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We were about to get back onto the 5 heading south when I asked if anyone was hungry. A resounding cry of “Yes!” filled the car, so I swerved into the parking lot of Milton’s — one of the few good Jewish delicatessens in the county. Once seated in an overly air-conditioned booth, we talked dog.

Rosa and Josue don’t consider their pet an animal, even though his name, Chucho, is the Spanish word for “street dog.” Their baby boy, a miniature schnauzer, is better cared for than some children — Chucho’s clothes are not purchased at Petco or Muttropolis but at Baby Gap. Like a stern father, Josue explained that while training Chucho, he made sure to bite his ear: “That shows him I’m the alpha, like the mommy would do.”

“We want to have more dogs,” said Rosa, with the sigh of a woman who has more nurturing to offer.

“I want a dog,” I said. David agreed that a fun-loving pet would be nice someday, but with our travel schedule and trips that last two weeks or more, it just isn’t practical right now. Josue nodded at this and explained that as much as he loves Chucho, if he could go back and choose whether or not to have a dog, he would choose not to. “It’s like having a kid,” he said. “You can’t travel so much, and if you do, you need to find pet-friendly locations and hotels. Like with a kid, you end up going to Disneyland instead of a wine-and-culinary tour.”

“Yeah, it would take some sacrifice,” I said. “I mean, I’d like to wait until I have a yard. And, I’m just not ready to be tied down like that. Then again, it would be so nice to have a puppy.”

“We’re not getting a dog,” David said. He recognized the tone in my voice that signaled my mind’s entrance into rationalization mode.

I gave him puppy-dog eyes and said, “We’re going to eventually. Why not sooner rather than later?”

“We have all the time in the world to get a dog down the road,” David said. Then, in response to my persistent “I-want-a-puppy” face, he smiled and quipped, “Don’t make me bite your ear.”

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More from SDReader


pete78 Sept. 20, 2008 @ 2:26 p.m.

Do you have a day job Barb? Or is writing the diva column your full-time gig?


Barbarella Fokos Sept. 21, 2008 @ 11:50 a.m.

Pete, writing is how I earn my living, but this column is not the only writing I do.


alansez Sept. 21, 2008 @ 10:15 a.m.

Great story. I've always liked the poodle character but the hairstyle was off the wall. With all the poodle owners I know I can't believe it took this long to learn the logical reasons for the cartoon look. The remaining question: these dogs are not used for hunting anymore--why keep the ridiculous 'do'? (I think they look great in their natural coat.)


Barbarella Fokos Sept. 21, 2008 @ 11:52 a.m.

Alan, thank you. I never much cared for the look of poodles, even with full coats. The one with the dread locks was pretty cool looking, but otherwise, it's just a lot of fluff to deal with. My favorite breed aesthetically is the husky. I always smile when I see one, they're just so beautiful. But then again, I can get geeky about any kind of animal.


smuggg Sept. 23, 2008 @ 11:06 p.m.

Really, writing is how you make your living? I thought you were a sleep therapist cuz your columns are dozers, you could not possibly be more boring. Now I know why they give the Reader away for free.


towelheadedcameljockey Sept. 28, 2008 @ 10:06 a.m.

Poodles are a great breed of dog. Same with Schnauzers. Kudos to you and David for not just acting on the want of a dog, and actually thinking it all the way through to how it wouldn't work for your current lifestyle to actually have one. So many people fail to do this, and so many animals suffer because of it. Also, perfect Rudner quote. :-)


Barbarella Fokos Sept. 28, 2008 @ 9:48 p.m.

I agree, towel... it's the same with kids - some people "act" on the want of them, without actually thinking it all the way through. ;) Happy you liked the quote!


rustyjb Nov. 8, 2008 @ 8:37 a.m.

Loved the column (I discovered your SDR column when in San Diego last month and am now catching up).

My wife and I have had standard poodles since 1974 (were you even a gleam in your parent's eyes then?) though ours have always had "puppy cuts" not the fancy grooming. Our current poodle, Rusty, is our fifth and, if so inclined, you can read his diary here: although he hasn't updated it recently.

Where else can we find your writing? Do you only do columns or do you have books and magazine articles, too?

Is your "Diary of a Diva" column syndicated? We have a local alternative newspaper here (Louisville, KY) I'd like to turn on to you.

Keep on writing!


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