8. Don't let anyone tell you you're small.
July 4, 2019 9:05 AM   Subscribe

In "10 Life Tips from Henry the Dog," Daniel Shumski, cookbook author extraordinaire, learns a lot from his foster dog. [via mefi projects] posted by Iris Gambol (5 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
So cute! My favourite:

10. Let it roll right off you.

People would sometimes stop us on walks. Did they ask about Henry’s hobbies? Admire how well he behaved on a leash? Never. It was always about the eye. Every time. It annoyed me. But you know what? Henry didn’t care. You may say that he didn’t understand, and I concede that. Our ability to process language means we do not have that luxury. But we can still get ourselves to the same place as Henry. And the sooner we do, the more we can enjoy life. Henry lived with us for a month. Then he got adopted. The best part? His forever home is with my mother-in-law. He lives six hours away now, but we still have his leash ready for when he visits. And a peanut butter jar.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:36 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


This was an incredible thing for me to read today. I needed it.

Thank you!
posted by kathrynm at 3:15 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


This was better than I thought it would be. Thanks for improving my day.
posted by kinnakeet at 3:07 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


It means a lot to me to see this on the blue and to hear that it might have made even a small difference for someone to read it. Just a ton.

To pull back the curtain a bit: Dog writing is not easy to sell! Or, at least, this piece was not easy for me to sell. I think the cross-section of people who have (a) dogs and (b) access to a word processing program means that the supply for this sort of thing far, far outstrips the demand. It has been amusingly humbling because while I am a published author (whoopee), my credentials -- such as they are -- are fine for writing cookbooks or recipes and seem to amount to not much when it comes to writing about dogs. That's fine! But it was a slightly rude awakening.

The list of outlets that rejected or ignored this piece is long and illustrious. It's been over a year since we had Henry and this is just coming out now. It's been a journey. But, you know, peanut butter jar. I just kept at it.

I'll be honest, I was slightly conflicted about selling the piece to a Jehovah's Witness magazine but, for what it's worth, they were very good to work with. (And Henry ended up on the cover of the print edition!)

Now the good stuff: Henry was our first foster dog. We have had four more since then, including Roger (ro-zhay), the former stray who went unclaimed at the pound for a month(!) before he arrived at our home on Monday. There was a little trepidation in taking him in. What does it say about a dog when no one claims him for a month? Was he a little monster in dog's clothing?

He is not. Someone obviously loved this dog very much and spent time with him, enough to leave him perfectly housebroken and eminently sociable. On the way home from picking him up, he jumped in my lap. He slept in our bed the first night. He likes to sit on the sofa with you. This is a dog who knows how to be a dog. I can't imagine how he ended up where he was, but I spend a fair amount of time turning it over in my head. (It's safe to say more than Roger does, and I'm not even the one it happened to.) For anyone who might wonder how long it takes to get attached to a dog and how we manage to say goodbye over and over, I can say oh, about five days and god only knows. It's not easy.

I have been sending my (cookbook) editor frequent updates on our foster dogs (with photos, naturally) and she loves them. I am trying to soften her up for my pitching her a dog book.
posted by veggieboy at 7:42 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


I would read your dog book!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:01 PM on July 6


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