Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On top of spaghetti...

OK, so it was rigatoni, and the meatballs—there were about a dozen—weren't on top of anything, yet.

Dad left a pot of sauce and meatballs on the back burner tonight while he went out to shoot a few hoops. Mom wasn't home, having taken my sister to her singing audition. I was feeling a bit abandoned, you might say. Dad usually gives me a bit of meatball for a special treat, so I figured, why not help myself?

Not sure how I'll feel tomorrow, but they sure tasted good. And my family? Well, they had to make a quick run up to Tilly's for dinner. Their chicken parm tastes just like homemade, or so they said. Somehow, I was too full to try it.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Had a super playdate with a new friend. Bella's eight months old, part black lab, part hound (love her for that!). She was adopted just last month through Petfinder.

Anyway, we ran around like the maniacs we are while our folks sat on the patio in the sun and gave us treats whenever we seemed droopy. We showed off our tricks, bayed at the neighbors and generally caroused. Fun, fun, fun. Thanks, Bella!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Foxhound meetup!

I'm sort of famous around my neighborhood and beyond, which is both a good and a bad thing.

The great thing is being recognized around town. Today, Mom was walking me, and a woman rolled down her minivan window. "Is that Tucker?" she asked. The same phenomenon occurred while Mom was shopping at her favorite gourmet grocery, Tilly and Salvy's Bacon Street Farm. In fact, it is the only grocery she deigns to enter. I was just hanging out, hoping to go in, and and, bingo, someone recognized me.

There's a downside, too, of course. First, it's really easy to tell which dog is doing the baying. At least I don't bark like so many of my neighbors attempt to do (those incessantly yippy creatures). But it's a sure thing that I can be heard many, many, streets away. "Oh, yep, that's Tucker," another neighbor says he thinks every a.m., around 7 or so. Nothing like a good deep bay to clear away that morning frogginess, uh huh. You should hear it ring right across Lake Waban, waking up those Wellesley girls.

Mom always was glad there was another Dalmatian in the neighborhood, just to serve as a body double. Truly, though, she was offended anyone could have mistaken the other, far less handsome one, for le grand Sparky. There really was no comparison.

So I was thinking, it might be good to team up with some other foxhounds for a bit of a romp.

Looking for: energetic foxhound (is there any other kind) to play, play, play for a good hour or so. Remember, must be kind to rabbits, and, no jumping in the fish pond.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


So, if I hadn't chewed my toy bin to pieces, my sister never would have made this cool basket for her bike, right?

One day I was bored, just staring at my toy box. I didn't want to play with all the old stuff, so I thought, hey, why not play with the box
itself? It was wire-framed, with a fabric covering—flowers–not really my style.

My sister is
so resourceful. The bin looks much better now that it's laced with ribbons, and it's functional, too. Martha Stewart would be proud: it's a good thing.

P.S. Martha, Mom is thrilled about today's news that you're teaming up with
Home Depot. While you're into teaming, how about teaming up with Dreams du Dog? We realize you're partial to the Daily Wag, but change can be a good thing, too.

Psst...She noticed that my sister's bike basket is way more creative than the flower trimmed, store-bought version featured in a craft how-to on your website. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I did it my way, or, umwelt prevails

If you're interested in learning about a dog's perspective...wait, that's why you're reading my blog! However, if you'd like something with a bit more of a scientific gloss, you might try “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” by Alexandra Horowitz. Today's Times Book Review features the book, and the Times website has an excerpt from the first chapter.

I like the part about the raincoat. Me, I hate going out in the rain. If I even hear water gurgling through the downspout, it's back to my beanbag. No, thanks. That's why I moved up here from the South, remember? Fluffy bed, pampering...you name it.
But no raincoat for me.

Sparky loved to dress up. To put a Horowitzian spin on that phenomenon, it wasn't because he thought he looked dashing in his various outfits, but to please mom and dad. He knew there would be treats and hugs if he put on the
bowtie, or the tutu, or the firefighter costume.

The word of the day, then, is
umwelt. Look at things from my point of view. After all, is there any other way?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And they lived happily ever after...

In honor of Alison Morris on her wedding day, I post these adorable pix of the Booksmith bear (with moi, of course). Alison is the fabulous children's book buyer at the Wellesley Booksmith. She's incredibly smart, witty and fun, and she always pretends she's glad to see me. Alison's the kind of girl who can turn rain into sunshine with her smile, and I'm sure she's doing that today. The photos were taken on one of my visits by mom, but cropped by Alison and tagged with these clever titles (she is a born storyteller):

The Bear's Distressing Secret

The Bear's Shocking Secret

All the best to Alison and Gareth for much happiness!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tucker meetup

News writers hunting for charming local stories have lately been going for the tried-and-true: mining data for conversation-starting topics, in this case, dog names. The latest piece, which ran yesterday, evaluates names in Wellesley, Natick and Newton. The trend nationwide, apparently, is to name dogs after people. Seems like there's something wrong here...I'd go about it the other way.

Here's what the experts say:

"People are choosing human names to give their pets relevant places in their household. By making the name personal, or even a person’s name, they’re establishing their pet’s place as a genuine member of the family, too," notes Veterinary Pet Insurance after an analysis of 450,000 pet names.

I learned that 23 other Tuckers make Wellesley their domain, and I would like to meet every single one of them. (Out of 2,702 registered dogs, Tucker is the 6th most popular name, according to data from license registrations.)

Hmmph. And Mom extensively checked the US census data before naming her human child.

Presumably Tucker the Shih-Tzu was napping while his mom, Fran, was browsing last week at my favorite boutique, Tails (of course), because Fran was sans canine. This tiny Tucker was so named because he likes to tuck his head into his favorite person and snuggle.
I'd like to meet him!

In our family,
we hew to dog-like names rather than people names, although we do know of one human Wellesley Tucker boy. So, does he have a dog name, or do I have a people name?

The Wellesley data shows that naming pets after drinks, both alcoholic and otherwise, also is pup-ular.
Our family is opposed to pumping commercial products, which is why we rarely mentioned Sparky's pre-adoption moniker of—shh—Dr. Pepper. Horrors!

Apparently, we're bucking the trend.
If the number of beds one can sleep on in a household is any indication of one's place in the family, it's a wrap for me--humans only seem to only be assigned one, that is, if they get along. I claim: an early evening nap spot (bed #1), dead of night sleeping spot (crate), early morning sleeping spot (bed #2), late morning sleeping spot (bed #3)...you get the idea.

My sister said that my especially gorgeous ears and markings led her to think I needed a name beginning with the letter T. Given that my pre-adoption assignment was Bandit 1 (or Bandit 2, I'm not sure which) and I was fortunate enough to escape a hunting fate, I didn't especially mind the name change. Bandit is a rather apt description for my behavior, although I'm more of a steal it, chew it, and leave it lying around type of thief.

So Tuckers, let me know where you are, and we can trade name tales.

Gear review

For those of us who remain rather, say, undisciplined despite rigorous training, gear is a necessity.

For the record, I am the holder of two graduation certificates, and my trainer, Elaine Stern, even kissed me while handing over the diplomas. She doesn't do that for just anybody.

However, gear still is important. For example, someone set off a firecracker during an evening stroll in Newton. I was a bit startled. OK, Mom says I bolted— in the direction of the car, but a street, and a bicyclist, were in the way. Fortunately, I was in my harness, saving the bicyclist from being hit by a canine missile.

Needless to say, I have tried it all (the gear, that is).

The results:

Gear: Harness and leash with handle (which I am modeling above)
Control: Good
Plop O'Doom allowance: Medium—requires a push and a pull to outmaneuver
Restraint: Good, depending on your viewpoint
Chafing: Good, except during the POD outmaneuver
Vet approval: Yes
Ease of use: You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out...
Public acceptability: Good

Gear: Prong collar
Plop O'Doom allowance: Maximum (good for me!)

Restraint: Good
Medium to Poor

Vet approval: No
Ease of use: Good
Public acceptability: Poor (you can see why)

Gear: Gentle Leader halter (the one that goes over your nose and behind your ears)
Control: Poor—like trying to stop a freight train with a ribbon
Restraint: Ditto (although it worked beautifully for Sparky)
Plop O'Doom allowance: Maximum (excellent!)
Chafing: No more nose hair!
Ease of use: Medium
Public acceptability: Thinks it's a muzzle

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The power of love

Check out this story from Politico on how much Sen. Kennedy's Portuguese water dogs will be missed on Capitol Hill—and the ruckus they sometimes caused!

Best Buds

Beamish: cute Irish girl-next-door. Known her for years.
Age: not polite to ask about your elders
Dislikes: thunderstorms
Likes: almost everyone
Can be found: taking a dip in the pond

Leroy: shaggy co-proprietor of Tails Doggie Boutique, Wellesley
Age: 5
Vice: sneaks out to snag ice cream cones at White Mountain Creamery
Likes: to snuggle with his best girl, Noreen
Job: official greeter at Tails, unofficial dog mayor of Wellesley Square

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The quick brown fox...

My sister has been cleaning and repairing her antique Hermes 3000 seafoam green manual typewriter, so I've been thinking qwert-ily while slumbering with my new toy.

New word: pangram. It's a phrase that uses all the letters of the alphabet.

Sample: "Think it's time to nap," snuffled the foxhound pup as, quivering with joy, he snuggled into his jazzy white beanbag on the library carpet.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My senator and me

What better way to honor our dedicated senator than by learning about how he went about his work? Ted Kennedy’s charming book, My Senator and Me: A Dog’s-Eye View of Washington, D.C., written from the perspective of his Portuguese water dog, Splash, is an insider’s view of a typical day in the halls of Congress.

An excerpt from a touching reminiscence by the book’s editor, Cheryl Klein:

“We learned a lot about the Kennedys and Washington life on that trip, but the most important thing we discovered was the deep devotion between the Senator and Splash. When Senator Kennedy stood up, Splash rose as well. When the Senator walked, Splash followed six inches behind his heels. And when he sat down again, the dog settled in by the chair, his head on his paws until the next moment his master might require his attendance. I had never seen a dog so attached to a human being, and as the Senator reached down to scratch Splash’s ears, it was clear the devotion was mutual.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

I'm two years old now, and still have lots of the puppy stuff going on.

For my birthday, I received a new fox, but I don't understand why no one congratulates me when I sit there and bay at it. I mean, isn't that the point of foxhunting? Someone's supposed to come and think it's a big deal that I found the fox, right?

Anyway, Dreams du Dog provided a cake. Yummy!

Barney the beagle came over for a celebratory playdate. It was cut a little short, because he discovered our rabbits. I tried to make him understand that Nutmeg and Licorice are part of my pack, but he didn't get it. I sent him over some crumbs after my party was over. Here he is jumping into the camera lens.

Then Gunnar the German shorthaired pointer popped by for some cake, but he was distracted by a ball in my yard. Seriously distracted...seriously...so I ate my piece and his, too.

Wanted: playmate, young, any size. I: provide the fenced yard and fresh water. You: have lots of energy and promise to not try to eat the rabbits. Also, no jumping in the fish pond.

Say cheese

Conducting my due diligence on Bo Obama in hopes of a meet and greet while he's in my home state, I learned that His Bo-ness recently had his portrait done. It's very nice, as my grandma would say, meaning she doesn't really like...whatever it is.

There's nothing not to like about the portrait, I guess—the White House in the background is a stunner—but I was expecting something a bit more impressionistic. The official dog portrait is actually a photo, I realized.

My brother Sparky's portrait, of course, was done in oils. Both of them. Natick artist Wendy Hodge set up a photo shoot at Wellesley College, then painted her two gorgeous subjects—my sister and brother. The paintings made great gifts for Dad.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bo-in' crazy

Everyone on the Vineyard is a bit Bo Obama crazy this week as the First Dog indeed will have a real summer vaca—just across the Sound from the home of his godparent, Sen. Ted Kennedy, no less.

Maybe a sail on the Mya for His Bo-ness?

Me, I might catch a ride in the kayak.

Bo is not the only one with presidential bragging rights. As for moi, I am descended from the first First Dog. Southern gentlemen like me always are conscious of their heritage.

Here’s the short version: our first president was enamored of dogs (Go, George!) and interested in their breeding. When the Marquis de Lafayette sent George W. (the first, best, and should have been only, that is) a gift of seven French hounds, the prez crossed them to create the all-American Foxhound—now the state dog of the Commonwealth of Virginia! (although the Rev. Robert Brooke is credited with the first pack of foxhunting hounds—in 1650, according to Mark Derr’s A Dog’s History of America.)

My family assiduously looked into the genealogy for a family name for me, but Sweetlips just wouldn’t do.

Check out the MV dog parade held to honor Bo the First. And Bo, let us know whether the island’s pet friendly digs are worth the $35,000 per week pricetag.