Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wild beast on the loose in Wellesley and Natick!

It's a wild, wild world when I'm going at full tilt.
It's true. In violation of local bylaws, I was off-leash and not under voice control. (I should point out that I never have been under voice control, or any other control, for that matter. And let's be honest: we've all met tons of offenders like me). However, unlike many who simply are released intentionally, my liberty was obtained through guile and deceit (plus some nifty shimmying).

It happened like this: my all-too-generous cousins offered to take me for a walk, the rain having stopped and myself no longer in danger of melting. Unfamiliar with my restraining apparatus, they chose the simple collar and leash approach. I hid my glee, pretending not to notice their error.

Once we were underway, I wasted no time. I unveiled my Houdini impression, slipped the surly bonds of my collar/leash combo, and took off. I visited the Airedale down the street (she, poor thing, never ventures out of her fenced area) and investigated some choice scents emanating from a side yard. It was there, armed with treats proffered to them by a kind neighbor, that my cousins captured me.

That's what they think. It would have been awfully beastly of me to let them head home, hound-less. They would have felt terribly guilty.  Not something I would worry about, but as I did detect a drop of rain, the call of my dry, warm, man cave was irresistible.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One fish, two fish, three fish—too many fish!

Last year's babies. They're much larger now, and even prettier.
Big fish in a small pond: that's the case here. And the problem: they all are big, leaving barely any room for me to take a drink.

Remember Henry Huggins? Author Beverly Cleary's eponymous creation yearned for guppies—and he got them, jars and jars and jars of them. (He also wanted a dog, Ribsy, which is why this book is one of my favorite reads of all time.) Time for another definition: the adjective eponymous has to do with a person giving their name to something. So in this case, Henry Huggins is the title of the book and the name of the main character. Got it?

So the Huggins-like fish population explosion happened this way: Two years ago, we started with five small comet fish from Russell's Garden Center in Wayland. Last year, those five small fish had grown exponentially, and they produced more than 60 babies. We thought we gave most of them away, more than 40 three-inch babies to a friend with a big pond but hardly any fish.

On the lookout for fish at Morses Pond. Less colorful, but still fun to scare.
But, you know, a pond can be dark, and fish are excellent at hiding.

Of course, I knew there were more fish in there, but since I still had plenty of open water to lap, I didn't make a big deal of it.

Come spring, though, those babies—more than 20—surfaced, and now they are almost as big as their gigantic parents. They're also eating their way through plenty of expensive bags of Hikari Gold pellet food.

So if you need some fish, let me know. Gorgeous fish to a good pond only, within baying distance, so that would be Wellesley or Natick. I'll personally deliver them. Then, I'll go home and take a good long drink.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Want good luck? Say "rabbit, rabbit"

Licorice's ears are almost as long as mine.
The superstition is that if you say "rabbit, rabbit," or something like that, on the first day of every month, as soon as you wake up, that you'll have good luck.

One great aspect of hounds is that we are friends to all animals, unless, of course, we are hunting them. I am quite fond of rabbits, domestic and wild.

So I've been hanging around our bunny cage, just getting ready, you know. The first day of the month comes, and instead of talking, I just give a long, loud (is there any other kind) bay directly into the bunny cage. Boy, did that perk up those long ears! Think that counts?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Got pheromones? Calming a Tucker-cane is a challenge

I can go from mild

to wild,  in no time at all.
I have to admit: I can be a little wild, especially when the temperature drops. I'm also sensitive, especially to thunderstorms, nail clipping, fireworks, etc, etc. So Mom consulted with the vet, who suggested a dog pheromone collar. It releases chemicals into the environment that are supposed to be the least invasive way to help calm an anxious pup. My nails are getting a bit long, and Mom wasn't about to let the groomer put the straitjacket on me again.

So Mom puts the collar on me, and because I've taken to sleeping in my sister's closet, she objects to the smell (it's scented, for humans, I guess...they can't smell the pheromones). I'm also preternaturally calm, to which Dad objects. [Definition of preternatural: beyond that which is normal, or natural. Calm is definitely not my natural state, unless I am asleep.]

It's unsettling and true: I'm almost comatose. I can barely make it out of the closet.

They put the collar away, but I do have a large nose, and of course I can still pick up on the chemical messages. So I'm calm. Then Hurricane Irene decides to head up the coast, and we lose power. Oh no—that means that Mr. Smoke Detector Man will announce the restarting of power.  Mom worries about everything. Maybe she's the one who really needs the collar, I think.

I try the collar again. It works. But once the storm passes, my family just can't take the calm version of me. I'm just so incredibly...shall I say, boring? It's like Hurricane Irene being downgraded to a drizzle. So it's off with the collar.

Just in case the storm, whatever its formal name, wasn't exciting enough for you, I'm available to wreak havoc in your yard or home. Just call. I'll leave the pheromone collar at home.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tales of devoted dogs and faithful friends

Did you read the touching tale of the Navy SEAL dog who laid by his owner's coffin and heaved a huge sigh?

The story of Jon Tumilson, one of the 30 Americans heartbreakingly killed in Afghanistan, and his Labrador, Hawkeye, has to make everyone recognize the importance of the human-canine bond.

Two great children's books, Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman, and Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog (and the movie, Hachi) tell the story of a pup who met his professor owner every afternoon at the Shibuya train station in Japan. After his owner died at work, the Akita waited at the train station, for 10 years, until his own death. A statue of Hachiko at the station commemorates the relationship.

We dogs are faithful, loyal, and smart. We remember. We wait. And we love our human families.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Morose, forlorn, or just so darn depressed?

If I look forlorn/morose/depressed enough, will she call?
In missing my sister Golden Hair, newly off to college, I attempted to determine which word most nearly described my state of mind. In my last post on this topic, I used the word forlorn. But then it occurred to me: perhaps I actually am morose.

Upon consulting my dictionary, I find that morose means sullen and ill-tempered. Me? Never!
Depressed? "(of a person) In a state of unhappiness or despondency." Hmm. The dictionary does not include (of a dog), even a very smart one like me. So, I believe that my instinct to use forlorn was correct. Definition: pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely.

Ouch. It hurts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthshaking news happened while I was sleeping

Remember that adorable movie, While You Were Sleeping, starring Sandra Bullock as the subway token seller who saves the annoying rich guy from the train tracks, then pretends she's engaged to him? He wakes up from his coma, but she's fallen in love with his brother?

Well, that movie (called Coma Guy while a work in progress) was written by Dan Sullivan, my good pal. But I digress before I even begin.

Today's earthquake apparently was felt in Wellesley, though not by me. Sensitive though I am, I was, not surprisingly, sleeping at 2 p.m. Though something roused me, so that soon afterward, I demanded a ride in the car and a walk on the Brook Path.

Perhaps I did feel the quake. After all, it takes something really earthshattering to wake me out of a sound sleep.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

College dropoff blues

Why did she have to go off and leave me? Aren't I smart enough
to get into RPI?
I've got those dropoff blues. Bad.  My sister's gone, off to begin her freshman year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Great, great school, but the only animals they allow are fish (in a generous 20-gallon tank). Well, we have the fish, certainly, and I can swim, but somehow I don't think she has room in her triple for a 90-lb. male (although the floor is co-ed). That 20-gallon tank would be way too small, and much too uncomfortable, for me. And I'm all about comfort.

Here I am looking forlorn in my RPI red bandanna.

Good luck, sis! I will miss you tons.

PS. Can I have your room?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Partying it up at the Wellesley College Club

Longest nose (and legs) brings new meaning
to "first come, first served."
Two dog birthday parties in Swellesley last night, and because it looked like there were No Dogs Allowed at the Wellesley Free Library (besides Mariah, the famous pet therapy dog and guest of honor), I pointed myself toward the Wellesley College Club.

Sandwich cookies = yum!
Thursday night soirees at the club have become a habit with the top dogs in town. Last night, Suzy celebrated her 15th birthday, and boy, was there a great spread, which was a good thing given that I had to share treats with so many folks. One human guest was going for the Oreo-type cookies when she was warned they were for dogs, only.

Happy Birthday to Suzy!
I tried to give Suzy my pickup line, but she took me literally—no, she didn't come here often. In fact, it was her first visit to Canines and Cocktails (Thursdays, 4-7).  Still, she looked fetching in her birthday hat.

I helped myself to oodles of treats, and was thrilled when my friend Lucy showed up. Fashionably late, I might add. I didn't mind—it just added to her irresistible charm.

See how attentive Lucy looks? That's because she listens to her folks—most of the time. I'm saving the other photo of me being attentive and her zoning out, so I can use it on just the right occasion.
Enjoying a private moment with Lucy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I made the cut! Now, vote me Boston's MVB—most valuable blogger!

You'll put even more spring in my step if you vote for me!
Thrilled to see my blog on the list of finalists for CBS Boston's most valuable blogger. See my earlier post for the many, many reasons I consider myself tops. Voting's easy—just click on my badge or right here, and scroll down until you find Dreams du Dog.  Click, and voila! you're done. It's easy as ABC, and alphabetical, too.

You even can vote every day if you like, until Sept. 9. Most votes wins, plus there's an editor's choice winner, so I'm rooting for both.

Many thanks, and whoever votes the most for me, wins, too—my voice baying on your voice mail. That will keep the telemarketers away! Now, what could be more valuable than that?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nominate moi for Most Valuable Blogger!

Nominate me for Boston's Most Valuable Blogger,
lifestyle/family category!
Check it out at
OK, I might not be actually the most valuable, money or info-wise, but I certainly am entertaining!
Top reasons to vote for me:
1. I'm talented enough to write my own material.
2. I have tons of story ideas.
3. I am dedicated. 200 posts in two years.
4. My posts are educational. For example, my most popular posts have been Attention please: Can dogs eat edamame? (180 pageviews); Recalcitrant, obstinate, stubborn: defined (155 pageviews); and Carb loading: it's a good thing (145 pageviews).
5. My posts sometimes have a tinge of reader-satisfying gossip. Or readers wish they had. One of the most common searches that lands people on my blog is "p. allen smith personal life." For those of you who don't know, P. Allen Smith is the Southern garden design counterpart to Martha Stewart. And because he and I both are Southern gentlemen, I wouldn't dream of speculating.
6. I take faithful readers on a dizzying tour of how not to train your dog. Many people seem to find this information useful.
7. I am a poster pup, practically, for why it would be an excellent idea to adopt a hound. I'm fun, learned, and very, very handsome. Check out for more reasons.
8. I have reviewed several pet hotels and therefore am a font of info on where to place your pup when you decided to abandon him or her for vacation. Better yet, take your pup with you!
9. Readers gain an inside view into the keen mind, determined will, and goofy personality that is mine.
10. I am very, very handsome. Have I mentioned that already?

Nominate me at: but hurry--today's the last day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Meet Elliott from E.T., my new neighbor

Reader challenge: find the dog in this photo.
Ok, Elliott here looks more like an E.T. than she should, but that's because she's a tiny, wiggly, fuzzy baby Portuguese Water Dog who would not stop wiggling for her photo. Also, it's impossible to see her face under all of that hair.

In fact, when she came over to introduce herself, I didn't quite understand she was a canine, and completely ignored her.

However, when Mom went over with a hand-me-down mat for Elliott's water bowl (given her breed, and her size, she prefers bathing in her water bowl), and came back smelling all puppy-ish, I was none too pleased. Not about the mat. Given my slobbery habits, it didn't begin to do the job in our home.

If my readers are confused about her name, here's the explanation: Somehow, the breeder thought Miss Elliott was a boy dog. Because our neighbors had already named her, Elliott she is.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rescue dogs of 9/11

The New York Times features gorgeous portraits of courageous rescue dogs, now retired, who worked to find victims of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Photographer Charlotte Dumas beautifully captures the nobility and dignity of these highly-trained canines who love their work.

Her book, Retrieved, which features these photos and more, will be published in September. Check out her website to learn more about her and her other work photographing dogs, wolves, horses and other fascinating animals. Her book can be preordered at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Water, water, everywhere... nor any drop to drink, but I tried

Still salty. What's with that?
Not to go on and on about my fab vaca in Biddeford Pool, but I never could quite get the idea that the water had something different about it.

I'd taste the water at the big beach. Salty. The water at the little beach. Salty. The water in the tidepools. Salty. Island beach water. Salty.

What's the deal?

It was dry as a bone (and I know bones) that week in Maine, so last night's rain really gave me something to lap about. I know there's always the water dish, but for a hound, puddle water just has that certain je ne sais quoi.