Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve my father and his dogs.
The old man was not easy to love. He was not terribly affectionate, nor particularly patient, but he did love dogs. And they loved him. And I always took that as a comforting sign there was something tender hidden underneath.
I think of my father increasingly these days as I care for the little fella you see in the picture above. His name is Oliver Pickles Barbour and he is my baby boy.
Like Pops, I can be surly, but if you see me with Ollie you’ll probably suffer through some pretty uncomfortable baby talk and more kissing than I’m proud to admit. Just ask my wife.
There’s something about dogs that touches us in ways we can’t fully explain, that forces open the door to our soft side. So when photographer Keith Lanpher came to us with the idea for a spread on dogs who live in downtown Norfolk, it seemed the perfect piece for our August issue.
Also in these pages, you will read some really great stories about your neighbors. We will tell you about a local writer who just published her debut novel and the mentors who helped her along the way. We will introduce you to a man who builds antique-style furniture by hand, and a woman whose scarves transcend the lines between fashion and art. And we will pour you an award-winning whiskey from a distiller just up the road and give you a dinner at the newest rooftop restaurant.
But it’s my guess that no matter how hard you resist, you will find yourself lingering the longest over the beautiful spread of dog photos, trying to decide which one is your favorite: The curious Italian mastiff? The three bird dogs? The hound (appropriately) named Cash?
It’s hard to choose, but for me the answer is obvious. It’s the little Boston piglet who sniffs out chicken bones as if they were truffles and tries to sneak sticks into the house.
I mean, just look at his little face.
Thanks for reading. And please, let us know how we’re doing.