Author: Amy Robinson

The Wolf Inside The Dog

From Pomeranians to poodles, our dogs are descended from one ancestor, the wolf, and the origin of our canine friends is still a hotly debated topic among the scientific set.

Darn That Alarm!

It was an old concrete bunker of a building. Giant gears that stirred the paint once manufactured here remained, giving the place a decidedly industrial look. As a dog training school in downtown Chicago, it was perfect.

The Lessons I learned From Lassie

Career paths can be guided by opportunity, education, fate, and often just dumb luck. Mine began in the back yards of indulgent neighbors, before the word “liability” crept into our lexicon. No spaniel, poodle or mutt was exempt from my unflagging attention.

Canine vs. Condo

“It’s a nightmare!” exclaims Alise Hayes, jade green eyes wide and fair hair askew. We have met outside her condominium building on the Indian River where she is tightly gripping a frayed leash as Bear, a fuzzy-faced Wheaten terrier, barks maniacally at a passing poodle.

The Joy Of Old Dogs

Some have the bearing of royalty – heads held high, posture erect. Others have a quiet dignity that does not command attention, but receive it gracefully, as due to them. One can experience canine seniors through a beloved pet resolutely moving through a condensed life span under our noses. To make the acquaintance of an older dog, and view the full force of his most vital years written fully on his face, is a special interaction that leaves an emotional imprint.

Fifteen Minutes of Furry Fame

In a darkened studio, the photographer raises his camera. The model’s posture is erect. Dark eyes fix the camera with a practiced gaze. Click! Onlookers murmur their approval. An assistant approaches with one last touch: she carefully places a large dog biscuit across the wet, black nose of the model.

Is Your Dog a Social Disaster?

We are all more popular when walking with our dogs in tow. People smile at us and sometimes stop to chat. While it can be delightful to take a stroll with your furry best friend, some of our pint-sized darlings lunge and bark like crazed banshees when they see an unfamiliar face or, heaven forbid, an interloping dog in their neighborhood. I recently addressed this problem with a pretty 18-month-old Jack Russell terrier appropriately named Zippy. Zippy’s habit is to intimidate visitors to her opulent home by barking and leaping with all the menace that her 12-pound body can muster. She has, when the spirit moved her, nipped several visitors and workmen.

Not My Type, Or So I Thought

Room F was dubbed the “lost souls” area of Chicago Animal Control by the few who ventured in. Unlucky canines awaiting court cases, dogs labeled as prisoners’ property, biters, and scarred fighting victims sharply voiced their frustrations or just sat resigned, awaiting their fate. I walked this oppressively hot room with the assistant director, Tom. He had fallen in love with a three-time returnee named Bella.