Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Close our local post offices? No way!

The PO is right across from Goldthwaite's and Pool Lobster.
Just back from charming Biddeford Pool, Maine, where the tiny local post office not only posts mail, but photos of its local pet population, with their names. It's perfectly situated opposite the general store, which along with a real estate office and gift shop, makes up the Pool's total commercial area.

Mail is important to me, especially the carriers who deliver it, and the treats they carry.

Fortunately, the Pool's PO is not on the U.S. Postal Service's list of potential closures, but I shudder to think that it might. I also love the PO at Babson College, and I shudder to think of the office at Boston College shuttered.

Lots of figures can be found on, such as the fact that letter carriers drive 4.1 million miles each day to deliver that precious mail, but no figures are given on how many dog treats they deliver, or the intangibles of how well they know their customers.

For example, I roused myself from sleep Monday afternoon and went for a walk. Bingo! There at the end of the street was my favorite letter carrier. "Tucker! I haven't seen you! What's the matter—too hot for you?"

I nodded and sat heavily at the truck's running board. "You're unbelievable," he astutely commented, and gave me several treats. Now that kind of goodwill is worth keeping our p.o.'s open, and our letter carriers gainfully employed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day tripping on Peaks Island, Maine

A bit pricey, but it is a round trip ticket, and unless I could
channel Diana Nyad, wouldn't try swimming to the island.

I'm a fan of Casco Bay Lines. Along with my ticket, I received a handful of treats and even was invited to put my paws up on the counter, just like the regulars.

However, it being my very first ferry ride, I was a tad frightened. Fortunately, along came a savior in the form of Angela, one of the founders of Coonhound Companions, which aims to promote my breed as perfect pets.

Angela certainly knows her hounds. She tagged me as  a Walker right away, then showed me pix of her ooh-la-la Black and Tan, Olivia. (That's a photo of Olivia on the Coonhound Companions home page.) Angela kindly pointed me up the inner stairs, away from the loud engine noise, then she and Mom settled in for a meaty discussion of the hound sensibility.

You must check out the website for the official "Top Ten Reasons Why Coonhounds are the Best Dogs Ever." I couldn't agree more. Check out their promotional kit, with incredibly cute photos of gorgeous hounds that are free to distribute, as well as the Long Ears blog.

My favorite poster is the "Long Ears=Lotsa Fun!" in which a hound who looks just like moi is riding in a boat, ears blown back. Kind of like me on the Casco Bay ferry!

Speaking of swimming, I'm in awe of Diana Nyad, who hopes this summer to complete a swim from Cuba to Key West.   She blogs that she greatly misses her dogs, Scout and Teddy. Guess they'd rather take the ferry, too.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Canines and cocktails at the Wellesley College Club? I'm in!

So check this out: every Thursday this summer, from 5-7, the Wellesley College Club is hosting "Canines and Cocktails" on its gorgeous terrace overlooking Lake Waban. Seems the event is part of an effort promoting the Club as a pet-friendly hotel. Glad to hear it!

Having just returned from vaca in laid-back Biddeford Pool, Maine, which also is a very pet-friendly place, I'm in need of a bit more relaxation. Took in a bit too much sun and am enervated as a result. Nothing that a good long sleep won't cure, followed, of course, by a good long slurp.

Completely enervated by the heat in Portland,
I crashed on Peaks Island, where the ocean
breeze was strong and cool.

What's the difference between enervated and exhausted, you ask? You've asked the right pup, one very practiced in sleeping. Enervated: to feel weakened and drained of energy; exhausted, to feel drained of one's physical or mental resources.

What, not enlightened yet?

Let's look at the roots: exhausted from the Latin verb meaning to draw water out, or drain. Enervated, also from the Latin, meaning weakened at the sinews. Weary to the very bone.

In other words, dog-tired. Just like me. Until Thursday at 5, that is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The best toys in the world—for a dog, that is

The best toys: as close as I can get to the real thing.
Found these at Pet World: love those Kitty City cats!
With my stay at Liz's coming up, Mom finally realized my time away from home might be made less miserable if I had a new toy. Look, I'm crazy about the selection of beds at Liz's, so I really was OK with the whole vaca thing, but I figured, let's assuage the guilt and get something out of it, too.

Checked out the selection at Especially for Pets, but came up with nada. I could not care less, but Mom is opposed to the introduction of neon into our color scheme. However, being a traditionalist, I prefer toys that look like the real thing. After all, if I'm going to play with it, why not make it something I might amuse myself with in real life?

Being that there were no life-size bears, racoons or foxes in the store, we gave up.
But not before I snagged a few lamb twists.

You know how you can't eat just one M&M? Well, except for Mom, most people can't. Anyway, I started snapping up these little lamb twists like they were popcorn. At $3.79 a snap, Mom was fainting away. At least, I thought, I'm not going for the tracheas or other esophageal parts.

So here's the odd thing: while the store had no animal replicas (OK, there was a hedgehog, in two sizes, but I like hedgehogs) it did have an array of unstuffed animals. Being that unstuffing them is where it's all at, I just didn't get the point.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Post-vacation blues? For me, there's no place like home

Had a great time at Liz's ( but really, there's no place like home. Came home after a couple of days on vaca while my family took off for college orientation.

I checked out all the beds at Liz's.
On campus, they were greeted by a good omen: a Dalmatian trotting right in front of the student union. Now, while not as gorgeous nor as fit as Sparky (who had no compare), the sight of a happy, spotted pup made everyone feel good about this new stage in life. All went well, and they were home practically before I knew it.

I was too tired to do much when I got home, but with last night's good sleeping weather, soon regained my beastliness. After my hour and a half walk, I: bayed at the top of my lungs; ran around with my new stuffed fox; dug up a whole patch of lily of the valley; nearly took a bath in the fish pond.

That was in the first minute. No place like home, indeed.

At Liz's, I tested the "no-shred" claim on my dragon toy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The natural order of things: me first

It's pretty hard to move 90 lbs. of resoluteness.
"Who was that walking Tucker the other day?" complained the mailman. "She wouldn't let me give him a treat!"

I'm kind of like a therapy dog: I make people happy. When I let out a good, loud, bay, everyone laughs, and thus they are happy for a few moments. Feeding me makes the mailman happy. But my sister is tough, and what she says goes.

Here's the order of things in my family.
1. Mom is the pushover. She believes she has authority. In reality, she has none. It's so fun to see how far I can go with her—and I can go pretty far! Miles, in fact.
2. I kind of feel sorry for Dad. He doesn't know the first thing about discipline, and I appreciate that. I go along with what he wants most of the time. After all, we guys have to stick up for each other.
3. My sister is an equestrian, and she learned early that sweet talk gets you nowhere with horses. I am the size of a small pony, and, given that I'm bred to run all around horses, must have picked up some behavior tips somewhere along the line.  I spook, I buck, I canter—and in the stubborn dept., I have no rivals.

I've learned that Mom plans to record my sister's voice giving me commands before she heads off to college, then play them back at crucial moments. For example, when I refuse to do something, which is often.

 I'll just play along, as if I don't know the difference between a real person speaking and some tinny recording, and then we'll see, once again, who's really the boss.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More goodbyes--and hello, John W. Schaum!

I made a special trip to say goodbye to dear Kiki.
Last week my dear friend Kiki left for Florida. I fear I'll never see her again, me not good with flying and Mom not good with long car rides. It was Kiki who Mom rescued from a Lake Waban goose chase and Kiki with whom I took long walks during gorgeous fall days.

We were kind of a "Lady and the Tramp" pair, even though of course my lineage is just as good as hers. I'm certainly quite as good-looking; however, my manners can be a bit rough. I shall miss her companionship, and her tolerance of moi, greatly.

Kiki's family gave us many parting gifts, including a piano. I do not like the bass notes at all, as they remind me a bit too much of the crazy fireworks that went on and on and on, somewhere, last night. Fortunately my sister's closet is well-equipped with a sleeping bag on which I tried to take some measure of comfort.

So I made myself scarce when Mom opened up her old John W. Schaum Piano Course book, Pre-A, The Green Book. It's been 40 years since she last played, so I agree that it certainly is best to begin at the beginning. She tried to tempt me out from the far corner of the upstairs closet with that old favorite, "Bone Sweet Bone," but as you know, I cannot be bribed.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rep. Peisch promotes patriotic right in time for Fourth

While the balloons still are going strong, I thought we were done with all the Wellesley High graduation hoopla and the plethora of encomia that my sister earned with her years of hard work. That work meant significant sacrifices on the part of moi, who suffered from loneliness while she toiled.

But not so. Our very own state representative, Alice Hanlon Peisch, also wrote, not only to congratulate my sister on her graduation, but to remind her of one more rite of passage. Rep. Peisch's kind note, which she personalized with a handwritten message noting a theatre award won by sis, included a voter registration card.

A snappy idea, nicely done, and a perfect prelude to the Fourth of July. Now, if only dogs could have the right to vote, I'd propose that all drinking fountains be outfitted for dogs as well as humans. If they have them at the Jersey Shore (and they do) can't we have some in Wellesley? Rep. Peisch, can you do anything about that?

Fitting that suffrage, though a Middle English word for intercessory prayers, was first used to denote the right to vote in the dear old US of A.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodbye, Dr. Schettino!

If a foxhound bays forlornly in Wellesley, can it be heard in  Springfield?
I'm diligent about checking my pmail, but not so my email, so it was with a shock that I opened a note from my very favorite vet in the world, Dr. Edward Schettino. We had kind of a Sunday visit thing going that I looked forward to.
In a way.

He writes:

Hi Tucker,
I didn't have the proper time today to say good-bye.
[here, I sighed loudly, and Mom shrieked]  I will be leaving VCA Westboro, my last day is June 30th.  [egads! that's tomorrow--I will pout all day in protest] I will begin work in July at VCA Southwick (close to Springfield)  as Medical Director.  It is a very bitter:sweet move ... but I needed to push myself forward. [I do understand, but can you leave me?]
It was a pleasure taking care of you for the last couple of years
[of course] and I wish you a long healthy life. [ditto] I don't think I will ever meet a dog more stubborn  .... that is not a negative .... [indeed, I take it as a great compliment] it just makes you YOU! [true, unique I am]

I will keep following your tails on your blog!
[please do, though I must grieve for a while before I set to writing again]
Best regards,

 [What an incredibly dear guy. I highly doubt I'll discover again the perfect combo of smart, professional, and fun vet. More crucially, who can I find who will consider my shenanigans humorous, perhaps even endearing? Given what I've tried to pull, anyone else would have run the other way when they saw me coming.] 

So fare thee well, dear doc, all the best, and happy trails to you. Many thanks for your patience, professionalism and expertise. I will miss you greatly.