Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transgressions of a young pup

Dear Diary,
In the exuberance of puppyhood, I have erred. Let me recap. It was a brilliant day in  Wellesley Square. I stopped at my favorite bookshop, limited myself to just one treat, and had the wonderful experience of a good ear rub from my pal, Rebecca. Mom headed to Town Hall green, but I stubbornly (and you know I am stubborn) stopped in the middle of the block and pointed toward my favorite canine supply store. I allowed myself to be dragged to the crosswalk, Mom being a stickler for such things, and tore off for Tails. My attempt at the tracheas being anticipated and more or less warded off, I eyed next a rather fetching lobster toy. Mom, thinking of something more appropriate for the Easter basket, chose a tempting blue dragon. Would I like it? Simply, yes. I grabbed the toy and bounded up the stairs. The door, which opens inward at the top of the stairs, making a quick exit rather awkward, conveniently had been propped open to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. I took advantage of the open door. What did I know about paying?

Anyway, after Mom took care of my pilfered object, I headed off, searching for a good spot to enjoy Dragon Dog with Chew Guard and test its limits. That place turned out to be no less than my favorite bookstore. Does it count as overstaying one's visit if one leaves, then returns? There was no time to ponder this piece of etiquette. I tore up the stairs and downstairs to the used book section. Not finding anyone to fawn over me, I hiked back up.

Now for my second, or perhaps third, error. The second was my peek into the biscuit bin to make sure plenty of Milk-Bones were on hand. Check. The next and more serious transgression was my investigation into the tiny gray hamster toy Rebecca was holding at shoulder level. I wanted it. Badly. Earlier, she and I had been comparing our respective weights and I opined that the scales would tilt in my direction. Clearly, I was correct as I nearly threw that good woman off her feet, besides scaring her out of her wits. It really wasn’t thoughtful after all of her kindness.

Mea culpa, Rebecca.

PS Remember me, for my visits from now on will be highly restricted.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm melting! Or, how raindrops keep falling on my head

Well, if it weren't for my friend Lesley, I probably wouldn't be here today to record the horrors of yesterday's rainstorm. Unlike my aunt's Camelotish town of Duxbury, it actually rains here in Swellesley, and in this case, it happened to rain upon me. Fortunately, Lesley was tooling down Weston Road and happened to have a Raider Red umbrella in her car. She bravely proffered it across the well-traveled street, but I was disinclined to risk further raindrops or being hit by one of those vehicles that blithely, and dryly, pass us poor hounds as we suffer. Lesley, I can attest, is courageous, thorough and kindly. She turned around and made yet another offer of shelter. This time, Mom took it, knowing I was about to melt into the pavement, or at least drag her to a nearby stranger's porch, from which it would be not only embarrassing but impossible to extricate ourselves. At least until it stopped raining.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A little extra for the IRS

It's tax time, and my friend Oliver has expressed his issues with the IRS in a nonviolent, yet effective, way. I'm not sure what Oliver's issues are, he being a cat. However, his feelings are clear: his folks had left out an array of documents, waiting to be sorted and accounted for, and Oliver, perhaps a bit queasy from all of the numbers, left some scat on that.

His parents, far from being scandalized, appreciated the irony.

Now, I would never—besides, my folks have, very fortunately, an accomplished accountant in the family, so they do not sully their brains with such minutiae.

More on Oliver. Perhaps I stretch the truth when I say we are friends. In fact, during my last visit on Oliver's porch, I was impressed not so much by this gargantuan specimen supposedly of the smaller feline species, but by an art project, namely, a feathered doorstop attempting to be an owl. Well, for all I knew, it was an owl, and by the time I was through baying at it (my incessant howls ceased only upon forcible removal from the area) it was clear that I was not a candidate for residency in that esteemed section of Swellesley.

Oliver himself was the subject of a recent letter from his mom, upon the occasion of a visit to the vet:

He weighed in at 17.5 lbs. which is a lot lighter than I thought he was.  The vet said he was not fat, just a little heavier than average. 

Now that's a vet with a great attitude!

He is just a big cat. I don't think I have ever seen a bigger one other than a Maine coon cat," she said. I think he must have some Maine coon cat in him. The vet wouldn't let me leave the office without a carrying case so I had to buy one for him. Well, Oliver LOVES it. He sleeps in it all the time. The vet said he was a very cool cat and he could come visit any time. 

Unless, of course, it's tax time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Signs of spring

With the advent of spring comes the yearning for a new silhouette. My family keeps checking, tilting their heads: I think he's lost a bit, don't you?

Ounces, they mean, not lbs.

Since hitting the big 9-0, certain things are taboo:
Weekly Sunday a.m. waffle
Gleanings from the taco pan
Pot full o'meatballs
Extra pancakes
Peanut butter bones
Actually, I think I am a bit trimmer. Instead of two and a half hours of walks per day, more daylight means three plus hours. More playtimes. More romping.

While we're on the topic, what is it with those scales at the vet? I mean, you take in a breath, and two lbs. get added to your total. What's with that? Next time, I'm getting a mani and pedi ahead of time. Every ounce counts. Then, I'm exhaling the moment I step on that awful metal thing, pausing briefly, and I'm out of there. Ever notice, the longer you stay on, the more lbs it adds? It's crazy.

BTW, even though you know I love Dr. Schettino, the carrot thing did not go over big.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Remembrance of dogs past

There's a sweet op-ed piece acknowledging the pain of losing a pup and the connection between the new dog and the old in the Boston Globe today ("The Secret Messages on the Dog Bed" by Elissa Ely).

Having never lived in a home (my manners were atrocious, unless you think that standing on tables and knocking lamps over is OK—what did I know?) before I settled in here in ol' Swellesley, I gave Sparky some space. First I slept in my crate. Then I graduated to the guest room. Now, I start off in the guest room, or my crate if I'm scared, then around midnight head to Sparky's old chair in my folks' room.

Let's face it: I'm really too big to fit in there properly, although it's amazing how tiny I can make myself. But Sparky liked it, and my folks are used to having a dog there. It's cozy, worn, and I can check on my parents. As for secret messages, I think it's more like telepathy. We couldn't be more different, but we have lots in common.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

This hound's from the pound

Fave new read: Dogs by Emily Gravett. Found it yesterday at Wellesley Booksmith where I snagged three treats. Clearly, Barry was not on duty to limit my consumption.
    At first glance the cover pup looks like a basset hound, and I jealously thought, what is it with the fascination with these ill-proportioned hot dogs? Any time a hound is suggested in a children’s book, it’s always a basset. (see, for example, The Hound from the Pound; Lunchbox and the Aliens, and a  forthcoming Clive Cussler story that I’ll pass on. Sleep, Little One Sleep by Marion Dane Bauer, unfortunately out of print, has the cutest cover painting of a basset ever.)
    So groan, groan, even though one of my favorite pals, Padi, is an honorable member of the breed. Her mom is children’s author Barbara Barbieri McGrath, famous for her M&M-brand counting books. My mom’s non-candy favorite is The Little Green Witch, based on ye olde tale of the little red hen. Mom identifies a little too closely with that one. (BTW, tried snagging an M&M’s laced cookie last night—not bad, except that it was followed by Mom’s fingers down my throat.)
    Everyone says that Padi and I look alike, and we do—except that my legs are about two feet longer than hers. She’s a good sport, even dressing up like an actual hot dog on Halloween and baying at her parents' display of a big stuffed basset stuck in an enormous web that would intimidate even hard-working Charlotte. Check out Padi's pix on Barbara's home page.
    Anyway,  I noticed there was something very feathery about the cover dog’s ears, so I opened up the wraparound cover to learn this hound is an amalgam of sorts—not at all a purebred, but that’s OK. A basset is depicted inside, and so is a very nice-looking Dalmatian—tail a bit too long in the leaping scene, but great Sparkyish spots—and, wonder of wonders, an actual foxhound! Not truly wondrous, because Emily Gravett lives in England, where there are tons of my shorter-legged and –eared brethren. Also, she knows her foxhounds: I’m on the page of dogs that don’t bark.
    So there.
    Checking out the inside of the UK edition on, I noticed that the language of one spread was changed for the U.S. market from “stroppy” (scary bulldog) and “soppy” (puffball). Good move. Good book!