Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another pet-people book? Pitooey to the plethora!

I'm a contemplative kind of guy and don't do puppy cute.
You know that the genre exploring the dog-human bond from the human standpoint needs to be over when even I say, "Enough!" That's how I felt when I read reviews of Jill Abramson's book, The Puppy Diaries, so that while her tale may be perfectly fine, and I'm sure very sweet, I just can't take any more.

Apparently, Bruce McCall feels the same way. In the Nov. 14 New Yorker, in a Shouts & Murmurs column titled Pet Books Proliferate, McCall takes off on a quote from Abramson's book and explores people's deep relationships with a special earthworm, a withered spider plant, and an extremely cute potholder. All meet a sad, but touching end.

Now, I'm fascinated by science's attempts to demystify the canine psyche. I'm all for research. But no more cutesy memoirs, please. However, don't you think there's room for a book exploring the canine-human bond, from the canine perspective? I certainly do.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boot camp: brutal, but effective

Grateful? I don't know, but my profile is awesome.
"It's like Cesar Millan came to Wellesley and worked a miracle!" Mom squealed. Now, Mom is prone to exaggeration, so I must tell you that while Cesar the Great did not show up at our door, he's got an unofficial East Coast counterpart.

I was the dog who wouldn't go. I wouldn't go forward, I wouldn't go backward. Tons of products exist to keep dogs in check. But what was the answer to get me to go? Mom despaired while I ruled.

The answer turned out to be Elaine Stern of The Grateful Dog (there's a misnomer!) Elaine doesn't come with a camera crew, and you don't have to submit audition videos to validate that you're a genuine worst case. Having known me from her puppy training classes, Elaine didn't need any proof of my stubborness. In fact, she had probably been expecting Mom's frantic pleas for some time now.

Given that Elaine's been visiting over the last month, putting me through my paces, and with Mom trying (valiantly, but not so successfully) to follow up, I've been exhausted. Hence, my less frequent posting. Frankly, if it weren't for the call of the food bowl, some days I would have rather stayed in bed. Dad, as always, remained on neutral ground, wisely staying out of the process.

As part of my training, Elaine took note of lots of things: the flipped-up couch cushions, my eating habits, my weight,  my sleeping places. Among other keen observations, she felt I was a bit tubby. "He's not in any shape for hunting right now," she said, not that I would dream of it. "He wouldn't get very far." She did, however, approve of my beds, all of them: Serta Perfect Sleeper, double; Sealy Posturepedic, single; armchair, large. "Big dogs need to be off the floor."

As a result of boot camp, I now condescend to an afternoon walk in my very own neighborhood. Before, a steak could have been on the front steps, the door open all the way, and I would have just looked askance while lolling in the front hall. Now, I get up and head out, like a regular dog.

Too bad Mom didn't make those videos. Because if I had been on TV, I bet I would have my own driver right now, taking me wherever I wanted to go. No walking required.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wishing you the ghoul-est Halloween ever!

Obviously, I do not need a costume to scare anyone, and that's a good thing. Sparky's closet full of costumes are all too small for me, anyway.
I checked out Wellesley Books' display of Halloween goodies. I wasn't so scared of the monster, but I did ponder which famous person might want to look like me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

English lab rescued on Brook Path!

Without me, the rescue never would have happened. After a leisurely stroll 'round the athletic fields, Mom and Dad expected me to just pop back into the car. When I didn't respond like an automaton, they finally noticed: a cute English black lab was nosing along the road next to the Brook Path.

Intrepid Mom, treats in hand, went to investigate. No collar, no people. The pup loved the Milk-Bones, but then dashed up to whomever was walking down the path. None of them was his owner.

Wellesley Police said they'd send the animal control officer, but meanwhile, Mom was getting nervous. The pup dashed over to a car, and the driver, incredibly, happened to have a leash. Not only was this driver well-equipped, she knew her pups. She immediately tied it, martingale style, around the dog's neck, and we were all set. Mom got the OK from WPD to bring him to the station.

I did my part to clear our way, outfitting our vehicle with my personal emergency siren. Ah-woooo! Ah-wooooo! The dog didn't mind, and I liked the company. Our time together was too brief. Just as we pulled up to the station, Animal Control Officer Sue Webb was pulling out to meet us. She checked for a microchip, and voila! I imagine the pup is already reunited with its owner. Maybe we'll run into each other sometime, under less exciting circumstances.

A shout-out to the lady with the leash: thanks so much! When I went to return it, I couldn't help but notice your stunning dog sculpture and adorable pond. If you need any fish, let me know. I have lots!

Note to self: leave an extra leash in the car.

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?