Rachael & Charlie.


This guy came to live with Joe and me on Friday. We named him Charles Darwin but we’re mostly calling him Charlie, or Charlie D or Charlie Buddy or Charlie Butters or CHAAAHHLES or Charlesworth or Charliemange and, at least once, Charlene. Also, lots of singing, lots of horrible nonsense and strangely-pitched vocalizations. I’ve basically lost my mind. I am so in love with this little dude and feeling very woo-woo about the whole adoption experience. It has been weirdly meaningful and profound for something—human acquiring canine companion—that has been going for just about all of human-time. It feels somehow both “duh, yawn” and weirdly impossible until it happens to you and then it’s this earth-shattering, brain-exploding, Instagram-clogging EVENT. I would say “kind of like having a baby” but that seems both tempting fate AND the ire of actual parents of actual babies and those are things I would like to avoid right now, mostly because I am too busy cuddling this freckled Charlie who snoozes with his eyes rolled back into his skull but not fully closed, like a little fur-demon, like he’s here for my soul, and he might be.

When Joe and I started talking about adopting a dog a couple friends said, “Oh, when you find the right one, you’ll know, you’ll have a MOMENT,” and I wanted that to be true but I wasn’t counting on it. But then I met this guy. On Monday Joe and I decided that we would go to Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption on Saturday, and it seemed like a reasonable plan at the time, but by Wednesday I had fallen in love with a few from the shelter’s website and that afternoon felt a very strong and certain pull to go over there and see what was what, which sounded crazy but didn’t feel crazy, so I did. I met Ally McBeagle and Clancy and Jim and Mica and they were all very sweet and I began to think this would be harder than I expected, that there was no way we could pick out a dog to be our dog when there was a whole shelter, a whole world, full of dogs that we could love just enough.

But then there was this little scruffmonster. He had just been brought in Wednesday morning and wasn’t on the website, wasn’t fixed, wouldn’t be able to go home with anyone until at least Friday. The shelter had named him Frodo but I knew as soon as I met him that he would not be called Frodo for long because he was going to be our dog and our dog would absolutely not be called Frodo. When they brought him to me I think I said “Oh no,” because I knew he was it and it was him and because I also knew there was no way to guarantee that no one would come get him first before Joe and I could get over there on Saturday and my whole life felt suddenly on the verge of complete emotional ruination. In other words, I fell in deep stupid love. I KNEW. And Joe knew soon as I played the video of me saying, “You wanna be my buddy?” and him jumping up to put his two little freckled paws on my knees. We knew. We had the dang MOMENT. It’s real. Or maybe it’s not, but anyway, we had one.

The Dog Formerly Known As Frodo got fixed on Thursday and wasn’t available to adopt until Friday, and we couldn’t put a hold on him, and I was so afraid someone would get to him first and break my heart into a thousand little dogless pieces, so Joe and I cut out early from work on Friday, drove out to Smyrna and made him ours. I’m not sure anyone else even knew he was there. They listed him on the website about 20 minutes before we got there, when we were already on the way. We drove back across town in Friday rush-hour traffic with him sitting in my lap. When we got to the last big intersection before the turnoff to our house, he stood up and strained forward, sniffing around, like he knew. Did he know? Probably not, but maybe.

The first night and day he did a lot of looking around at us like, “OK, what’s the catch?” but I think now he’s starting to understand that even when we leave we are always coming back. He doesn’t know I was also feeling like there might be a catch, like we were suddenly going to see very clearly why whoever had him before no longer wanted him. He’s slept in at least three different crates over the last week, in three different cities, and who knows what before then. I didn’t think I would be so compelled by the mystery of his previous life. We know nothing about where he was before except for somewhere up around Gordon County in a home with a doorbell—his first night here, when a doorbell rang on TV, he sat up and looked up at our door for a long time. We have no doorbell. Who knows what else we have, or don’t have, that wherever he came from had, or didn’t.

Someone in his former life seems to have housebroken him, at least, so thank you for that, otherwise inexplicable person. Joe and I went out today and left him at home for the first time, just for a couple hours, and the whole time I kept checking my phone like maybe he was gonna text me. 





Meanwhile, a few of the dogs I met on Wednesday that were Not Charlie are still looking for homesClancy, Jim and Mica are all sweet sweet sweet little goobers and I feel oddly attached to them and keep checking the website to see if they’ve been scooped up yet. I want to be a dog matchmaker and find them all homes but I’m too busy rewriting every pop hit of the last 50 years to be about Charles Darwin the wonder schneagle (?!). But if you’re in the Atlanta area and looking to adopt a dog (or a cat), I really can’t say enough wonderful things about APRA. Every human we encountered there was extraordinarily sweet and helpful, the facilities are bright and nice and clean and well-taken care of, and they seem to give all the buddies as much love as they can, but you can give them MORE! Plus you can blame your farts on them, and they can’t say a thing. Sorry, Charlie.

Back in November, I spent a couple days on the job with Dr. Linda Ellington, the kind of veterinarian dogs love even more than their own humans—but even among the humans who love her, just say her name and their eyes turn into giant pulsing cartoon hearts. Cats don’t even completely hate her!

Shadowing her was fun and sad and really really smelly. After two days I had more than too much to include it all, so just one day made it into the story, which you can read now in the new (animal-themed!) issue of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine.

Andy Lee took the photos (which I wanted to happen even before I knew his Great Dane, Leon, loves Dr. Ellington almost more than anyone else on earth).

I’m really proud of the whole issue—illegal dorm pets! frat bros and their giant dogs! bees (not “animals” but I decided not to care)! And after nearly three years with the magazine, it’s my last. New adventures begin next week and I’m so excited.

This is a trailer for Chimpanzee, a new Disney documentary that follows a pack of chimpanzees in the wild, including one lil baby chimp whose mother is killed by a leopard and who is then inexplicably adopted by the family’s adult male leader, who begins to shirk his leadership duties to take care of the little guy, who he is supposedly not evolutionarily-biologically wired to give a shit about! Amazing! Also is one hell of a wasted opportunity for the use “Solsbury Hill,” which we should all recognize as the all-time greatest trailer soundtrack to a feel-good father/son family drama


Julia & Petunia.

I want a pet so that this can be done to me and my pet. Oh my god.


I see your surfing dog and raise you a llama.



hans holbein the younger

lady with a squirrel

put a bird on it

Goats, Cookeville, July 2010.

“The Prezwalski’s horses and scimitar-horned oryx hardly noticed although those that were inside did amble outside eventually.”

Joe and I are watching Planet Earth for the first time, which you might have gathered if you were creeping in/around our apartment the last few nights and heard us screeching “OH MY GOD THIS IS REAL, THIS IS REAL!” every few minutes. Not that we want to have kids any time soon (NOT ANY TIME SOON, OK) but I am looking forward to blowing their (VERY HYPOTHETICAL AND NOT CURRENTLY PLANNED-FOR) minds with all of this. Right now, though, we are just a couple of gobsmacked twenty-something newlyweds sitting around on our two-small couch eating nachos and muttering “WHAT THE FUUUUUUH” things such as musk deer, which live in the Himalayas AND HAVE FANGS. THEY HAVE FANGS. DEER WITH FANGS. Not since the wolverine incident have I been this terrified/awed/amused by an animal. AWESOME WORK, PLANET. YOU’RE DOING GREAT.

Are you a big fan of animals in general?
[laughs] I don’t have anything against animals. I have two dogs. I’ve got a Dachshund-terrier mix named Milo; he’s awesome, mostly nonexistent and he doesn’t get into trouble. Then I’ve got this poodle named Lulu who’s a complete asshole. She’s miserable. She’s super lovable and cute and all that, but she’s neurotic. She’s a spite-shitter. Like, she shits out of spite.”

John Williams’ Animals Being Dicks is online catnip | Atlanta A&E Blog | Atlanta Galleries, Visual Arts, Theater | Culture Surfing | Creative Loafing Atlanta

My friend Austin interviewed this guy, who… well, I was about to link to you my favorite recent one but I can’t decide. Maybe this one? SUCH a dick!


Brer Terrapin & other critters by Barry Moser, 1987. I feel like Barry Moser woulda made a killing on etsy had the internet been invented.

Urban Outfitters would’ve looooved him.

"Oh," said Regis Bigglemeyer, The Cat Who Thinks We Own Him. "You’re reading? You want to read? It’s such a nice day that even though your neighbors are blasting Red Hot Chili Peppers really loudly out their windows, you still want to sit out here and read? Nawh, bitch. I tell you what you want. What you want is to pet me. PET ME. PAY ATTENTION TO ME. ME. ME. Or at least get off my porch. What? No. Face it, I spend way more time out here than you do. Shit’s MINE."

"Oh," said Regis Bigglemeyer, The Cat Who Thinks We Own Him. "You’re reading? You want to read? It’s such a nice day that even though your neighbors are blasting Red Hot Chili Peppers really loudly out their windows, you still want to sit out here and read? Nawh, bitch. I tell you what you want. What you want is to pet me. PET ME. PAY ATTENTION TO ME. ME. ME. Or at least get off my porch. What? No. Face it, I spend way more time out here than you do. Shit’s MINE."

Apparently Atlanta had a bunch of SCAD students do illustrations for my circus camp story, which I didn’t know about until the piece posted today. The full gallery is here and they’re all so cool! Did they have any idea what I looked like? I have no clue! If they did, this Anton Escobar fellow certainly played quite fast and loose with the voluminousness of both my hair and my boobies, which is somehow more startling than my interaction with giant s’mores roasting animals. If they didn’t, I am left to assume that SCAD’s Wild Ass Guess 101 professor deserves tenure ASAP. Or maybe I just write like a white girl with brown hair.