Colouring In Queer Pets

my dogs

How to do without your dogs.

I am writing this column from rural Vermont. I’m here for 10 days to complete the first residency of my low residency MFA program. I do not have dogs with me. This is the longest stretch I’ve been away from my dogs since I was on book tour, though then at least I was in urban settings and I could easier get a “dog fix.”

The weather was -20F this week and it was too cold for the scheduled therapy dogs to come visit campus. I had a bit of a meltdown about that, though then was able to briefly throw myself on the floor and meet a french bulldog companion of one of the professors who happened to walk past me. In one of the writing workshops we were asked to write about “what aches.” I think we were supposed to talk about the writing, but all I could think about was the lack of dog physically in my life while I’m here, how I felt like I’m separated from the part of my heart that makes me….me.

My partner has been incredibly generous and kind, not only in taking care of our three dogs and three cats alone in Brooklyn while I’m here writing, but also in sharing updates about how the pack is doing, sending pictures of my ancient chihuahua in sweaters, videos of our young girl dogs bounding in snow in the backyard.

There is no doubt my babies are being well cared for, and still, I am not fully me without them with me, which makes writing this month’s column challenging. I am counting  down the days until I get home. Since I can’t share something interesting or poignant about life as a queer person with pets this month I thought I would do something a little bit different.

I’m really excited to share with you a  FANTASTIC new LGBTQ colouring book featuring queer pets from the comic artist Sophie Labelle who creates the Assigned Male comic. Sophie’s  comics are always smart and adorable, and she has created a colouring book ideal for all ages called “Add Your Own Colours To The Rainbow.

This colouring book explores a lot about sexuality, gender, and identity in ways that anyone can bring their crayons to, regardless of age and understand. I share this not only because the colouring book is adorable, but also because it’s filled with queer pets! When Sophie was creating the colouring book she crowdsourced pictures of cute pets and I’m so thrilled that my three dogs were chosen to be included (in their easter bunny ears) in the colouring book! If you love cute LGBTQ pets and like to colour, or if there is a kid in your life who does I definitely suggest getting a copy of this colouring book.

P.S. A bit of good news: I wrote last year about Montreal and their discriminatory breed ban on pitbull type dogs, and how I see animal rights, and queer rights as being interwoven. Montreal has just reversed the ban. Happy New Year!