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Dog (and cat and bird and horse) days

Went over to my brother’s house recently to say hi and drink his beer and, whoa, there’s this dog there — a happy floundering mass of jaunty angles and puppy skittishness, warping the entire familial energy field with waves of unconditional trust and love. He’s this sharp-snouted, doe-eyed monster of undiluted cute; looks like an albino bear freshly stepped out of a children’s book. All he wants to do is nuzzle.

“We heard this whimpering at our front door one evening, and there he was,” my brother said. “I think someone abandoned him.”

He and his wife launched the standard Samaritan campaign. They checked for a microchip, papered the neighborhood with “found dog” flyers, and asked around. No luck. As the days went by, they fed him and played with him, and the great insinuation began as the stray slowly corkscrewed his way into their hearts. Next thing you know, they’re getting him neutered, defragging him at the vet, and taking that all-important step that suggests this pup might be in for an extended stay at Chez Bro: They named him. The snowy-furred beast is now (ta-da!) Alaska. My brother is doing the grumbling, reluctant dad thing all through this, but I suspect it’s a front that’s slowly melting. I’ve totally caught him gazing upon Alaska with affection. Busted.

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Pardon my reach while I pat ourselves on the back — in particular, Chris Smith’s back. The Western Publishing Association honored our tireless Desert Companion art director with a 2012 Maggie Award last month for Best Editorial Layout for our April 2011 feature, “ 15 Great Hikes (Practically) in Your Own Backyard.” Not only did Chris trek out to all these places to take some beautiful photos, but he packaged it all in an eye-catching design worthy of Southern Nevada’s natural beauty. 

As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.