Sr. Zeno at 10 weeks being introduced to first crate


Since I went solo again and dedicated hands to pen and camera, dogs have taken more space in my life, creeping on all fours into my heart. Although raised by German Shepherds, I have fallen for Labrador Retrievers. A great-aunt named Aunt Dot used to breed them in Vermont, where I recall her live-in barn warmed by fires and the smell of damp fur.

Atlas was my first, found at a shopping mall pet store in San José, Costa Rica, and he flew to Brazil when less than a year old. The vet recommended half a motion sickness pill, so at the stop-over in Miami young Atlas was still feeling high and proceeded to roll onto his back with all four paws flapping to the control tower. In such a manner, Atlas came to Brazil and Brazil to him. Atlas, alas, was so full of life that his time, accelerated, came early. Visit the Atlas Goes to Belém sub-page, under To Belém & Back, to see what a good travel companion he was.

Zeno, my latest black Lab, was the dominant pup of a litter of nine. I’ve met his blood parents: Tommy, his black mother of Brazilian and New Jersey parentage; and Sir Bacon, a yellow Lab of English pedigree. No two parents of more upstanding and temperate disposition exist. The kennel they come from, in Rio's Teresópolis, is appropriately called Royal Labradors. The kennel owner, Alessandra, is the daughter of a neighbor in Tiradentes, for whom Zeno is a feisty and nearby grandson. Although I repeatedly offered to pay for Zeno, they insisted I receive him as a gift. Such is the never ending generosity of Brazilians.


Mom rolls Zeno
First meeting
Like father, like son
Litter mates
Zeno on drugs
New home startled


All I could do in return for such an energetic gift was to promise that I would spoil His Dogness. Zeno, accordingly, had his first check-up at a big-city vet’s five hours away in São Paulo and has flown to Boston, Miami, New Mexico, and California with little complaint.

On town with Aunt Ale
First check-up
Crazed look
Leaning toy


Zeno's welcome home party to be introduced to the crème de la crème of Tiradentes society.

Welcome party
Zeno's splash
Backyard festivities
Sticking it
Checking me out

eno is Brazilian, so dressing up for the Domestics' parade of Tiradentes' Carnival comes naturally.

7 mo. Zena
Back off the bottle!
Zeno universe
16 weeks in Tiradentes
Showing off form
Two years old in Miami Beach
Six year old in South Beach (photo by Russell Mofsky)