I don't remember the exact date, but I was in the nearby Tractor Supply Company store about a decade ago when I saw the magazine at the checkout rack for the first time. I am a sucker for any magazine with a beautiful hunting dog on the cover, as well as a Remington 770 Shotgun, just like one I have.
You might think from the magazine's title, that it only covers Gardens and Guns. You would be happily mistaken. Garden and Gun regularly covers Southern cuisine, Ecological projects, Environmental concerns and Southern Music Icons. Their Interview with Waylon Jennings a few years back was brilliant, covering the scope of his career from his teen years to work with Willie Nelson.
Those are all good reasons to pick up a copy and read it, but interspersed among the articles about everglade protection and protecting crop pollinators, there is always one feature I can depend to be there for me in every Bimonthly issue. The Column is titled, GOOD DOG.
Each story is written by an essayist of note, some you will know, some you will not, but each of these pieces are a story about a dog (or dogs) the writer had in their family at one time in their life. In many of the pieces the writer relates how the canine friend had a profound effect on their lives, and in many instances, how they coped with their canine friends passing. Many of these pieces have brought me to tears, reminding me of the emotional connection I have had with the many dogs I have had in my life, and those oh so painful moments when I held them in my arms at the vet's office and let them go.
Thankfully, the most recent offering, in the October/November 2022 on page 99, is titled "PACK MENTALITY" Why settle for one dog when you can have five? by Jonathan Miles. The writer details how he went about moving from Mississippi to New York City, and had to find a place to live that would be good for his then five dog family.
Dog People understand this conundrum. When moving anywhere, the comfort of your dogs always comes first. He hilariously describes walking five dogs together with these words: "Taking the Pack out for a walk is equivalent to a cattle drive; at the end you will be dusty, exhausted, and in want of a saloon."
I am not going to recap this piece for you, I want you to read it and enjoy it (or not) on your own terms. I am trying to convey the context of how much I enjoy these pieces and why, so you might sample it. That's my magazine review for this Sunday. As always, I encourage everyone to try to read something outside your comfort zone. You never know what you might find that you like.