the puppy chronicles of st. paul

Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune’s senior editor for books. She is not a dog expert, just a dog lover, chronicling the first year with her rescue puppy.

Angus, full-grown.

The Puppy Chronicles: Five years with Angus

The adorable puppy we adopted 5 years ago grew into a big, reactive dog. There were days when I despaired and days when I wept, but I never gave up on him.
For the first time since before COVID, we left Angus and Rosie with a pet sitter for three nights.

The Puppy Chronicles: Daring to travel

October 21, 2022
Between COVID lockdown and Angus' territorial behavior, I was afraid I would never be able to travel again. Then help arrived.
Angus watched the lake endlessly, but he refused to put even one paw in the water.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus finds serenity Up North

July 15, 2022
On vacation near Lake Superior, anxious Angus learned to relax. And then he saw a bear.

The Puppy Chronicles: Canine Prozac Nation

December 17, 2021
After a year on one anti-anxiety medication, we switched Angus to generic Prozac. It helps — some. But does it help enough?

The Puppy Chronicles: The nose knows

October 1, 2021
A dog's nose is 100 million times more sensitive than yours. Sniffing games and nose work give those mighty snouts a great workout.

The Puppy Chronicles: Teaching a reactive dog to rejoin the world after COVID takes time and patience

August 27, 2021
With pandemic lockdown ending, Angus has to relearn that it's OK to have visitors again. It's a long, slow road.

The Puppy Chronicles: When a new dog came to visit, we wondered how Angus would respond

June 11, 2021
When an old friend came to visit with his new dog, we worried how Angus would respond.

The Puppy Chronicles: A cold snap changed the length of Angus' walks – and intensified their beauty

February 19, 2021
A stretch of days with highs below zero meant Angus' daily walks were truncated. He embraced the torpor.

The Puppy Chronicles: Long winter walks with Angus are filled with peace and hooting owls

January 29, 2021
Long walks in the cold with Angus are filled with peace — and hooting.

The Puppy Chronicles: Readers offer scores of suggestions for getting Angus to take his pills. Guess how many worked.

December 31, 2020
Readers had scores of suggestions for getting Angus' daily pills inside him. Angus scoffed at them all.

The Puppy Chronicles: Every day a new behavior

December 18, 2020
Just before he turned 3, Angus reverted to old puppy behaviors — some endearing, some downright dangerous.

The Puppy Chronicles: A few hours of peace

December 8, 2020
Medication is not the answer to every difficulty with an anxious dog, but the right drug can help a lot.

The Puppy Chronicles: Better living through chemistry

December 8, 2020
After three years of training and tears, Angus' anxiety is starting to ease, thanks to something I vowed I would never do.

The Puppy Chronicles: A bunny in our garden keeps Angus enthralled

August 16, 2020
When a bunny takes up residence in the garden on the side of our house, Angus is riveted.

The Puppy Chronicles: What is Angus afraid of? Easier to ask what he isn't afraid of

July 17, 2020
Even something as benign as a misplaced broom can strike terror into the heart of our overly sensitive dog.

The Puppy Chronicles: The original social distancer

June 19, 2020
Even as pandemic distancing restrictions are slowly lifted, Angus stays calm by staying away.

The Puppy Chronicles: The solace of walking the dog

May 1, 2020
Daily walks with Angus are a balm during this difficult, locked-in spring.

The Puppy Chronicles: Sibling rivalry

April 17, 2020
Too much togetherness can spark jealousy between Angus and his big sister, Rosie.

The Puppy Chronicles: Home is where the dog is

March 27, 2020
Working from home in this time of pandemic is scary and strange, but Angus and Rosie get us outside and keep us grounded.

The Puppy Chronicles: Muzzle Man

March 14, 2020
We bought Angus a muzzle to help keep vet visits peaceful. But teaching him to wear it was no easy task.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus is not a fan of hot summer, but comes into his own in the winter

February 14, 2020
Bring on the snow and the cold, says Angus, who would prefer to put summer off forever.

The Puppy Chronicles: Two years with Angus

January 18, 2020
In his second year with us, our rescue dog stole his first bagel, killed his first squirrel and wormed his way deeper into our hearts.

The Puppy Chronicles: In the blink of an eye

October 4, 2019
One dog bite years ago taught me to be super-careful with skittish dogs.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus loves Ellen

September 14, 2019
All it took was repeated visits, lots of treats and a T-shirt.

The Puppy Chronicles: It took a long time to accept that Angus is a 'reactive dog'

August 30, 2019
It took me a long time to accept that Angus is a "reactive dog." But once I did, I began to learn how to care for him better.

The Puppy Chronicles: Learning to play nice with others in socialization class

August 2, 2019
Angus is back in school, this time learning to peacefully coexist with strange dogs.

The Puppy Chronicles: Leash walking 2.0

July 12, 2019
Over the past year, Angus and I have slowly gotten to a good place on the daily walks. But oh, it took a long time.

The Puppy Chronicles: Angus in summer

June 28, 2019
After Angus is calm and attentive with the new dog sitter, I'm starting to think some of the problems lie with me.

The Puppy Chronicles: Yes, Angus misbehaves, but he also does a lot of things right

June 8, 2019
Sure, Angus misbehaves. But it's time to recognize his virtues, too.

With two big dogs and a shady yard, mud season lasts all summer

May 24, 2019
Twenty years of busy dogs and maturing trees have rendered our backyard grassless. Angus doesn't care — bare ground is easy to dig. And so he digs.