Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween howliday

Boy, did I need that extra hour of sleep last night! I had a whoop-de-do Halloween that knocked me out a bit early, still wearing my cape.

I surprised everybody by agreeing to wear a costume; moreover, I greeted our first trick-or-treater, a five- year-old in a dinosaur costume who fortunately has two beastly dogs of his own, with an all-out unearthly howl. It was awesome. Then, when he was leaving, I grabbed his dinosaur tail.

I’ve come a long way since my terrified encounter last year with my neighbor’s vampire lemonade-blood stand. Here I am acting rather vampirish myself toward an unsuspecting trick-or-treater.

Did you check out Tilly’s haunted house? I didn’t, but I took a long, slow look at the field full of life-size pumpkin people. It took me a while to get comfortable, but before long I was pulling off their wigs and hats with aplomb. Unmasked, or rather, unbewigged, they weren’t really that scary.

Friday, October 30, 2009

On the virtues of crate training...

“The $100 avoidance chamber” is what my parents call my home, sweet home within a home, to which I retreat when I wish. Only when I wish.

Here’s when I like to go in the crate:
1.    Say it’s raining, and they want to take me outside. I zoom into the crate, and that is that! Can’t catch me, I’m the stubborn-recalcitrant-obdurate man!

2.    Say it’s a great day, but I just don’t feel like going for a walk. The car is so much more fun! I’ll just pout in my crate, with the occasional whimper for effect, until someone gives in.

3.    I save the very back of the crate when it’s time for any poking or prodding with medicines or ear cleaning or whatever. It’s a great place to hide.

4.    Of course, I also like to head to the crate when it’s thundering and lightning outside, or when it’s the Fourth of July, or anywhere around there, when my neighbors mindlessly shoot off scary sounding stuff. Or any Saturday in the summer, when they rev, rev, rev, their motorcycles. Is that really necessary?

The idea was, mom and dad tell me, that I would use the crate as a cozy spot to retreat from the world.  I do, so what’s the problem? My home is my castle, moat and all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recalcitrant, obstinate, stubborn: defined

Thinking over my attributes, I feel it’s time to properly define the words recalcitrant, stubborn and obstinate, adjectives often used to describe moi. My sister, who soon will show her mastery of vocabulary on the SAT, is helping me with this task. Often confused with each other, these words really have important differences, which I shall illuminate with examples from personal experience. To wit:

Recalcitrant: a higher form of obstinacy: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.
Example: Remember the time I gave my trainer a fat lip? I was being recalcitrant then. Sorry, Elaine! (not) Origin: from the Latin, kicking out with the heels (or head, in this case).

Obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or course of action despite attempts to persuade one to do so. Origin: Middle English, to persist.
Example: I am obstinate when I perform the Plop O’Doom. I know perfectly well where my people want me to go, and they object to my objection. Overruled!

Stubborn: showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, esp. in spite of good reasons to do so. Difficult to move or remove.
Example: Refusing to go out in the rain even though the need is rather desperate. Standing in the open doorway as if I am considering such an insane move is only to please my folks. They love fresh air!

The dictionary notes, in explaining the differences between stubborn and obstinate, that “dogged can be either positive or negative, implying both tenacious, often sullen persistence and great determination.” I feel triumphant!

Bonus words!
I forgot about these two synonyms: intractable and obdurate. Obdurate: a stubborn resistance marked by harshness and lack of feeling (moi? Au contraire!); intractable: stubborn in a headstrong sense, difficult for others to manage (oui!).

The dictionary cautions that “you probably don’t want to be called pertinacious, which implies persistence to the point of being annoying or unreasonable.” Well, I probably was called pertinacious today by my very well educated dog walker, poor thing. I might have tested her patience just a tad too much. Things did not go well. More later.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swello yellow T

Make custom t-shirts at

So, Mom went to Nantucket and checked out the trademarked Nantucket reddishy pink togs from Murray's, then the Nantucket paw print bowls and pet beds (also in Nantucket red) from Cold Noses, and thought, why doesn't Wellesley have a trademarked color?

Since Wellesley is so, well, Swell, the perfect color is gold, of course. Swello Yellow. Something that weathers well. Mom's still looking around for a  doggy t for me. If you'd like to order one, send her a note.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Houdini reincarnated?

If Houdini came back in another form, would it be that of a Walker Foxhound? Specifically, one named Tucker, age 2? Moi?

I knew what was coming up during my visit to the vet, so I wriggled out of my harness. “He’s a regular Houdini!” said Larissa.

Just that morning Mom had made the same observation. She put the Hokey Pokey Harness on me because the vet is opposed to the prong. Maybe she forgot that I Houdini’d out of the harness the last time we went out for a post-vet treat. I pulled the same stunt on a recent walk with my pal Kelly, who had to dump her whole pile of Milk-Bones to entice me back. Three times? That was too many for Mom.

So she marched me right over to Especially for Pets, which conveniently is located next door to the vet. While chowing through two lamb and rice sticks and associated crumbs, I turned up my considerably long nose at the purple so-called non-escape harness, so we’re off to Sudbury to get the hunting green version. No matter the color, this one looks like a creative challenge I can’t wait to try.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy birthday, Wellesley Booksmith!

Wellesley Booksmith is having a 10th birthday party! The independent bookseller and its pack of smart, funny and dog-loving people is so important to our town that it's hard to remember when they weren't around. And I for one am so glad that they are (love those free treats and all of the attention I get!)

Lots of fun events—storytimes, cake, music, raffles—will mark the day—that's Saturday, Oct. 17— but my favorite of course is the special 10th anniversary canine treat provided by my favorite canine centered shop, Tails Doggie Boutique.

Be there!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rescued: missing ID tag!

Just when it feels like everyone’s running around acting selfishly, I have evidence to prove that some people feel it’s important to do something nice for others.

So, I lost two ID tags within two weeks. The second one was just like Sparky’s, made out of long-lasting stainless steel, heart shaped of course, that had to be special ordered. I do a lot of shaking (just got to get that handsome skin to settle right on my bones) and Dad hadn’t fastened the loop properly, so off went that new tag—somewhere.

We figured it was lost at one of my favorite places, the Lake Waban path (even though it sometimes makes Mom cranky to go there because nearly all the pups are off leash despite the signs saying DOGS MUST BE LEASHED). You know how people think rules don’t apply to them? That drives Mom crazy (and me too—I love to romp around like a wild thing!) But despite looking and looking, sniffing and sniffing, we couldn’t find the tag.

This week, faith in humanity has been restored. Some really super nice and thoughtful people not only found my tag, they got out an envelope, stamp and even wrote a note, and mailed it promptly to our family. That’s a bunch of extra steps for which not everyone would take time, and we all really appreciate that effort. If I ever become lost, I definitely want to get home. I mean, I know I’m famous, but just in case. Thanks, great people!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Handsome, fabulous me—and Wordle!

Have you ever tried Wordle? It makes cool-looking word clouds that weight the size of the words depending on how often they are used in a text.

So it makes sense for me, who is often called handsome, with beautiful markings, and large, to try out a word cloud on my blog to see which themes come up most often. Did I say I was handsome, beautiful and large? So large, in fact, people who are stymied by my handsome, beautiful (and large) looks ask if I am a giant beagle. Let's try out a Wordle and see what it looks like.

Speaking of words, did I mention I am stubborn, obstinate and recalcitrant? And very, very handsome? Detailed definitions to come.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Newton Centre harvest fair today!

Mom is singing with her new choral group, Basically Broadway, around 2ish in Newton Centre at the city's Harvest Fair. I helped her practice last night, especially with the low parts and the "doo-do, doo-do, doo-do, doo-do" sections on Can't Take My Eyes Off of You. I have to say, I sounded pretty good!

That reminds me of one of my favorite books, The Dog Who Sang at the Opera by Marshall Izen, based on the true story of a Russian wolfhound who insisted on sharing the great stage at the Met. I love the book, but I prefer the original cover illustration which had the hound front and center. We hounds, not only do we love to warble, we crave attention!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

E-mail, not p-mail

Just one of the many recent email fan letters I have received:

Dear Cousin Tucker:

I heard about you from my parents and I just had to read your blog!  I must
say you are very handsome and I like your sad eyes and big nose (just like mine).
You seem to be quite an adventurer too!
I am very jealous about your meatball extravaganza—I only smell my mom’s meatballs and I gain weight!  You know how it is at my age (10 years old already, can you believe it?)
I hope to meet you sometime soon, but for now I’ll send this photo.
Cousin Pazzo

Thanks, Pazzo! I know your name means crazy in Italian. Good to know I'm not the only goofy one in the family. Ciao, bella!