Sunday, February 13, 2011

A lip-smackin' St. Valentine's gift, and eye candy, too

I snuffled into Mom's grocery bag before she could unpack it, and pulled out a big, gorgeous bone from Castor & Pollux, via our favorite market, Tilly and Salvy's Bacon Street Farm.

So I received my Valentine gift early, but that just means I can be chewing on it while checking out the competition during Mondays's hound group at the Westminster Dog Show. Two new breeds are crowding the hound field this year: the Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound. My breed, of course, the venerable American Foxhound, first entered the field in 1877, the very first year the show was held.

Unfortunately, we have never won Best in Show. Hounds rarely do: remember the big to-do when Uno the Beagle won in 2008?

Perhaps it has something to do with my breed's lack of affinity for grooming (see my recent piece on pedicures). Certainly it has nothing to do with our natural beauty. I cannot predict, alas, a BIS (the au courant know that's Westminster shorthand for Best in Show) this year, but were I a candidate, things surely would be different.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The lady...or the pedicure?

I would have preferred the girl.
I'm your typical full-blooded male, so put yourself in my paws: if you could choose between a date with a young, gorgeous girl or the opportunity to be manhandled to within an inch of your life so you could get a mani-pedi, which would it be?

I'm just saying. Because Mom thinks a bully stick is enough to make up for my being thrust into a muzzle, wrestled by three gigantic people and placed on a platform, where I was tied up and forced to endure said brutalization of my nails. Mani-pedi, indeed! They practically put me in a straitjacket!

All of this went on in front of this young creature, who, I might add, was just as interested in moi as I was in her. Truly, I cannot imagine anything more humiliating.

Mom, however, begs to disagree (and what does she know about begging?). After she was ejected from the tonsorial parlor for her unhelpful interference, she ran into two of our neighbors. They expressed concern, noticing that she and her wallet were limp with emotional and monetary exhaustion (pedicure: $10; muzzle and straitjacket: $5; bully stick, $7.99; tips, undocumented). She fessed up and so claims, too, to have undergone embarrassment.

To reciprocate, I refused to get back in the car, even with the bully stick bribe just waiting there for me. Adding to the impact, the neighbors had parked in the space next to mine, so they witnessed my fully-deserved tantrum.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The snow also falls by Ernest M. Tuckerby

The woods were white and the snow was crusty. Something had laid down a path and I followed it. The scent of fox was strong and I followed the scent and the path. I skyrocketed over the ridge and pointed at the top. If I took a step off the path I was in snow up to my hips.

Mom lost a Yaktrax but it was not the time to go back and look for it. From across the creek I heard howling and caterwauling and I shut my ears. I could smell blood and I told Mom to close her nose. There was the scent of blood and the sound of blood and I didn't want Mom to smell it or hear it. I pinned my ears back but I kept my tail up to show that I wasn't afraid.

We turned around and took the path through the marsh. The marsh looked like a meadow and the snow almost reached the birdhouses that stand high over the water in the spring. The snow was crusty and the path widened and Mom limped along the path. When we came out of the woods the Jehovah's Witnesses were coming down from Maine in their shiny cars and I went home and ate breakfast and took a nap.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Everything you want to know about your dog...

I could tell you, but if you'd rather speak to a human, the "Ask Dog Lady" communicator, Monica Collins, is heading to Boston's Bark Place spa and boutique on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Not only is she sharing her expertise, she's offering one-on-one consultations! OK, Dog Lady, I'd like to flip this scenario and have you answer these questions:

1. What makes Mom and Dad think I want to go outside in nasty weather? I mean, if school's canceled and the kids have to stay in, I'd like to stay in, too. Which leads to...
2. How does one handle lifestyle differences in the same family? In other words, they're active, I'm not. Discuss.
3. Why can't I sit in the front seat?
4. What is the difference, exactly, between pet food and people food? Because I'm sick of eating the same old, same old, day in and day out.
5. Petiquette question: Do I have to have playdates with all of Mom and Dad's friends' dogs, or can I just invite the ones I like?

Bark Place must know how to bring in the crowds, because attendees receive merchandise discounts, and food will be available for "both two- and four-legged friends." there a difference?

Ask the Dog Lady, from 12-2, at Bark Place. Call to reserve a free spot: 857-362-7494. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Outside? No, thanks!

I ran upstairs to the protection of my room.
Does one have to speak English to be able to communicate the fact that it's absolutely horrible outside, so I would really rather not take the air?

Apparently, yes. This morning, my family, two behind and one in front, deliberately forced me into this wild, wild weather, with another foot of snow having fallen and icy pellets pinging off my insulated jacket (collar popped, of course). Ping! Ping! Ping! Isn't that enough warning to heed?

Having no verbal say in the matter, I at last consented to trek to the end of the street, and then, being able to master Mom, turned around and, picking up plenty of steam for the return trip, dragged her back in. You know, to put herself in my paws, for a change.

How did she like it? Not one bit, because she objected to Dad feeding me.

Harrumph. Of course, with Dad in charge of the food bin, I got my way. Again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Carb loading: it's a good thing

You know how I've been salivating for a bagel, and how my dad ruthlessly threw away my precious bagel find.

So, my sister was home for the snowday, and Mom was in charge of lunch. Opportunity #1. (Mom is a rather lackluster lunchmaker, as opposed to Short-Order Dad, who's a genius.

My sister takes out a couple of bagels, Mom goes to do some icicle destroying. Opportunity #2. (I set this one up by refusing to go out the back door underneath dripping icicles. After all, wouldn't want to suffer from the elements.)

I sneak and take a bagel, very, very quietly. And I just take one, because two definitely would be noticed.

After my snack, I take a nap, conveniently timed to coincide with Mom's lunch.

Just to top it off, the next day, while Dad's heating up some chicken parm with pasta, I swipe my share. (Opportunity #3.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Canine couture: paws up or down? And, to pop the collar, or not?

"Does the dog need a coat?" asks the Wall Street Journal, in a surprisingly indulgent piece on the human obsession with canine anthropomorphism. (I mean, do they really care?)

Photo 1. Flannel sheets are better than a coat.
Well, to that first question, the answer depends on whether one chooses to go outside. For example, if the temp is under, say, 32 degrees, I believe one does not need a coat, for one is most likely to stay under the covers, preferably flannel. (see photo #1)

Photo 2. Biscuit at the beach.
Moreover, if it is a lovely summer day and one is at the beach, I would also say no (see photo #2 of my soulmate, Biscuit. And wouldn't she look stunning in a bikini?) At most, one might need a terry robe with which to towel off.

My nose is an excellent tool, both barometer and thermometer. Each morning I stretch my neck out toward the open door, but never beyond, until I obtain the correct reading. Most often, these bitterly cold and snowy days, I stay in. Way in.

The Journal quotes Rene Carlson, president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association, giving  this cost-cutting fashion tip: Rather than splurging on expensive gear, "A child's sweatshirt from a thrift shop cut to fit and bundled under a dog's belly with a zip tie can do the trick."

I'm sorry, but that kind of DIY wouldn't satisfy the need to dress up a dog. Plus, I suspect the zip tie might not fit around a belly such as mine.

Photo 3. Collar popped and ready.
A more essential question when Dad insists on taking me out in such abysmal conditions: collar popped, or not? (see photo #3 for popped option.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

What does it take to get a decent bagel around here?

Ok, so I'm from the South, and don't know a bagel from a bialy. In theory.

Truth is, I've been salivating for a bagel for two whole days, and I knew exactly where to find one: deep inside a snowbank next to Morses Pond.

I first sniffed it out when I was down there with Dad, who grew wise to my game. Then this morning, during the storm, I tried to drag Mom down the steep hill to the pond. Steep for her, that is.

"Tucker," she said as I weathervaned myself in the right direction. "I'm not going down there. It's too icy." When she tempted me with a treat, I lost my willpower and gave in.

Tried again tonight. I moped around until someone noticed. Once again dragging Mom in my wake, I faked like I wanted to go for a neighborhood stroll, then homed in on my pondside treat. That bagel was sending out a signal like a semaphore, even though the night was pitch black. I dove into the snowbank and came up victorious.  Then zoomed home, with the frozen delicacy well ensconced in my capacious jaws, while Mom flailed behind.

My plan worked perfectly, until I dropped the dear, cold bagel on the living room rug and prepared my attack. Ignoring my bared teeth, Dad picked up said bagel, and dropped it, sorry to say, into the—gulp—trash.