From the Editor: Dog Days
Photograph by: Bob Capazzo
Growing up I always had some sort of furry or feathered friend as a pet. There was the white cat with the very original name of Snowball, the yellow cockatiel aptly named Apollo and the big fluffy Samoyed named Natasha, after her Siberian heritage.
Natasha was sweet and cuddly but obedience was never really her thing. As a puppy she learned how to open the refrigerator with her nose. It wasn’t uncommon to see her trot past with a chicken in her mouth. Even with several training classes, not much changed. She used to meander over to Long Ridge Elementary School during lunchtime, find an unsuspecting child or two and (very delicately) grab the sandwich out of their hands. She would then find a shady spot and lie down for a nap. My mother would get the call: “Mrs. Marandino, Natasha is here stealing lunches again. Please come pick her up.”
I couldn’t help but think of Natasha as I read our cover story “Inspiring Tails” and chuckle at how very different she was from these dogs. They are trained to do remarkable things (though, some would argue that opening a refrigerator is pretty remarkable for a dog). From searching for victims in a collapsed building to connecting with psychiatric patients to helping their disabled owners live a life less encumbered, these canines are far more than man’s best friend. Not surprisingly, the bond between dog and owner is palpable.
Author Stephen Sawicki is no stranger to the power of amazing dogs. Co-author of Bombproof, A True Story of Second Chances, Stephen saw firsthand how one very special dog changed the life of a woman suffering from severe epileptic seizures and post-traumatic stress. We could think of no better writer to meet our dynamic duos and share with us their extraordinary relationships.
As we planned this month’s issue we sought to find a story that embodies the warmth and sentiment of December — and I do believe we found it.