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Sitdown Sunday: How do military dogs cope with retirement?

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

US Military working dog Ayron
US Military working dog Ayron
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Retirement is tough… even for dogs

Rebecca Frankel wrote a book about dogs that have gone to war… but what would happen if she decided to make one of them her own? Her essay for January’s Smithsonian magazine documents their adjustment to cohabitation, retirement and new love.

(Smithsonian Magazine, approx 21 mins reading time) 

If you ask a family that’s never dealt with a military dog before if they wanted to adopt one, I bet they’d be all about it,” former Marine handler Matt Hatala told me. “But ask them if they want a random veteran who’s been to Afghanistan three times sleeping on the couch, they might be a little unnerved. It’s no different. That dog’s been through situations you’re not going to be able to understand and might not be able to handle.” 

2. What use is prison?

Alan Ellis is one of the most dangerous people in Ireland’s prison system, yet nobody wants him to be there – not his family, not the prison officers, not the prison management. In this provocative piece of journalism, Conor Gallagher speaks to his family, the security men tasked with keeping him, other staff and themselves safe, policy makers and others about what – if anything – can be done differently. 

(The Irish Times, approx 16 mins reading time) 

“It takes six men to bring him to the shower and they’re going to release him to Mam? And she’s going to stand there with her arms open to him saying: ‘Whatever it takes, that’s my baby. If he kills me, he kills me.’”

3. The Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie, Very Litigious Bikini

Businesswoman Ipek Irgit reacted with rage to companies who knocked off her bikini range, Katie Rosman reports this week in the New York Times. She got lawyers to scrub any #kiini hashtags from imposter Instagram posts to protect her brand. She told journalists she ‘despised copiers around the world’. And then, through the lawsuits she filed, the woman who created the bikini was found. Katherine Rosman reports on what happened next. 

(The New York Times, approx 19 mins reading time) 

I looked at one of the bikinis in her living room. Ms. Ferrarini’s standard two-piece has two dark denim triangles connected by visible stitches of embroidery thread to crochet straps with brightly colored elastics woven through them. The bottom is made to match. It is virtually identical to the bikini Ms. Irgit had copyrighted.“I created this bikini to survive,” Ms. Ferrarini said. 

PastedImage-45332 The first big marketing coup of the Kiini - an Instagram post from a model Source: Dree Hemingway via Instagram

4. The Internet is Fake

Max Read will blow your mind as he tries to find out if ads are the only ‘real’ thing on the Internet these days. 

(New York Magazine, approx 25 mins reading time)

If a Russian troll using a Brazilian man’s photograph to masquerade as an American Trump supporter watches a video on Facebook, is that view “real”? Not only do we have bots masquerading as humans and humans masquerading as other humans, but also sometimes humans masquerading as bots, pretending to be “artificial-intelligence personal assistants”… Even humans who aren’t masquerading can contort themselves through layers of diminishing reality: The Atlantic reports that non-CGI human influencers are posting fake sponsored content — that is, content meant to look like content that is meant to look authentic, for free — to attract attention from brand reps, who, they hope, will pay them real money.

5. ‘I used to write for Sports Illustrated. Now I deliver packages for Amazon

He was a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, but now Austin Murphy is a delivery driver for Amazon. He tells his own story. 

(The Atlantic, approx 14 mins reading time) 

Lurching west in stop-and-go traffic on I-80 that morning, bound for Berkeley and a day of delivering in the rain, I had a low moment, dwelling on how far I’d come down in the world. Then I snapped out of it. I haven’t come down in the world. What’s come down in the world is the business model that sustained Time Inc. for decades. I’m pretty much the same writer, the same guy. I haven’t gone anywhere. My feet are the same.”

6. How hockey’s big moment was created

For many Irish sports fans, it was the highlight of the year – Ireland reaching a World Cup final, how could it not be? In the big interview with Kieran Shannon, penalty hero Gillian Pinder reveals how that band of sisters we saw over the summer was not always as tight. 

(The Irish Examiner, approx 21 mins reading time) 

When I started out, the attitude of senior players was almost, ‘I see this girl as a threat to me, so I’m going to make life a little bit harder for her.’ It wasn’t that anyone was a bad person but as a combined unit, compared to what we have now, I’m not surprised in the slightest that we weren’t successful. The culture just wasn’t there. Even though I was only young I remember making a note of the behaviours around me that I liked and noticing the times somebody would have done things around me and thought, ‘No, you know what, I don’t like that, I’m not going to replicate that.’


An Affair. The mob. A murder. Journalist Mary Jordan reopens a decades-old murder case after getting a phone call in the newsroom. What she discovers is a mystery which people are willing to talk about – but not provide answers. 

(Washington Post, approx 12 mins reading time) 

Goldstein, the detective, agreed to meet me in person to talk more about the case. But when I drove to his house, he had second thoughts and wouldn’t unlatch the door chain to let me in. But through the crack, he told me something startling about Cunn: “I send him a Christmas card every year so he knows I have not forgotten him.” I asked if he did that because he believed Cunn either shot his girlfriend or knew who did. “I address the Christmas card to him and family,” Goldstein said, closing the door. 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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