Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear Mr. President, I can help with Bo

So, I see that someone from Bellevue, Wash. visited my blog for advice on training an obstinate dog. One could not find a more expert authority. Therefore, I propose my services to none other than our president.

I've always felt a bond with Bo. Actually, I had been lobbying for the president to choose a foxhound as the First Dog, given the pertinent history of my breed. (You know, George Washington, Lafayette, etc., etc.) However, I hold no grudge, especially given the late Sen. Kennedy was the generous benefactor.

But I have noticed that Bo has taken his place at the head of the family. See Politico's story on what Cesar Millan thinks. (And, btw, reporter Patrick Gavin, the Dog Whisperer's name is spelled Millan, not Milan; that's the city.) Even I think my dad is tops, and while he knows the U.S. Constitution inside and out, he's never taken the oath of office.

Bo, pal, you need to shape up.  Here's our family hierarchy: Dad, my sister, me, and Mom (I have to preside over someone!). When Mom went to visit the hounds at the Norfolk Hunt Club, she was keenly aware that the hounds never ventured in front of their master. It's a major no-no.

Here are my tips for the Obamas.
First, load up your pockets with the best treats you can find. Lots of them.
Then, find a harness that will help keep that furry body contained. It will give you more traction, and he won't mind too too much.
Next, start walking on a short leash. Practice sit every couple of steps. Give tons of treats.

Tucker's Tip: Here's a trick that drives dogs crazy: the minute they start to pull, you turn around and walk the other way. Now, it might seem odd for a president to be walking in circles, and we certainly don't want anyone to extrapolate any political meaning to same, so perhaps Sasha and Malia can take on this job.

Soon, Bo will be walking proudly next to his dad, and he can channel his other demanding behaviors for the privacy of his own home. After all, it's his castle, too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A rainy day and a Monday=extra sleep time

A tad under the weather this week, plus it's raining, so it's a good day to sleep in.

Licked something I shouldn't have that fell off a garbage truck, keeping me up at all hours of the night. And I mean all. Fortunately, the skies were clear, so Mom appreciated being able to chart the changing constellations—I mean, who sees Orion in September, unless it's 4 a.m.? She literally counted those lucky stars.

Then, just when I had recovered, a bee stung my right paw. Thank goodness, I'm a leftie when it comes to high-fives and shake, so I haven't missed out on any treats. Somehow, my injury didn't keep me from pretending I hadn't eaten already, so I gobbled down double feedings—one from Mom, one from Dad. It is getting to be trick-or-treat time, so why not? There were a few days when I had practically no calories at all, and I really needed to catch up.

Should be up and about carousing soon. Unless it's raining, of course. Anyone know a good bedtime story?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New owners for Wellesley Booksmith: paws up!

Wow! I'm thrilled that my favorite Wellesley Square destination, the Wellesley Booksmith, has new owners (see today's Globe news story). Hooray to Gillian and Bill Kohli! I'm reassured that Gillian says she intends to keep everything going as usual: for moi, of course, that means great fresh water, treats and constant inquiries about my health and well-being.

For example, last week Margaret was quite concerned that I might waste away unless I was handed a treat immediately. And then Rebecca made sure that I was properly fed before going out into that cold, vastness of the Square. (Actually, it's just a few steps down to Pinnacle's real estate office, where I am regularly refreshed. But I won't tell her that.)

So welcome, Gillian and Bill, and congratulations! I can't wait to be properly introduced. Paw?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A taste of the upper crust

OK, so it's not every day that a good ole Southern boy like me gets the opportunity to mingle with the upper crust. I have to say, I liked it very much—the pizza, I mean.

Mom prides herself on making her own pizza, so it's very rare for us to let someone else's fingers in the dough. But in between one thing and another, we found ourselves with no time to do any home cooking. Turns out, the Upper Crust Pizzeria was in between both things we had to do. That very afternoon, her fitness pal Barbara had suggested the place. Mom listened politely, paying special attention to Barbara Biceps' recommendation of the spinach leaf pie.

B.B. used to have a fetching black lab who palled around with Sparky. Both, sadly, are gone now, and both knew the realms of the upper crust (not the pizza) quite well. Born to it, you might say.

Because I'm obviously not to the manor born, but rather to its kennel back a ways into the woods, I had to settle for waiting outside the cafe for the pizza to cook. It's a super place right in Wellesley Square, and I was fortunate enough to notice some choice crumbs underneath the little outdoor tables.

Ah, Italia! My sister noticed the equal-opportunity no-animal signs on shops when she visited Roma: a slash through a rooster, cat, horse, and dog. As if those other creatures could even appreciate the treasures of Italy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cave feline, canines forever!

Though I'm not violently opposed to cats, one never knows when my coiled spring of athleticism might suddenly go off. So it was with considerable trepidation that I entered Wellesley Booksmith yesterday, Mom having received its email newsletter featuring, I believe, its first cat ever. Well, good for them, following the Golden Rule, etc. etc. etc., I charitably thought in the abstract.

After gorging on treats at both front and back counters, I paused. Was that a meow? Again I paused, tilting my gorgeous head and opening my sail-like ears to the fullest. My ears luffed during a lull, then became taut. A meow it was! And again, and again, and again.

Mom and Dad both claim to be allergic to felines, in the way of those who just don't like something. Grandma, for example, claims to be allergic to cilantro ("tastes like soap") when in reality, she's just hypersensitive, one of those rare supertasters with a questionable gift. My sister, however, is fond of all creatures, and one must love her for that, although I hope she never brings a c-a-t home.

So there I was, torn. Real, or not real? Being superaudio (if I may coin a term), I detected something robotic in the catlike utterance, and went to investigate. A tot was opening and closing a kitty book with its meowing electronic chip. Did the thrall of this toy last? I triumphantly can say, the book dropped to the floor when the tot beheld me in my awesomeness. Canines forever! Anyone know the Latin for beware of cat?

Monday, September 6, 2010

City Dog, Country Frog: what were they thinking?

OK, I've been avoiding this topic all summer, but it's really gotten under my skin. You think I'd love it: a foxhound lovingly treated by the brilliant watercolorist Jon J Muth, combined with text by the exceedingly clever Mo Willems.

Despite countless ads in the New Yorker and glowing reviews, my take on it is this: this effort simply does not work. First, deep and sincere thanks to Mr. Muth for deciding to highlight my distinguished breed. I often complain about the missed opportunities to showcase my, I mean, our handsomeness. Yet, since when is a hound a city dog? A hound is nothing but a country dog! Even Mom must admit that one reason I garner so much attention is because of my rarity here in Swellesley. My family is known for tackling tough cases when it comes to canines, so they didn't mind my country manners (read: none) too much. The owners in the book, though they never make an appearance, must have been awfully glad to get that hound back to the country.

Ok, so right dog, wrong book. The story simply makes no sense. It also has no connection to the Aesop fable The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, one of Mom's favorites.

In this effort, a dog meets a frog and they become friends. Hounds are extremely kind beings, true. I have not only two rabbits in my pack but a gazillion fish and three frogs. Although I receive my liquid refreshment from our outdoor pond, I would never dream of harming those amphibians. Somehow, I don't think they'd be great playmates, either.

And, frogs overwinter without any trouble at all, so why does this frog not reemerge in spring? We are not told. In one truly frightening picture, the hound's face is distorted to become frog-like as he remembers his friend. Then, once the reader has absorbed the fact that the frog is gone, the dog makes a new friend, just like that, with an even unlikelier creature. Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis does a better job of addressing the cruelties of nature, friendship, and loss. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of print.

My favorite dog book du jour doesn't deal with any of the above heavy topics, but the joy of reading: Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates. Completely adorable, just like me.