Matthew Gilbert, author of “Off The Leash: A Year At The Dog Park”

Matthew Gilbert—longtime television critic at The Boston Globe and author of “Off The Leash: A Year at the Dog Park–explains how he grew up uncomfortable around dogs and continued disliking them well into adulthood, until his husband Tom (a lifelong dog lover) turned him around…and the yellow Lab, Toby, joined their In response to a mild scolding, Gilbert also explains his reasoning behind buying Toby from a breeder. He addresses the way that Toby and, especially, their daily visits to Armory Dog Park became such a profoundly transformative experience for him, agreeing that when he entered the dog—and dog park—world, he was seeking a transformative experience, even if he wasn’t fully aware of it at the time. Gilbert also reviews some of Matthew_Gilbertthe unspoken rules of the dog park subculture, codes of conduct governing everything from sharing dog toys to how human relationships forged at the park may–and may not–translate to life outside. As part of that discussion, he details how dog park denizens often employ “dog ventriloquism” to communicate with each other. And in a nod to his main gig, Gilbert briefly talks about his favorite TV shows at the moment, including some new programs (

COMEDY CORNER: Steve Martin’s “Cat Handcuffs”   (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers’ “Rare Bird Alert,” “Let The Girl Go Free (Free Lolita),” Featuring Robbyne Kaamil, instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Happy Monster & Lizard’s version of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm”


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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