Friday, October 31, 2014

Who am I? 24601!

Yep, I'm Jean Valjean for Halloween, and I have to admit, it's an apt costume.

Just a week ago Friday I was on the lam—and if you're wondering where this expression came from, you're in good company. Check this New York Times Magazine piece on the origin—but don't say I sent you.

Here's how it happened. Lately, I just hate to be left behind. Mom and Dad were planning an outing. I knew all the signs:  Dad put on real shoes; Mom brushed her teeth.

I pulled my first trick: asking to go outside when I really didn't need to. I ran around, willy-nilly (there's another origin for you to guess; goes way back to 1608), easily eluding capture.

I was just warming up.

Dad managed to shoo me inside; I'm not sure how. Then it was time to move to Step 2 of my Evil Plan: push past Dad, evoking past Boston College great running back Andre Williams, and get into the garage. I dropped my shoulder and shoved.

Dad gave up on the garage, where I knew Mom was waiting in the getaway car. Except that no one was getting away without me.

So when Dad tried to get out the front door, I did a replay: dropped my shoulder, pushed past, and—out to freedom.

I jumped off my neighbor's garden wall to the ground—an eight-foot drop, but I'm a pro at that.  I've always wanted to explore the steep hillside that runs down to Shore Road. Usually I'm in too much of a hurry, but with my parents hobbled by darkness, I had all the time in the world.

After I nosed around, I went over to the mulch business, then checked out the horse store on Rte. 9. Closed. Drat. So I hightailed it down Rte. 9 (staying on the sidewalk). I wasn't really paying attention to anything but the warm breeze and good scents.

When I looked up after stopping to sniff something really good, a dragnet of Mom in one car, Dad in another and some guys in their truck surrounded me. Before I knew it, I was in shackles.
Like any good prisoner, I'm always looking for an out.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kennebunkport, Nicky Hilton style

Meet Seamus. Hangs out in Portsmouth NH
except when he visits his Kennebunkport
grandma on the weekends. 
Well, I wasn't in Kennebunkport when a bunch of Nicky Hilton's bodyguards stopped in at the Tides Beach Club a couple of weeks ago, so I can't really tell you what happened. She was there celebrating her 30th birthday; Mom and Dad went for some sun and sand.

Despite leaving me behind, and feeling horribly depressed about it, Mom and Dad reported having a fab weekend lounging on the Tides porch and walking on the beach. That's probably because they met that cute guy above, Seamus from Portsmouth, N.H. Not the Mitt Romney Seamus of NH, he of the dog-crate-atop-car style of travel. Not that it was the dog's fault.

This Seamus was incredibly well-behaved, compared to me, and suitably beloved, but he showed his true hound-ness when did a little gardening at the Tides. That afternoon, the gardeners had done a bunch of pruning. Not enough for Seamus. He took whole bites of butterfly bush and chomped them to pieces. Then, he serenaded the sun and sea worshipers with some soulful notes. Now, that's my kind of guy.

Meanwhile,  over at Southboro Kennels, I was wooing a sweet little Catahoula leopard dog puppy. Really, she was too young for me, so I took on a more paternal role, becoming completely necessary as a puppy-sitter. I was so successful that when Mom came to pick me up, she was asked, "You're not taking Tucker from us, are you?"

I tried to stay, jumping in and out of the way-back several times, until those creative Southboro Kennels people figured out a way to keep me in. Not that they didn't want me to stay.

Believe me, I usually get a different reaction after a kennel stay. Like "we'll take your parents' money, but please don't come back" kind of thing. I know when I'm not wanted.

Anyway, I don't know what Nicky Hilton received for her birthday, but if it wasn't a hound, she sure is missing out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's happening with the Natick dog park? Get thee to the police station Thursday to find out

If I had a dog park to run around in, my paws would be clean by the
time I invade Dad's study.
Pups, send your humans out (you'll be sleeping, anyway) to get an update on the plans for the Natick dog park this Thursday night at 7 (that's tomorrow) in the community room of the Natick Police Department. Hear the latest from the group FIDO (Fun Informed Dog Owners) of Natick about their highly commendable efforts to have a safe, fun place for pups to run around off leash.

So far, the group has identified a spot on West Central Street at the end of Middlesex Path, between Fisk Pond and Lake Cochituate, for the park. 

Four paws up for FIDO. A dog park's been needed for a long time. Note to Wellesley canines and their humans: who wants to join me in finding a spot in our town?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What does it take to get some service around here?

Not only did I have to serve myself, the
 waitstaff took forever to get the extra side I ordered.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Get ready for a Cesar Millan throwdown!

That curled lip: Brando taught me.
It being too cold for anything icy, especially that of the watery kind spilled from a bucket, I hereby utter a different kind of challenge:

Cesar Millan, if you are up to it, I, Tuckerby of Wellesley, challenge you to get me out of a car when I do not wish to.

Those of you who've known me my whole life, or at least that fantastic part that began when I moved to Swellesley to live almost literally in the lap of luxury, know that the initial challenge was far different.

That one had to do with going IN. It's one I still issue to my parents now and then, especially Mom, just to see if I can break her veneer of calm, or at least make her day. So that's pretty much every day that she dares cart me around.

For those uninitiated into my ways of stubborn (all the ways—one cannot count them), I only go IN when I am going OUT somewhere. For example, if I am home and bored, and Mom says, "Tucker, do you want to go?" there are two possible answers: one if by foot and one if by car. By foot: emphatically NO. By car, definitely YES.  That's getting IN.

However, after a walk somewhere OUT of my immediate neighborhood (if I deign to get OUT, and I change that up, just to keep things interesting), I very rarely get back IN, unless directed by a stranger (when Mom does her Blanche du Bois helpless routine, and yes, she is practically crazed by that time).

Anyway, back to getting OUT. If it's raining, or threatening to rain, or if I have heard a single drop fall on my roof, and my parents take me in the C-A-R out of sheer desperation, it is very likely that upon returning home, I will do one of two things: take advantage of the open garage door and run away, or two, remain in the way back of the vehicle.

Tonight, I chose option 2. Mom first thought the aroma of newly acquired Chinese food would do the trick, but it's not Paleo enough for me. Then she tried these new treats that I'm wild about. I didn't even look up.

She called Dad for backup. He plops some steak into my bowl. From the wayback of the car, cozily housed in the garage, I can hear it ping. I prick up my ears, but no movement is otherwise discerned. He brings my bowl, with a few pieces of steak in it, into the garage. Mom holds the bowl under my nose.

I will confess that, here, I very slightly start to salivate. But that's all. Really, I require at least a half-pound, maybe more, if I'm going to lose my dignity.  If asked, my terms would be more like Fruit-of-the-Month but on a more frequent basis: some form of steak, cooked to perfection, served right to my door—the garage door, that is.

Finally, Dad has had enough, and besides, the Chinese food is getting cold. In a very Cesar-like manner, he leads my reluctant self out of the car and into the house. I give up, but I make sure that bowl got refilled. Besides, it stopped raining.

Cesar, the challenge is on: dare you take it?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Plan to shop on the tax-free weekend? Not my dad.

Dad's sneakers were absolutely concave on the bottom,
 and I didn't even take a bite!
Gearing up for Massachusetts' tax-free weekend? Not my dad. Shopping is not something he ever even thinks of doing. But shop he had do do, after walking thousands of miles—truly—for a good cause. Meaning, keeping me fit and happy, to the total of several miles each day for the last six or so years.

But shoeing Dad, former marathoner, is not easy. Like me, he is impatient. Like me, he is headstrong. Like me, he has barely set foot in a store—ever. Unlike me, though, he needs shoes. So to drive home the point: I dropped these old things in the pond; Mom, who has no trouble shopping, ordered up some Asics for him, getting a new pair for herself as well; and voila! my walks have been resumed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

To move, or not to move: how to get a coonhound up and at 'em

Mom keeps threatening to throw out the old couch in
the basement, but it would be difficult with me on it.
"How many synonyms are there for unmoving?" Mom mused the other day, when the weather couldn't decide between stormy and nice and I refused to get out of the C-A-R during an attempt—on my parents' part—at an afternoon walk. I mean, I was perfectly happy sleeping on the living room chair. "Have we already discussed the difference between obdurate and obstinate?"

"I think so," Dad said, his expression glum. "Now where to?"

You would think they would have it down by now. There are really only two places at which I will deign to get out of the car, after hours, anyway (that means anytime after, say 3:45 p.m.): one is Wellesley Books; the other, Bill's Pizzeria in Natick.

I've never actually been to Bill's, but I like their awning. Here's what happens: in bad weather, when I've refused to go out of the house for, say, a day or two, Mom and Dad pack me in the car and back up to the Bill's awning. That way I can get out of the car without a drop of rain falling on me, which, as you know, would be catastrophic. The funny thing about it, though, is that once I'm out of the C-A-R, I could walk for hours in the rain. It doesn't bother me at all. So thank you, Bill's. I owe you one.

For the record, from the dictionary on Mom's laptop:
motionless,without movingstillstock-stillstatic,stationaryrooted to the spotrigidfrozen,transfixedlike a statuenot moving a muscle. 

Yep, they all apply.