Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday in the park with George, Bella, Dude, Linda and more

Dude's name doesn't quite live up to his substantial size.
Had a fab day with my pal Bella at Borderland State Park: a gorgeous spot for dogs and their humans. I tried the agility course and beasted it; met a Great Dane named Dude who made me feel like a Chihuahua; and had my nails trimmed by the fabulous Linda of Classie Canines of South Easton.

Linda faced up to my beastliness and with a couple of helpers, completed my mani-pedi in no time (after she suggested Mom stroll across the lawn). What a pro!

The fabulous Linda of Classie Canines.
Given that the last time I had my nails done, the vet staff only could manage half before Mom called a halt to the painful process, and the time before that, I was trussed into a straitjacket, I'd trust her not only with my paws, but for playtime and boarding, too—they do it all.

Bella zipped right through the chute on the agility course.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paws up for a Borderland state park fundraiser!

Is that a halo around my head? Wow.
I'm all set for an outing Sunday, Oct. 16 with my friend Bella at Borderland State Park. Mom promises exercise, a meet and greet, and lots of treats—all for a good cause.

I'll be wearing my new radio collar, thanks to Elaine Stern, my personal trainer. Her business is called The Grateful Dog, and while Elaine sure is effective, it's Mom who's grateful, not me. I remain recalcitrant at my core; however, under Elaine's tutelage, Mom sure is challenging my alpha role. More on that experience later.

Paws in the Park is a fundraiser for the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton, a bit out of my geographic range, but a worthy organization nonetheless. Borderland, in Easton, has tons of acres, a pond around which to stroll, and a stunning mansion.

Another organization dear to my heart is Coonhound Companions, which is the weekly cause at Be the  Change For Animals. Check it out--it promotes adoption of dogs just like me! And we know just how special I am. Just check out my halo.

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Sox? No Yanks? No problem!

I've been going mano a mano with Mom over where to walk. I'm winning.

Nothing to watch? How about this series? It's me vs. Mom. Will I or won't I go for an afternoon walk? Tune in at 4 p.m. every day to see the titanic struggle.

The standings:
Me 3-1 .750
Mom 1-3 .250

The issue is not walking; it's the location. Rather than simply take off from home, I really prefer a stroll in Wellesley Square in the p.m., similar to the Italian passeggiata—you know, the late afternoon stroll common in Italy.

I could live on sausage and meatballs, Locatelli cheese, and prosciutto. So why not adopt the noble tradition of the passeggiata? It fits my needs perfectly, according to Fodor's:  "During the week, the passeggiata marks the end of the workday and offers a moment of sociability before the family dinner...The most important thing, it seems, is simply seeing and being seen (vedere e farsi vedere)."

Exactly. See and be seen.

Given how famous I am, who am I to deny my public?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Barkitecture: dream doghouses

I've never been in the doghouse, literally, anyway, so I can't compare, but the doghouses showcased in Austin, TX last weekend for Barkitecture 2011 look like they'd make some pretty cool hangouts. I wouldn't want to swap them for my real home, with its choice of single or double beds, but they would be great in a man-cave kind of way.

Best-in-show of the fundraiser for Austin-area animal rescue groups was designed by none other than canine guru Cesar Millan, whose modern structure included a Zen garden and latticed resting area.

Another home had a rooftop hangout carpeted with synthetic grass, all over a shady spot sheathed in peekaboo siding. Rather than frou-frou homes reflecting an '80s sensibility with the big hair that went with it, these sleek structures are more attuned to the needs of the modern dog.

Speaking of needs, I especially liked the sunken pool, conveniently filled with tennis balls, provided for a break during the house tours. However, I could do without the pig.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Yap it up today at Woofstock 2011—and benefit Buddy Dog Humane Society

I'm deeply in debt to Buddy Dog Humane Society, and so is my family—they adopted not one but two incredible pups from the Sudbury shelter.

Buddy Dog saved me, bringing me up from South Carolina and holding on to me even after I was adopted and returned for being too, well, houndish. Word is I knocked over a small child and ate her sandwich. Too true; I was a baby then, young, undisciplined, strong and often ravenous.

Buddy Dog also saved Sparky, a stunning Dalmatian who had three owners in one year and found a lifetime home with my family. Without Buddy Dog, we'd both have been far from the loving home in which we, happily, found ourselves (see my story on the Long Ears blog at

We're just two of the many, many happy tales resulting from the shelter's 50 years of existence. A celebration of its half-century and a fundraiser for the shelter, Woofstock will be held tomorrow, Oct. 1, from 11-4 at the Hudson Elks Pavilion. Info: 978-443-6990. Admission to Woofstock is free for dogs (of course) and children, $5 otherwise. Hightail it over!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Star pups of the big screen: the inside scoop

Does anyone remember Rin-Tin-Tin? The canine film star of the 1920s and 30s, who reportedly had his chance at an Oscar snatched away because of his canine status, is the subject of a book being published tomorrow by Susan Orlean, which recently was excerpted in The New Yorker–check out this blog post on the Aug. 25 piece.

Movie star or no, I'm not a fan of German Shepherds, to put it mildly. In fact, whenever I see one, I let out a nonstop alarm bay that gives the same effect as our shouting smoke detector—you can't wait for it to stop, and your ears hurt like crazy afterwards.

I actually am crazy about dog books, although the subtitle, The Life and the Legend, seems to amplify things a bit much. Then again, at that time, famous dogs like Rinty were trumpeted in the press, feted and fawned on everywhere they went. Plus, he's still remembered after all these years, though I guess the TV show helped. (Of course, the original Rinty didn't star in those episodes.)

Turns out the Shepherd star in Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban isn't faring as well as Rinty. Berry, who played Padfoot, is up for adoption in the UK with German Shepherd Dog Rescue. He's being fostered right now, and I hope he soon has a home.

Speaking of pet adoption, take a look at my mom's blog post on how she made one of the smartest decisions of her life by adopting moi. It can be found at the Long Ears Blog, published by Coonhound Companions, a site that promotes adoption of hounds like me. Of course, none could possibly be as handsome, or as smart, but still...all pups deserve a loving home. I have to admit that Olivia, who graces Coonhound Companions' home page, is very, very lovely, and brilliant, I'm sure. She sure is a lucky girl, too—truly saved from a horrible fate.

So the next time I see a Shepherd in my neighborhood, I'll just pretend that my alarm baying is really just a shout-out for pet adoption. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The story of Balto—highs and lows

I'm crazy for dog stories, but I have high standards. One of the best in a long time is about that megahero, Balto, by virtuoso nonfiction author Meghan McCarthy. Do I need to say that Balto is one of the dogs on the sled team that brought life-saving serum to Nome, Alaska, to stem a diptheria epidemic? And that the route is now immortalized in the Iditarod race each year?

The Incredible Life of Balto is unique not only because McCarthy can take detailed historical info and distill it to its fascinating essence, but also because McCarthy doesn't leave Balto simply basking in glory. She reveals the Black Beauty like story behind this hard-working dog: neglected and relegated to a sideshow. But, like Black Beauty, Balto finds loving care toward the end of his life.

Thanks, Meghan, for telling the whole tale, and making it so special. Even though I'm not-so-secretly very, very afraid of Siberian huskies, I can appreciate Balto and his team's dedication. Next time I see the husky who lives in my neighborhood, I'll make sure he hears about it. So will everyone else, because my alarm bay is so loud, I wouldn't be surprised if my sound waves traveled all the way to Alaska.