The Weekly Margs by

P is for Pets

But really just dogs

Who Let the Dogs Out?

One fairly consistent pillar in my childhood was having a dog at home. There was a period of time after one of our dogs passed away, when I was in fifth grade, I asked my parents if we were going to get another dog. My parents did the normal parent thing where they asked if I was going to actually be responsible and help take care of the dog. I said yes (like any kid would) but unlike most kids, I actually followed through. I did some research and found a dog rescue in the phonebook (wow, throwback) where we met Lani, the dog we adopted. Then, I walked her every day when I got home from school. I was the one who attended obedience training with her.

After Lani, my parents’ next dog was Amber. She had this hilarious habit of planting herself and freezing in place whenever she saw a squirrel, I made a Tumblr with my dad called Amber Looking at Things (as an homage to the seminal Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things Tumblr). Amber has also passed on, but I’m glad we documented her as much as we did.

Other People’s Dogs

I don’t have my own dog right now (and neither do my parents). In the meantime, let’s enjoy other people’s dogs!

December 2018. Anina (San Francisco, CA)

Meet Juneau! Juneau is Van’s dog, and I had the distinct pleasure of dog-sitting him for a week or so. Juneau is such a well-behaved love bug. He was great to take to dog parks, great to walk around, and here, I even brought him to a bar in Hayes Valley. I love this shot with the shallow depth of field that’s even shallower than his snout-to-eyes distance. I took a bunch of photos of Juneau the week he stayed with me (and he became a fixture of my Instagram stories), it was hard to pick just one to summarize our time together.

August 2019. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA)

If this shot looks familiar, it’s because this was taken minutes after last week’s Red Nun Buoy shot. I don’t know this dog’s name, but it was along for the ride on this other inflatable boat. I snapped this quickly and love the framing of the dog in front of the boat’s cage in the background, and the contrast with the clear blue water.

December 2019. South End Rowing Club (San Francisco, CA)

Say hello to Danielle and her dog, Gunnar! This big boy is filled with tons of love and energy and rarely sits still. I think it was only because Danielle had just tired him out by taking him for a swim that he was able to be stationary for this picture. I love how his tongue is flopping out, and it’s just a really sweet picture together with Danielle.

January 2020. Somerset (Chevy Chase, MD)

This one is Jamie, my aunt’s dog. I believe he’s an Australian labradoodle. Jamie is a little mischievous, he loves to sneak out the front door and play hard-to-get every opportunity he can. He posed politely for this photo, I think I had just taken him for a walk: he has learned that he can count on me for at least a good walk or two each time I visit my aunt.

Missed Connections

So I mentioned earlier that my parents and I don’t currently have dogs, but that’s not for lack of trying. These last two pictures are more story than they are particular artful pictures: they’re dogs that we adopted that weren’t such good fits.

November 2018. Mom and Dad’s (Culver City, CA)

Here’s Rusty, at my parents house. We had just come back from the doberman rescue I had found way back in fifth grade, where we adopted both Lani and Amber from. Almost a year after Amber passed away, I suggested we drive out and find a dog for my parents. After meeting a few dogs we were unsure about, we took the rescue staff’s suggestion to foster Rusty for a week, they’d always made great recommendations before.

Unfortunately, Rusty did not adjust well to being at my parents’, he was on edge scared to walk through many doorways. The next morning my dad went to take Rusty for a jog, and as my dad moved his hand near Rusty’s neck to put the leash on, Rusty bit my dad’s hand. My dad bandaged his hand up, and then in a manner that I only know how to describe as a Classic Dad Move™ he still took the dog for a quick jog.

The bite was a bad enough that when my dad went to urgent care to get it looked at, he had to be admitted to the hospital overnight. Even though after that one bite, Rusty showed no other aggression, the fact is he did bite one of them, and that’s a big risk. My parents made the decision to bring him in to a shelter the next day.

October 2019. Pacific Heights (San Francisco, CA)

This is Wyatt. In October, I adopted him and here he is in my living room.

I had been contemplating adopting a dog for a few months, so I went to the SPCA, met this friendly, alert dog, and thought that I had found a good fit. A few days later, I signed the paperwork and took Wyatt home. I knew ahead of time that Wyatt had already been returned twice to the SPCA and would be “leash reactive” to other dogs. After a few test walks with him near the SPCA, I thought would be prepared. It turns out my neighborhood has a very high density of dogs, so walking him near home turned out to be extremely stressful because I had to constantly change course to avoid other dogs so he wouldn’t react. The folks at the SPCA also thought he would be easy to crate train, but after I put him in the crate just once, he refused to go back near the crate at all, even with treats (he is a smart dog) and I didn’t have the heart to force him back in.

I made the tough call to return him after just one day, and while it didn’t feel good at all, I believe that I made a right call for me and for him. I hope that Wyatt has found a good forever home by now, and hope that one day I’ll find a dog that’s a better fit for me.

Wow, sorry to end on a few down notes like this. Dogs are great! Really. But sometimes the fit just isn’t right, I guess.

But anyways, that’s all the adorable four-legged friends I have for this week. We’ll see you next time!