The term “hero” as applied to dogs can seem a little overplayed on occasion, but there really are dogs who have demonstrated heroism, time and time again. In this winter issue, we profile an organization that trains them, and its founder, who helped some exemplary, rescue, dogs realize their potential. In the book Hero Dogs, we learn about the backstory and the origins of the renowned National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. I talk with coauthor Paul Lobo about the book, and about the two women—founder Wilma Melville and trainer Pluis Davern—who made it possible.
We are thankful for having the opportunity to share insights and discoveries that we think will benefit our readers. For example, you’ll find my article about my quest to make affordable and nutritionally balanced fresh food for my dogs. I suspect that some might think it looks like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it, and see how eagerly your dogs lap it up, it becomes easier.
Another plus is being to share a new literary talent, such as Maggie Pahos with her evocative essay, “If Only We Could Love So Loudly.” I knew at first read that it needed to appear in the magazine. We are also delighted to again publish the work of acclaimed author Elizabeth Berg, who first appeared on our pages in 2009. Do read her lovely, pitch-perfect essay, “Once More to the Lake.” And Kerry Quinn reflects upon her dog, Lincoln; he may think he’s her boyfriend, but she goes for life partner. And Jacqueline Woodson, the heralded YA author, introduces us to her special muse dogs. We also are proud to announce our first Best Books of the Year award, in the fiction category we pick Sigrid Nunez for her novel The Friend, and for nonfiction, Rory Kress’s The Doggie in the Window came away with the honors.
Photo credits, clockwise (l to r): Hunter and Bill Monahan by Karyn Newbill; Tink by Maggie Pahos; Homer and Elizabeth Berg by Teresa Crawford; Max and Campy by Alison Turner; Man with Dog in Windowby Joannis Jacobus Bijlaert (Rijksmuseum, Museum of the Netherlands).
We also feature two artists whose creations are very different, but equally fascinating: Sherry Markovitz, whose work includes some stunning beaded dog figures, and Colleen Gnos, the artist whose oversize shaped mural, Stewards of the Land, caught our eye on a recent road trip.
In the “news you can use” category, behavior expert Karen London looks at oxytocin, which many of you know as the love hormone. See what current research has uncovered about the ways it enhances our cross-species bond. Perfect for this time of year we look at the lessons children can learn from rescue dogs. And with more people working from home we delve into the helpful tips about how sharing your work space with a pup. Then we take to the road and learn about how newest category in the “tiny” house trend and how dogs make perfect copilots in vanlife.
We wish you all a joyous and fulfilling holiday season, and hope to see again next year, as we inch closer to issue 100!