Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why did the turkey cross the road?

Clearly, he or she wanted to check out the new striping on Central Street, which has just about everybody confounded.

He also might have questioned why the striping was done before any repaving, but that question is better left to higher minds than his. Such as mine.

However, I enjoyed seeing him early of a morn, the sun just peeking up over the evergreens and the shimmer of water in the distance. It's my kind of weather, cool, dry and of course, sunny, so I've been packing a lot of vim and vigor into my day, as I told my pal Lucy's parents.

What's vim? you ask. Well, Lucy's folks conveniently have a large dictionary on a pedestal, so you can just look up words whenever you like. Vim: energy; enthusiasm, of which I have more than enough.

So to contain some of same, Mom tried the Easy Walk harness on me. Or, I should say, retried; perhaps she forgot that the problem with the harness was not that it had problems containing me but rather that it should more properly be called the Easy Balk harness.

For that is what I did, dear reader.

Stood there, simply stood there, until she was out of her mind. I knew she was out of treats, so guess who won this round of patience? When I want, I can be very, very patient. Very, very patient.

Fortunately for Mom, the mail carrier didn't know that we were engaged in this secret war, and he pulled off the road to greet me. Bored as I was, it was a relief. Plus, I nabbed a few more calories, just in case I did walk off —or, should I say, balk off— a few during my outing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween howling: be heard!

Tonight is Worldwide Howl at the Moon Night, and I say, why should tonight be any different? At least I'll have some others joining me in song, so my howls (or bays, to use the proper term) won't be so obvious.

Fat chance.

Anyway, I'm glad that others will try to express themselves. Today I read The Dog Who Cried Wolf by Keiko Kasza, about a pup named Moka who reads a book about wolves and runs out to the woods to get back to his roots.

Unfortunately, when he does realize his dream of howling at the moon, some wolves howl back, and scare the fur off of his little self!

Because I can howl, or rather, bay, anytime I want, I have no such desire to take off and live au naturel. Besides, in all my hikes through the Hunnewell Woods, I've never seen a king-sized bed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Incessant, unceasing barking, definition of

This post was inspired by the unceasing, or is it incessant, barking of several dogs in my neighborhood, most small and yippy, one large and menacing, but all annoying.

Being a rather quiet guy, I'm a bit puzzled by the commotion. Because (notice I did not use the word "since") I'm becoming known for my clear definition of terms, especially the difference between obstinate and obdurate, it occurred to me that I didn't quite know the difference between unceasing and incessant, or even if there was a difference.

So here's the deal: unceasing and incessant both basically mean "not coming to an end," which certainly is true of the noise around here (excepting of course, the immediate environs of moi, Tucker). However, incessant has a negative connotation, and is used when the unceasing barking has become unpleasant (in other words, immediately). The definition given for incessant is "continuing without pause or interruption."

The odd thing is, that after musing over these definitions this morning, this afternoon I went out for my walk, properly leashed, of course. One of the yippy dogs, improperly off leash, bounded out of her yard and attempted to attack me, several times, dashing forward, dashing back, baring her teeth and rolling her eyes in a most unseemly manner. Finally, provoked, I let loose with my sound of alarum usually reserved for the Siberian Husky (although it was the moderate version), but the thing kept approaching, gnashing its teeth and barking. Unceasingly. Incessantly. Annoyingly.

After it was all over, I went through the paces of my walk, but my heart wasn't in it, and when I got home, I went to sleep. Immediately.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Swellesley Inn: hotel for dogs?

Time for me to make a reservation for my own room, or so it seems. No sooner did Grandma finish up her visit than our cousins booked the place for the weekend.

What is this, a revolving door? A B&B? All Mom does now is bake muffins and wash bedding. It's ridiculous. What I want is a dedicated sleeping spot, and so I proved my point this week. First, I pouted in my beanbag. And I mean in.

Next, I took advantage of the guest-ready parlor (parlance for small living room just right for some good sleeping) and snuggled on the loveseat (white). However, I was not there long enough to pose for a photo.

Then, just as Mom was about to do more bedding, I scored the down comforter as I came back from my marathon walk. Notice I do look a bit embarrassed, but not embarrassed enough to move. In fact, thanks to the laptop, I still haven't gotten up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

No trophy for me at Columbus Day gorge-fest

Ever notice how people must have food nearby at every opportunity, as if they were threatened with starvation if they didn't eat something for, say, an hour? It's as sure as fleas in summer, and I am onto it big time.

For example, last Columbus Day was a food bonanza. Natick hosted a big soccer tournament, and it's true, children did run around after a ball, but, to my nose, the food trumped play.  I was kind of like Templeton the rat in Charlotte's Web: I just couldn't stop gorging myself on rolls, hotdogs, hamburgers, whatever I found—discarded of course. I'm not even sure just what was on the menu, but if it smelled like food, I ate it. And it was everywhere.

My only disappointment was that I didn't receive a trophy. I showed up, didn't I? I ate my share of food, no? I ran around, yes? So what was the problem?

Besides food, many participants, whether winners or not, received trophies. That's something that Ashley Merryman of Nurture Shock says is a no-no. Not everyone wins, right? Well, I bayed and bayed, but somehow people were not amused. They just didn't get it. And I didn't get one.

But I did win. Because when I got home, Dad asked whether I had eaten yet. "Not officially," Mom answered. So I ate some surplus rations anyway, and that was just as good as a trophy to me. Actually, it was even better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sleep deprivation: threat or menace?

What does it take to get some shuteye around here? I'm exhausted. Grandma has been visiting, and that means I've been kicked out of my room.

You know what it's like to have to sleep on the couch when visitors come? That's what I'm going through. The door to my room remains shut tight. No Tuckers allowed. I've been moping around, looking as morose as possible, hoping someone will take pity on me.

No such luck.

Instead, Grandma blames my depression on meeting some lower-class dogs at the Medway dog park, where I have just gained admission (I actually had a great time. More on that later, when I'm feeling better.). Why she persists in this erroneous line of thinking, I do not know.

So, it's from the beanbag to the crate, the chair in Mom and Dad's room, the sleeping cushion in the family room, my sister's bed...I just keep switching from place to place, disoriented, practically falling to pieces.

As Mom learned from Ashley Merryman's visit to Wellesley this week, she of the book Nurture Shock, sleep deprivation is cumulative; after a week of losing an hour's sleep a night, you've lost a whole night! Grandma's visiting for a whole week. How much is that in dog years?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The horror, the horror! Or, you broke it, you bought it

Last week, I officially opened the Halloween season with a trick at Tilly and Salvy's Bacon Street Farm: noting a seasonal display of scarecrows sitting beguilingly on hay bales, I immediately ransacked same.

As I seized the scarecrows and prepared to shake the stuffing out of them, I knocked over an adorable ghost-shaped votive candle holder ($2.99), also perched on a bale, and smashed it to smithereens. Oops!

Mom picked up the pieces and went inside to admit my crime. Rick came out to admonish me (actually, he very kindly let it go and petted me). However, I was so entranced with those stuffed creatures that I shook a few more on my way home, just to show them who's the boss.

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.