Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another lousy report card

“Another lousy report card.”

That’s what Mom said last week when Dad arrived home. He thought she was talking about my sister. No such luck; she’s too good a student. C’est moi, again.


Each week my pal Kelly writes up some notes on our time together, with her deft, often humorous touch. But lately the reports have become gloomier and gloomier. Mom no longer brags to her colleagues about the depth and perspicacity of these missives, as she did when they were brighter and filled with laudatory adjectives.

Here, in confession, are some excerpts. Most of my transgressions have to do with my famed obdurate streak.

“Do you have any suggestions for when his stubbornness gets that out of control? More and more he has been trying to be the one in charge.”

“I literally had to drag him up the hill…but we finally made it back home with the help of a few milkbones…Right now he is out back, napping in his dirt pile. Hopefully I can convince him to come back in.”

“I dumped out all my milkbones and was pulling pretty  hard, but he was not budging for anything or anyone…Basically I dragged him around for a half hour…at least he used up a lot of energy pulling in the opposite direction.”

“He is giving me that look of ‘I’ve had a successful day so far and would like you to give me that bag of milkbones because I am awesome and in charge.’”
“Thank goodness it didn’t rain today! (That was the first thing I thought about this morning—whether or not I would be able to get Tucker to go outside!) Alas, it didn’t go much better today than it went last week…I had to stand at the bottom of the stairs and open and close the cream cheese container a few times before he considered coming down…We only made it one house down the road. I used milkbones to convince him to go about 50 yards further, but that was the best I could do. He refused to budge.”

My report this week actually was decent. Now that I’m on triple secret probation, Mom says it’s time to turn things around. She’s almost as stubborn as I am, so it's going to be quite a battle.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm on a diet! Horrors!

So I went to my favorite vet, Dr. Schettino at VCA in Westboro, and he didn't weigh me even though I have become a bit rotund (Barry at the Wellesley Booksmith says he empathizes). My main squeeze understands the poundage issue because I've been on medication for a rather personal problem, and it made me extraordinarily hungry. Quite frankly, I've been eating a ton.

Anyway, the medication worked—great, right? Except that due to that success, Dr. S. thinks my problem was caused by an allergy. I'm on a severely restricted diet—severely! to see if that's the case. Mom cast a skeptical eye at me when he warned, "Everybody has to be on board with this. No table food. No stealing meatballs off the counter." Well, even though he didn't refer to the meatball extravaganza specifically, we all were thinking it.

Here's the deal: for two months, two months! only Royal Canin (what is with the lack of an "e" in that name?) potato and venison or potato and rabbit. Dr. S. gave me both to try out. Out of respect for my bunny brothers, Licorice and Nutmeg, I voted no on the rabbit combo. I am sure they will be most appreciative of my restraint.

Even my treats have to be made of the stuff, which, fortunately, I'm crazy about. Mom had to experiment with making them out of the wet food. Using a melon baller, she managed to form meatball-like treats (that is, if one stretches one's imagination exponentially), then set the convection oven a tad too high, but I loved them anyway. She's used to concocting finer stuff for Dreams du Dog, so I cut her some slack.

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 CustomInk.com

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.