Mondays and Bouviers

“Kyuh-mun!” A childish shriek from a grownass woman sporting a mullet and mom jeans encouraging her dog to move along. She’s got a bouvier and it’s her pride and joy. She refers to the poor beast, which looks like a small shaggy bear hunched into domestic subservience, not by its name or species, but by it’s breed. “My bouvier.” All other bouviers of her past and present encounters are also mentioned at the puppy kindergarten class of Upper Suncoast Dog Club. We decided to take Nola (sorry – “our shorkie”) here because their puppy kindergarten class is the cheapest in the area and the place got reasonable, albeit few, reviews. Unbeknownst to us, the Upper Suncoast Dog Club is the hogwan of dog schools. It’s the kind of place with mullets, purebreeds and the same t-shirts that hipsters wear “ironically” only here it’s in sincerity. And that’s Monday.

B and Nola at Puppy Kindergarten

“Puppy Kindergarten” at the dogwan. Here Nola and  Brenden face off over a bag of freeze dried chicken.



Faith via Fido 

Dogs and humans have gotten on famously for eras. Companionship takes many forms yet none is quite as enriching as that with a dog.

Together you form a bond with minimal linguistic commonality. Verbal communication happens with just a name and a few words, and maybe the occasional one-sided conversation. But non-verbal communication is one of the many splendors of the dog-human relationship. Our dogs read our facial expressions and respond to our eye contact. They see us for what we are at the moment that we are; they see right through us.

Every day when you come home, your dog rolls out the red carpet runs to you and hails the heavens. You are home! You are together! Reunited! Everything is awesome! Whether the separation has been for hours or months, the dog-sponsored welcoming home party is unparalleled in its enthusiasm.

When dogs enjoy us so completely, they validate our existence. When we treat our dogs humanely and with love, we validate theirs. On the darkest of human days a dog is a friend to remind you that you have at least two reasons to live: your dog, because who wouldn’t want to stick around for a fur-clad hero, and you, because obviously you can’t be but so bad if someone as great as your dog loves you so much.

Not everyone shares my love of dogs. Some hate dogs, some are afraid of them, and for some, dogs just aren’t their preferred form of companionship. That’s ok. Those feelings do not detract from the spiritual bond that exists between a dog and her human.

On March 20, 2015, on a snowy first day of spring in New York, I lost the dog I grew up with. My mom and I brought her home weeks before my 11th birthday. She moved with me when I went to college. She was the ring bearer in my wedding. She came with me and my husband when we sold what little we had and came to New York City. My new home in Florida is the first home I have ever lived in without her.

Cody and me at Flushing Meadows park in Queens, 2014

That little dog was and is my blessing. With her presence I was forced to hold myself accountable. Just one glance at my eyes and my face and she read me and then responded accordingly. She always knew how to exist alongside me. It has been a struggle to live with myself without her to keep me real.

I miss her. But I know it is time for a new friend. It is time to accept her departure. So I have. Though I make this announcement for fear that something will go wrong, tomorrow my husband and I will bring home a new pup, a new world of possibility, a new future, wrapped in the consistent bundle of furry faith that stands the test of time.

A glance at the future, February 2016