Americans Talk About Their Dogs

Leah & Beau

conducted by John Miranda

This is the second interview in what will eventually become an oral history called WOOF: Americans Talk About Their Dogs. The goal of the project is to interview as radically diverse a group of people as possible, to get them to talk about dogs from every angle possible, and, in so doing, to describe what it means to be a human living in the United States at this moment in history. If you’d like to interview, transcribe, edit, or find subjects, please contact John Bowe at [email protected] Interview subjects can choose to remain anonymous if they prefer.

LEAH: In the beginning, I had not wanted a dog. It was more my ex’s idea. When we were first married, he and I had a discussion about our wanting kids. I wanted two.

Unfortunately, for the majority of our marriage, my husband didn’t work. He bartended a little bit, but he literally never had any type of full-time job. I ended up having to basically parent him. At one point, I got pregnant and then had a miscarriage, and I remember thinking that if I had had the baby, I would have the responsibility of the husband, the baby, and the three jobs I had at that time. Anyway, three years later, in 2001, we got a boxer named Luke. And I discovered I really love boxers. I like the way they look. They’re very childlike. There’s a humanness about them. It’s the sensitivity in their eyes.

Three years later we decided to get a second boxer: Beau. He was born on August 5, 2004. He was about three weeks old the first time I saw him. The first thing I remember about him was that he was nuts. I couldn’t hold him still, he was so wiggly. When I put him on the ground, he was literally trying to climb up the inside of my pant leg, as if he were saying, “Take me home!” He smelled like puppy breath—that breath when they haven’t had any solid food and they’ve just been feeding from the mom. His hair hadn’t grown in all the way. A clean slate, like a baby. No damage yet. Just pure. Sweet.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.

John Miranda is an independent-film producer living in Los Angeles.


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