredith

Six months ago, after a no-dog hiatus of more than ten years, my husband and I got a puppy – a half golden retriever, half poodle. (Yes, I’m trying to avoid writing Goldendoodle. Owning any kind of doodle in our location (Southern Marin) and in our demographic (empty nesters) is an ubercliché.) Cliché or no, we are both amazed at how much we adore this little creature. I don’t know if it’s because of her qualities – sweet, funny, easygoing and easy on the eyes – or because the last time around we had children sopping up our parental love but something is different this time around. Every time I look at her she makes me happy and she touches me in such a deep way it almost scares me. I tell you this to demonstrate that my dog-adoring credentials are solid. But….

I recently discovered that I part company with some, perhaps most, of my dog-adoring brothers and sisters when it comes to The Leash. Read the rest of this entry »

dominance in the dog house: trying and failing at dog training

by caitlin meredith

This summer I had my first shot at being a pack leader. My house was rented out for two months so I ended up house sitting for a couple that has four dogs. Four. Other than the prodigious amount of dog hair I’ve become accustomed to, I’ve also gotten an inside look at what kind of territory dogs have taken over in the American psyche.

When I was young, there was no dog whisperer or puppy college. You brought a puppy home, hoped it quickly grew out of the shoe-chewing phase and kicked it when it humped guests’ legs. Nowadays trainers instruct dog “guardians” on everything from who should go through the doorway first (you, not the dog) and whether or not tug-of-war is harmless fun or dangerous precedent (seem to be split down the middle on this one.) Clearly out of my depth in the new canine culture,  I’ve  spent most of the summer at the mercy of these damned dogs. Read the rest of this entry »

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