dog listening with big ear



Barks from Starks,
Fall 2018


My favorite thing about a pet story is that there is a relationship at its core. 

In my home, my dogs and I have built our relationship, day by day, over 10 years. We have routine (play ball before breakfast, start the dinner-time dance at exactly 4:23pm, Budder sleeps on my left while Freddie and Sven sleep at my feet); our own language (a whine from the doorway means “Lady is in the way and I need assistance getting in to the room”); and trust (though he hates it, Freddie lets me clean his ears and rewards me with a kiss afterward).

Ten years of building that relationship. They are my family.

The stories in this issue are rich with relationships.

I love that Karen Hyland leash-trained her cat but responds to his comfort level when they’re outside. Karen’s observations over 14 years have helped them have more fun adventures. That’s a great relationship.

The Stender family named their Le Crescent winery after their German Shorthaired Pointer, Molly, who they recognize as the “queen of the winery.” It’s a true family business.

Our cover story features a Northfield organization that provides service dogs to veterans in need. The relationships that Believet helps to establish are life-changing for veterans who may be suffering with PTSD or isolation.

Perhaps the horse stories tug hardest at my heartstrings. This Old Horse in Hastings provides sanctuary for retired horses, and one volunteer has forged a beautiful friendship with a blind mare named Gypsy.

And Mary Kettl’s tribute to her horse Scout, her friend of 22 years, brings me to tears each time I read it. Theirs was a true bond.

Dr. Ed Creagan, a Mayo Clinic oncologist, speaks extensively on the topic of the human-animal bond and the healing power of pets. Anyone who has a pet should understand just what he means.

This issue has a little bit of everything: dogs, cats, horses and even goats. As you read, I think you’ll notice that the relationships provide the foundation for and the beauty in each story. Enjoy.