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News & Views March 2014 Issue

How Dogs Build a Community

Carla Barlow, Tony Beadle, Rick Daniels, Meg Durkin, Tom Hughes, Anne Kimball, Brendon Potter, Jeff Sullivan, Sarah Murphy, that guy Chris with the three kids on Lincoln Street, Penny and her playful terrier Willie, Liz with the two yellow Labs, Charlene in the park by the cove with her little black and white mutt Lucy (the one whose brother is a drummer), Steve with the Golden Retriever Fiona…. These are just some of the fellow dog walkers I see regularly and chat with when I take Franklin and Rosie for their romps. In most cases, the connection lies somewhere between acquaintance and friend, although a few have definitely spilled over into friendship territory. Anne and I even serve on a town board together because of a friendship that first bloomed between our dogs and then spread to the two of us. Tom and his wife, Penni, have us to their house every July 4th for their annual get-together (their porch is on the town’s parade route). Tony, who used to be the manager for the Boston Pops, wrote a book about his life that I edited, and Carla, Meg, and I swap stories about our children.

Pals made through dog-walking: Brendon Potter, Meg Durkin (middle), Sarah Murphy, Moxie (with the winter jacket), Lyle (the springer spaniel) and Beethoven (the Bernese mountain dog). Meg is holding Rosie for me while I take the picture. (The dogs are clearly not interested in the camera. Franklin even refused to be photographed.)

I love this part of dog ownership. It makes me feel connected in ways I never could without the need to take my canine pals out several times a day. People all over the country, and even in other countries, feel as I do, apparently. Australian researcher Lisa Wood made the point when she surveyed dog owners in different cities. Check out the results of her research in the box on page 11. It shows that our dogs give back to us in ways we might not even stop to think about.

Of course, brokering friendships with other people is only one of our dogs’ many gifts. As the story on page 3 indicates, they give to us in ways that are nothing short of astounding. Who would have thought that a dog would run for help when his owner was hit by a car?

No wonder we love our dogs so much and try so hard to keep them happy and comfortable. All the more reason to be glad that there are now medications available to get your dog comfortable when she feels nauseated, perhaps to the point of throwing up. Vomiting is a very common reason people bring their dog to the doctor, but with newer drugs on the market, we now have a much better chance of keeping our pets from that awful feeling of seasickness. Read about it on page 4.

Happy tails to you,

Lawrence Lindner

Executive Editor

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