Friday, December 28, 2012

A good day for fishing: bald eagle at Morses Pond

Not the best shot, but whoever said a dog could take photos?
As soon as he saw me, he took off, gliding around the western edge of the pond and settling down into a tree, then taking off again, white head and white tail flashing in the sun. Maybe, another neighbor suggested, while you're out here, the eagle's in your little pond, snatching up all the fish. I checked it out straightaway, but all seem to be accounted for. Darn.

Be the best you can be: New Year's resolutions for the top dog

I'm starting early on Resolution #1.
Lost a bit of canine mojo over the last long twelve months? Here's how to restore it and become top dog once again. Believe me, I've tried this regimen, and it works.

1. Resolve to sleep as often as possible.
2. Resolve that, when not sleeping, you will pester humans to feed you.
3. Resolve that, when humans attempt to ignore pleas for more comestibles, you will outsmart them and steal their food.
4. Resolve that you will not walk in any kind of inclement weather.
5. Resolve that you will seek new places to walk each fair-weather day. (Implicit: you refuse to go over the same old, same old routes.)
6. Resolve that you will make attempts, even if half-hearted, to show affection to humans, lest they take away some of your beloved sleeping places.
7. Resolve to show proper gratitude for treats, such as beefy bones. However, do not compromise on lesser treats. Go for the good stuff.
8. Resolve that if there is no good stuff available, you will deign to consume these lesser-quality calories, after a proper mourning period of up to two seconds.
9. Resolve to find more canine playmates to keep up your social skills.
10. Resolve to enjoy each and every day. Nothing like a good, long, loud bay—or yip, depending on your capacity—to greet each morning.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hoarsing around at Christmastime, and a New Year's resolution

I came home from my vacation with a frog in my throat (well, there could be, but I like the frogs in our pond). Because I spent my time off yipping around with a pack of other big guys, this frog has laryngitis. Believe me, I cannot even speak. (A blessing, says Grandma.)

I'm practically disappearing!
Even though I enjoyed myself, I really was too busy to eat anything. You might remember that pre-vaca, I had worked myself into a positively svelte shape. Now, however, I've lost even more poundage. While all of you will be making fruitless New Year's resolutions to get into shape, I, characteristically, will do the opposite. My resolution: get out of fighting trim and back into couch potato mode. Anyone care to join me? Condition: I get the couch, you get the floor.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Great dog book spreads tons of Christmas cheer

Boy, do I look malnourished in this photo!
Good thing my cousin Olivia picked up the board book version of Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker! by Leslie McGuirk, because I've been one hungry dude.

Not that a mere board book could withstand the crunch of my capacious jaws (and, let's not forget, beautiful teeth). Anyway, the Tucker book (it's a series—how did I overlook this?) features a sweet little white terrier-type who ends up helping Santa on his rounds. He even gets his own pair of antlers. I'm certainly slim enough to shimmy down chimneys, and I actually do have a pair of antlers, somewhere among the holiday decorations that Mom's been too lazy to dig through.

My buddy Olivia—she's crazy about me—is hoping for a bunny for Christmas, but if that doesn't happen, I'll ask Santa for some rabbit ears. Anything to make that little girl happy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Putting on those holiday pounds

When your head is bigger than your body, it's
time to put on a few lbs.
Got a clean bill of health (and what a bill!) yesterday from my new vet, Dr. Dalamangas, at VCA Westboro. She hadn't met me before, so it was a chance for me to start fresh and make a good impression. I trotted right into the exam room (after flinging myself onto the glass outer door so hard that it opened, but Dr. D didn't witness that) and waited patiently, because that's what I was. A patient. Who also flung himself on the door from the exam room into the lobby. Unfortunately for me, it opened the other way.

Dr. D examined me carefully and was extremely complimentary of of my teeth, of which I am quite proud—if not of their condition, their size. Therefore, in a flourish of generosity, I agreed to hop onto the scale. It was reported that I was 80 pounds. "Eighty?" Mom asked, apparently astonished at this low figure. "Are you sure that all of him was on there?"

Reader, I was alarmed. I acted immediately to restore my reputation, and bulk, and go into gonzo mode. I dashed from the vet to Especially for Pets, knocking over countless toys and upending baskets full of antlers and bones.

I wanted the catnip toys Mom was buying for some cats, but she selected a Himalayan Dog Chew, thinking it would amuse me during the long ride home. Au contraire! But that is another story. As the one involving the pizza I later tried to snag.

Still hungry today, I dug deep into the Milk-Bone bin at Wellesley Books (back counter), then trotted over to Petco Unleashed, where I was chased by a tiny white beast with what looked like a hair extension, but turned out to be its tail, dyed green for the holidays. Yikes.

I scored a pig ear there, trotted back to Wellesley Square, and again dug deep into a giant bowl full o' Milk Bones, this time at Lux, Bond and Green. After being dragged away, I refused to return to my vehicle. Instead, I trotted back into Wellesley Books, where Lorna snagged another treat for me and escorted me to my car. Because I'd do anything for her,  I leaped inside. Besides, I had just gobbled something beside a Boloco trash can that made me feel a little queasy, and I needed a rest.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A very extraordinary afternoon

My very extraordinary contraband.
No one could possibly be more upbeat than Boston College's James A. Woods, S.J. No matter when you meet him, and you say hello, how are you, he responds the same way: "Extraordinary. Very extraordinary."


I was thinking of Father Woods today as I romped around Natick Center. In order, here are the extraordinary things that occurred:

1. An amazingly substantial slice of pizza lay at the foot of the Henry Wilson plaque commemorating a tree he planted on Natick Common (Wilson, 18th vp of the US of A under Ulysses S. Grant, lived in Natick, where he was a shoemaker). It was so large that it wouldn't totally fit in my extraordinarily-sized jaws. Nevertheless, I consumed most of it.

2. In a very extraordinary coincidence, I ran into (literally) my neighbor Olivia and her mom Carol outside of Olivia's martial arts studio. Probably not a good idea, because she's nearly a junior black belt and might have tried some complicated move on me.
Then I ran into (again literally) an extraordinarily tall, thin and elegant woman who no doubt did not appreciate my dirty, bulky body ramming into her cashmere wrap. Indeed, I nearly knocked her over.

3. I continued to make Mom extraordinarily annoyed by cantering (literally) through the rest of the busy square. Like it was my fault she didn't wear her running shoes?

4. Back at the town common, to which I dragged my slowpoke mother, I rooted around for more pizza. Instead, I found a bone-shaped tag belonging to a pup named Rafe. Then, the jackpot: a squeaky ball. An immediate attack followed, during which I practically impaled the thing on my canines. Yet  it did not suffer instantaneous destruction. And that is very extraordinary indeed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Best books for baby princes and princesses

I've been taking a technology hiatus of late—I mean, does everything I do require some sort of electronic device?—and so I've been reviewing some old technology. Specifically, print. You remember. On actual paper.

My predecessor Sparky digested a vast number of reading materials. I'm more the browsing type. So my favs need to be short, super engaging, and appealing to frisky young pups.

Herewith, then, my recommendations for Will and Kate's royal babe.

#1. Archie, by Domenica More Gordon. Surely, there must be someone named Archie in the royal household who would be only too happy to whip up bespoke outfits for princely pups? And could this book be any more adorable? I think not.

Archie is a talented hound who receives an unusual gift from his auntie—a sewing machine. Soon, his creations adorn pups and owners all over town. He's just ready to take a well-deserved vacation when he gets a call direct from the palace. We'll just say that baby Windsor will surely coo at the sight of his or her great-grandmama. Plus, the kits the author sells to make fuzzy pups might give Princess Kate something to focus on besides her morning sickness.

#2. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon. A dog is part of the fascinating group of interesting people whose lives intersect during one perfect day by the sea—biking, marketing, escaping a sudden rainshower, and meeting up to enjoy the evening. A lovely read just before sleep and a solid slice of real life for the royal baby.

#3. Speaking of sleep, my favorite activity, I simply adore Leave Your Sleep by Natalie Merchant. Some time ago Merchant set classic poems to music and released a CD. This volume includes the CD; gorgeous illustrations by Barbara McClintock imbue the poems with a lovely sense of classic fantasy. It's a must for any nursery.

Yes, speaking of sleep...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dog with a blog? You read it here first, while I was sleeping

A sunny day, a thick carpet, and dreams of the canine variety:
does life get better than this?
Look, I'm far from the only canine chronicling his life via the blogosphere. So I'm not sure I should sue for a production credit for the Disney sitcom Dog with a Blog. (Although another telling parallel exists: Stan, the show's dog, and I both are adopted.)

Yet here is the essential question: with so many stellar examples, as well as the enormous chunk of change that must go into producing said show, does the actual blog have to be so lame? I've been at this blogging gig for awhile now, and this Stan is clearly a neophyte. Perhaps he could use some ghost-written entries, which I'd be happy to supply.

Actually, I read several years ago, just as I began to scratch my writing itch, that blogging was passe. I'm what you'd call a late adopter, so that was the best I could do...but Disney? One would think that of all companies, they'd be out in front of things, media and technology-wise.

I can't vouch for the show itself, which I learned about from listening to Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me! on WBUR.  Besides destroying brain cells, watching TV interferes with prime sleeping time. I can assure you, there's no media in my man-cave. It's designed for one thing only: sleep.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weighing in on the election

I tried to stay up, but I just could not keep my eyes open.
No, I don't plan to reveal my political choice, but my weight. At least, some assessments of my weight, which happened to coincide with the presidential election.

Two pieces of data: one, the suggestion by someone who observed my refusal to get in the wagon that a forklift might be in order; and two, the rating of my avoirdupois as something less than ideal by the vet at the Natick Animal Clinic. While I did lose two neck sizes this summer, the weight seems to have creeped up a bit.

Actually, there is one more datapoint: when my friend Lucy's mom made me sit for a treat, she noticed my protruding belly. I was a bit embarrassed, but not so much that I refused to eat. You know—"I'm starting my diet tomorrow" kind of thing.

So it's a good thing that I have another day o' fun planned at Natick Animal Clinic's kennels. Given that my home is under construction, placing several of my favorite sleeping places off-limits, when I removed there, I honestly did not want to leave. I'm looking forward to this second visit. With three hours of playtime, I might burn off some extra calories. Then, when Mom comes to pick me up, and I refuse to get in the car (it really is a regular thing), she'll give me plenty of extra treats to make up for any calories I lose. Because she doesn't have a forklift.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Exclusive photos of my man cave!

Man-cave, pre-"improvement." I saw nothing
wrong with it at all.
I like it when my life nicely dovetails with trends of the day, so the newsworthy addition of the term "man cave" to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary prompts me to reveal my favorite retreat.

However, my man-cave is under threat of that most frightening of phrases: "home improvement." Alas, the cushy carpet is giving way to a wood floor. A hard wood floor. Its installation promises lots of noise, strangers  in and out, associated mess, complete loss of privacy. The aftermath: discomfort.

The whole business is enough to make me seek the shelter of my cave. But I can't get there—off limits until the home improvement is complete.

Initially, I headed to the depths of my sister's closet whenever thunder threatened, but it's become so comfy that I sleep there pretty regularly—say, every night.

It's nicely fitted up with a sleeping bag, a dog bed (size XL), an extra sleeping bag that makes a perfect pillow. Or it was fitted up. With three of my favorite sleeping options off-limits (my room's being redone, too). I've moved into my parents' closet for now. Hope they don't get any more improving ideas.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Post-Halloween tricks (and lots of treats)

With my new fox from Petco,
the spoils from a previous
I didn't go out trick-or-treating, preferring to curl up inside and come roaring down the stairs to check out the costumes. So yesterday I cruised around Wellesley Square looking to play some tricks. Hoping for treats in return, I was primed.

First I headed to Wellesley Books, where I announced my arrival with a loud bay. My minions came running. With such advance notice, Barry scooted around the front desk to proffer a treat, thus preventing my usual attack on the box o' Milk Bones that resides there. Rebecca gave me due admiration. Having wreaked a modicum of post-Halloween havoc, I was off.

My next stop: Pinnacle Real Estate, which trustingly leaves out a bowlful of unattended treats (much like some folks do at Halloween) as well as some refreshing water. And much like some of those trick-or-treaters when faced with said unattended bowl, I went for it. The whole thing. Quickly. So when Mom tried to pull my face out of the bowl, I knocked over everything--so much easier to grab treats off the ground!

Today, I, red-faced, returned to Pinnacle to resupply the bowl—after I trotted over to Petco Unleashed to pick up two bags o'treats for myself.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Howl-oween!

Exhausted from answering the door to
legions of trick-or-treaters, I merely wish
you a very Happy Howl-oween.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane safety: The cupboard under the basement stairs

You're welcome to join me
in my man-cave alternative.
While my Jersey shore relatives hunker down in an attempt to escape wind and water, I've taken up a listening post in as quiet a location I can find: the cupboard under the stairs. (Notice the antenna position of my pennant-like ears, hinged for maximal input to the cochlear area.)

Unlike Harry Potter, I was not forced, Dursley-style, into this confined spot. Mom fixed it up for me when she found me cowering under an ancient telescope. I had evacuated myself from the old family room sofa in the basement and just stood there, shivering. I mean, there is no way you could see the stars, even if it were night and the telescope were not in the basement.

I plan to wait out the storm here. If you need shelter, give me a woof and I'll make some room.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spooky Cookies: best Halloween treats around!

I did my best beast imitation, sans costume, last week at Petco Unleashed on Linden Street—not only did I sample the free cookies at the counter, I demolished practically the entire contents of the bowl.

How long does she really expect me to sit  here?
I tried them, I liked them. I loved them. So when it came down to which cookies to choose at the bountiful treat bar, I went right for the bats, pumpkins and ghosts  (inside: a delectable peanut-molasses combo, plus some food coloring to make the pumpkins orange and the bats purple).  I'm so crazy about these things, I'm even coming when called. As long as there's a treat when I get there.

Way past time to take matters into my own jaws.
That is, if there are any left.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Going way Boloco in Wellesley

One valuable nose.
Summer's lease hath too short a date, that's for sure. I dropped two neck sizes, all the while exercising both my body and my nose as I went after perfectly edible food considered unworthy by humans. So, sometimes I made mistakes: remember the rabbit head I snagged at Wellesley College?

This week, in that very same spot, I grabbed an old hamburger bun, with a bonus—part of a burger. Earlier, I had hightailed it to just-opened Boloco, where I broke a woman's reverie by diving underneath her table. Embarrassed Mom dragged me out of there, but I was not to be denied: I made a second pass after the diner had left and grabbed some carnitas that were, wastefully, lying just at that woman's feet.

While I may have a thinner neck from all of that nosework, my friend Rebecca at Wellesley Books thinks I have plumped up at the other end. Like the ant in the Aesop fable (remember the ant and the grasshopper?) I'm saving up for winter's bleakness. Fewer after dinner walks, fewer chicken wings tossed out of car windows. Yet if you drop it, I'll find it. Just doing my part to keep things clean. And, thanks, Wellesley selectmen, for allowing those outdoor tables. You just might help a poor animal make it through the winter.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

La dolce vita in Wellesley

Gorgeous day, gorgeous girl. What could be more sweet?
The setting: the Italian garden at Wellesley (the house, not the town)
The event:  a perfect passeggiata with my beloved
The girl: the gorgeous, golden-haired Kiki, who is patient, devoted, always in a great mood
The result: romantico!

Friday, September 21, 2012

How I turned several shades of gray—in an instant!

Emulating Harry.
An orange truck sizzled against green grass that stretched to the horizon. A group of musclebound workers packed up, admired their handiwork creating new striping on the soccer field, and prepared to drive off.

That's where I entered this cliche and broke it right open.

My nose led me straight to the wide, bright white sideline stripe. I stopped, dropped and rolled. And rolled. And rolled.

When I got up, I looked like  Harry the Dirty Dog before he got dirty. Remember that Gene Zion classic? Where he was white with black patches and turned black with white patches, I became a dirtyish kind of gray. So much so that a neighbor thought I had suddenly aged. I am graying, a bit, at the temples, if you look very closely, but really! I'm only five.

Harry and I have a lot in common: we both prefer not to be groomed. However, our escapades ended with the same four-letter word: B-A-T-H.
Allowed inside again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Good grooming, CrossFit style!

Pre-grooming. Imagine how good I look now!
If there were a dog CrossFit category, I'd be in. If awards were given for good grooming, however, I'd be out.

Given that everyone needs to come clean eventually, even me, I decided to do it CrossFit style. You know, 20 brutal minutes yields incredible results.

So I called on my friend Karen Hayes, who not only is a CrossFitter in superb shape, but also owns a mobile grooming van in Natick called Pawsible Solutions. Like CrossFit—you hate to go, glad you did it when it's over—I knew I was in for it when she pulled up in my driveway.

Dad lured me outside with a "let's go in the car" bait-and-switch, and when I balked outside the van, Karen just picked up all 90 stubborn pounds of me and popped me in. Now, given that my equine tendencies (I fall asleep standing up, pick up my hooves—I mean paws—for cleaning, spook at nothing, balk, am extraordinarily stubborn, etc. etc.) include performing like a bucking bronco, her picking me up is no mean feat.

I quickly overcame my shock and, given that this was my first time in a van, plopped right in the driver's seat, just to see what it was like.

Somehow, Karen got me out of there, got me groomed, and voila, I'm a new man. Karen also does dog-walking and pet sitting, and I can tell you, when she says "walk," I do it. Just like any CrossFitter would.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day, D list style

Not being on the A list, I didn't make the cut for the Labor Day party at our friends' on Weston Road, so I had to go scrounge up a burger on my own.

I mean, my talent at sniffing out discarded goods is, I dare say, more valuable than that orca-scat sniffing dog that runs around the Pacific. You did see that Times piece, right? OK, he's saving the whales, I'm saving...a spot on the couch?

So it was a few days old, and lying in the woods. The burger, not the orca. No bun, but what did I care? Give me the meat, I say.

Mom said the same thing. I don't get it: she was at the party, she had a burger, with bun, right off the grill. What did she want with my find?

I'll never know. She opened my jaws, grabbed the burger, and tossed it further into the woods. It pains me that it will be eaten by some raccoon or something who won't know anything about sirloin, much less be properly informed about the significance of Labor Day. 

What kind of treats does that whale-sniffing dog earn, anyway?

I lie, faint from hunger, pondering the state of unions and
bemoaning the fate of the orcas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wild thing tests hunting skills

So where was I when the latest wild thing threatened our fish, hugged our trees and generally treated our yard as a playground?
However, my hunting instincts soon woke me up and I rampaged around, tracking the scent of that raccoon just as I was bred to.
This morning's visitor: cute, and a good climber, too!
Raccoons, deer, fox, bear, even mountain lion all have been challenged by the likes of moi. We hounds are big. We hounds are fast. We to sleep after a hard-charging morning. Inside, preferably, away from most wild things.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why they call it R π

How many places of pi do you know?

The numbers go on...and on...

Someone even makes a correction!

Took my sister back to school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today–R π to those who like the inside joke.

I was a sad puppy. But when I saw what was carved into the picnic table outside her dorm, I had to laugh.

The only kind of pi I know is the peach and blueberry one Mom made last week. And the only calculation I had to make was when to make my move. I can assure you that this kind of pie was delicious.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

With new Nessie evidence, Morsie monster might not be a log after all

Could the Morsie Monster be real?
It can hardly be coincidence that a new photo reportedly showing irrefutable evidence that the Loch Ness monster exists comes just two weeks after my Morsie Monster sighting. I have to say, the resemblance is striking, leading me to reopen my investigation.

Apparently, I came to the too-rapid conclusion that Morsie was merely a floating log, shifting this way and that in the currents. After all, Loch Ness skipper George Edwards has spent 26 years searching for Nessie, and I consider case closed after a fortnight?

Yesterday, Mom boated out to the middle of the pond to get another look at Morsie, but was reluctant to disturb the cormorant resting on its spine. Suddenly, Morsie then wrapped itself around her kayak, and she frantically paddled away, much like the kayaker off Cape Cod who recently managed to outpaddle a great white shark.

As for me, I'll hang out in my pool today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation

Even during summer vacation? No dogs, ever?
Let's face it: I'm always on vacation. But then again, a dog's work just looks like people's play. It's exhausting to be attuned constantly to scents, sights, sounds, dropped food, etc., etc., etc.

A few headlines, then, sparing most of the boring details.

Big bully lab mix leaps through open window of truck, charging at innocent hound—then goes shopping at Bacon Street Farm, thanks to recently installed automatic door.

Later identified as dessicated bunny head. Tasted as rotten as it looked.

Mouse nest disturbed. Food at least five years old and definitely rotten. I found out the hard way. Question is, how did they manage to scurry along carrying such a big burden? And how much money did Mom waste feeding these unauthorized pets?

No exegesis needed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Two great pups, ready for adoption!

Mickey, 9 months. Super cute!
We could be twins.
If you'd like a dog that will stop people in their tracks, overcome by its handsomeness, elegance and seemingly well-behaved mannerisms, then head right on over to Buddy Dog Humane Society to check out two Walker hounds who need homes.

Roscoe, 9 months old. He's ready for fun!
I haven't met them, but if they're anything like moi, they're sweet, sleep a lot when they're not up to a bit of mischief, are super friendly and easy to love. Most likely, they'll be a bit stubborn, but that's just because they are incredibly smart. And who doesn't want an intellectual companion?

Just be sure you have a fence, because, boy, do we like to run.

To learn more about hounds, check out the Coonhound Companions website. While you're there, head to the Long Ears Blog to read Mom's post on the joys of adopting me.
Then, when you just can't stand it any longer, head right over to Buddy Dog to give these guys a home. And let me know, because they look like they'd be super playmates!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wellesley's where the wild things are: another scorpion sighted

Another scorpion in Wellesley? Yup. I found one this afternoon, on the trail that runs behind Town Hall and between the Duck Pond and the train tracks. Usually, the only wild things I see there are a bunch of tweener boys hanging out by the culvert.

But today, I smelled something...sniffed...and Dad yanked me away. Mom, being an ocean person, thought, "tiny lobster?" Dad, being from California, realized it was a kind of scorpion. And my sister, owner of every field guide known to man, identified it as a kind of whipscorpion, properly called a Vinegarone. Its usual hangout includes the southern U.S., so what it was doing here, I have no idea.
This Vinegarone photo comes from the wildlife files at

The creature was about 3 to 3.5 inches long, dark brown, and it was tough to spot its tail. Turns out the whipscorpion doesn't have a stinger and isn't venomous, unless you swoon at the scent of vinegar, because it releases that scent when annoyed. Unfortunately, no photo, because I not only swooned, I didn't have a camera.

This might or might not be a good time to point out that, upon closer scrutiny, the Morsie Monster turns out to be...a floating piece of deadwood.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jubilant July in Wellesley Square

Jubilant describes me well: "feeling or expressing great
happiness or triumph." Especially the triumph part.
Took in July Jubilation yesterday in Wellesley Square, which was filled with people, dogs and bargains, and took in a foot-long hot dog, too, which was delicious.

Spectators stood by and admired me while I wolfed down the dog, suggesting I might do well in a hot dog eating contest given that I consumed said delicacy in one gulp. I met lots of terrific Wellesley firefighters; the hot dog and popcorn stand was set up in front of the fire station and raised funds to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Not only is it a terrific cause, it's backed my pals the Delaney family, who set up and ran the whole thing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Matt even spent considerable time in the dunk tank) while Lt. Paul Delaney was on the job.

As for me, I did my part, and it wasn't tiring in the least.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Are you hearing me? Can you hear me now?

It seems like everyone would love their dogs to talk, but no one really wants to hear what they have to say.  Remember Martha, in Martha Speaks, by local author Susan Meddaugh? When Martha could finally talk, she bored everyone to tears.

So when Mom tried to take me for a walk last night, she did not want to hear that I preferred going out in the car instead of walking in the neighborhood. She did not want to hear that I preferred someplace different than the Lilja field (I mean, I can walk there, so why drive?). She did not like hearing that I did not want to stroll among the Bacon Street Farm flowers.

Did someone say something about getting off the furniture?
In fact, I had to tell her twice: first, when I slunk back against the very front of the wayback in our car, where she couldn't reach me; and then, when I performed an emphatic Plop O'Doom. She finally got the message when I sat down, because I never sit. It was kind of like screaming when, really, it all could have been avoided.

Because I screamed, then, I reluctantly—is there a word for "very reluctantly"?—deigned in Natick Center to exit my preferred form of transport. However, the route quickly became boring, and I returned to the vehicle. I thought we'd have a conversation about where to go next, so I waited to enter, but she said nothing. She can speak, right? But no. I indicated my preference to find another walking locale. She ignored me. Finally, I gave up, got in the car, and was driven home against my will, where I had a good long sulking nap.

I checked the thesaurus. Some alternatives to reluctant: hesitant (too weak); disinclined (that's more like it); unenthusiastic (that's putting it mildly); resistant (no kidding); opposed (well, that's certainly firm!). The question is: can anyone hear me?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kin of Loch Ness found in Morses Pond

Morsie, as I've been calling her, has been swimming around for the past month or two, but I wasn't fortunate enough to get a clear shot of her until now.
Believed to be the first photo of the Loch Morse monster.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Letter writing: lost art?

I am fond of receiving mail, although not the type that starts off like: "Tucker, it's time to schedule your yearly awful shot/deworming/other uncomfortable procedure" or something to that effect. The effect that makes me put said paper in the recycling bin.

Fortunately, my vet has not advanced to sending out email reminders. So when I checked my email, I was thrilled to receive a real letter from my former walking companion, Kelly. To be honest, I'm not sure we so much as walked as I tried her patience. Still, she retains a certain fondness for me, which is clear here.

hey ol' boy!!!  i just wanted to write and say hi.  how are you doing?  i miss you so much!  i've still been keeping up with your blog.  of course, i am always amused and entertained.  the entry about what your new car should come standard with made me laugh out loud...  a lot!  it's tough looking for a car.  don't be discouraged, though.  just make sure you keep reminding the drivers what YOU need, not what THEY need. 

when you get a chance (if you have a spare moment between sleeping and chewing holes in your mom's jacket), let me know what you are up to.  i hope wellesley is treating you well.

miss and love you!!!
kelly (your old dog walker.)

Collecting my thoughts in a rare pensive moment. Or perhaps
I'm just working hard to avoid hitting my head on the roof liner.
Of course, I responded in kind, as all recipients of carefully wrought letters should. I'll show off my style in due time.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Messing about in boats: my dog-paddle boat invention

Like the Water Rat in The Wind in the Willows,
I enjoy messing about in boats. Simply messing...
Having cried my eyes out while Mom and Dad went out for a paddle on Morses Pond yesterday, I determined to turn my tears into action. Here's the idea: a paddle boat that can hold both a human and a dog—the dog-paddle boat!

It's the boat for a dog of action like me. Whenever you see dogs in canoes, what are they doing? Just sitting there! Wasting energy. Blocking your view. Adding weight to your boat and your workout. In my case, that's 90 big lbs. of pure plop-down muscle. Because I almost never sit down, unless provoked to perform a Plop O' Doom, it is unlikely I will traverse any stretch of water in a man-made conveyance. Finding a car to suit me was difficult enough.

So instead, I plan to unleash that latent power and turn it into paddle power with Tucker's Dog-Paddle Boat. It's kind of like an elliptical trainer : I stand up, as I am wont to do, and use all paws to power forward. Meanwhile, Mom bipeds on the other side. For those pups who prefer a prone position, the elliptical pedals are removable and the dog can paddle as nature intended.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lost and found pets and other creatures, wet and wild

Missing: Big green frog. Last seen 6/23.
Known him since he was a tadpole.
Reunited: Jelly the cat with her Natick family. Hooray!

Wandering: Moose near Reeds Pond in Wellesley, 6/25. Wellesley PD sent out an alert with the simple subject line "Moose." At around 3 p.m. a cruiser was blocking Lexington Road at Worcester Street, or perhaps just waiting to give the moose a lift home.

Missing: Frog from Morses Puddle. I miss our daily colloquies as I slurped from our little pond. Always faithful, never frightened, he seems to have become annoyed at Mom's rearranging of his habitat. If he comes back, I promise: no more redecorating! He can have those pond stones arranged however he wants.

Unclassifiable: Gigantic duck with sunglasses outside New England Spas on Rte. 9 in Natick. Last sighted, 6/25, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Help this cat find its home

Please help this cute cat find its home.
It's not enough to house one domestic bunny (large), one baby bunny (small), 35 comet fish (large to medium), and one dog (XL), but now we are caring for a cat as well. While I welcome the newcomer, I am hoping it finds its real home soon. Therefore, dear readers, I need your help.

Here is the story: as I slogged home yesterday, exhausted from the steamy weather, my family and I heard a piteous mewing issuing from some bushes on the Lilja School field. My sister coaxed a small cat to emerge. I stood at a respectful distance.

With no collar and not seeming to be in hunting mode, my family assumed it lost. A call to Natick Animal Control was of no help, no officer being on duty. So my sister carefully carried the kitty home and placed it in my dog crate (the $100 avoidance chamber that is never used). When they took it to The Cat's Hospital in Wellesley, kind and generous Dr. Cosimini determined it had no identifying microchip.

However, this kitty appears to be in good health and seems to be a house cat. If you have any info on whose she might be, please let me know at dreamsdudog AT yahoo DOT com.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take Your Dog to Work Day: Why?

Take Your Dog to Work Day isn't my idea of a dog holiday.
May I ask a question? What exactly is wrong with lying around all day? Wouldn't most people who work give their eyeteeth to live a life of leisure?

Apparently, those in the working world just can't leave well enough alone. The plan is that, on Friday, zillions of pets will be woken up at some ungodly hour, suffer a drive-through breakfast and try to find a comfy spot in some sterile cubicle somewhere. It's International Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Figuring, mid-rant, that I should get the facts, I dutifully read up on this anti-holiday. It actually attempts to promote dog adoption, which, naturally, I think is a very good thing. Maybe even as important as sleep.

The idea is that co-workers, realizing that dogs are fabulous creatures, might adopt one of their own. Fortunately, no one in my family actually is on the clock in the summer, so I'm safe. Plus, I'm an ambassador for adoption just by being me. No work involved.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mom went to Morses Pond...and all I got was this t-shirt

She was the first to purchase, and thus I am likely to be the first to wear, this fine piece of apparel that celebrates our lovely body of water. $10 at the gate, but maybe there's a Groupon for it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The best car for dogs...

Won't someone make a car big enough for me?
Does not exist.

This, the finding of several years of research conducted by moi and Mom. However, being that old Bessie the Great needed reconstructive surgery, it was past time for a new vehicle.

Alas, boxy wagons seem to be seriously out of style. My family adored old Bessie and her predecessor, the Little Blue Bug (a Honda Civic hatchback, which ferried Sparky home from the kennel at Buddy Dog Humane Society). They were practical and held everything, from a full size couch to a giant cabinet to moi, the Giant Beagle.

Through our endless tour of new and not-so-new conveyances, I became more and more discouraged. Finally, we went for it: a 2009 Volvo XC70.

Pluses: automatic hatch opener. It makes getting in (and timing my escape out) that much more fun.

Minuses: Zero headroom. Minus-zero headroom. My head goes bumpity-bumpity against the roof liner when I try to look out the window. My neck is sore from continuous stooping. It's not continual stooping, which would be like a tall guy who has to duck through doorways, but constant.

Did you know that frequency makes the difference between continuous and continual? So, continuous means that I constantly have to stoop; of course, if I ever would sit down, then my neck pain would be relieved and my complaints would only be continual; that is, repeated frequently, i.e., all the time, but perhaps not constantly.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day features filet mignon frenzy, or Every Dog Has its Day

I contemplate the filet that Dad surely was saving for me.
So, what does a deserving dad have for dinner on Father's Day? Nothing less than filet mignon. And what about a deserving dog? When is there ever Dog's Day?  I lay quietly on my bed near the table, salivating. Literally. Waiting. Hoping. Putting on my forlorn look.

Mom gets up, gives me the lickings from the serving plate. Phone rings. She again gets up, leaving half her filet on the table. The phone's for Dad.

Cellphone rings. It's my sister. Needs a ride.

The filet is still on the plate.

I mean, if no one else was planning to eat it, right?

Here's the rub: I was offered a ride in the C-A-R. Or vehicle, as they call it now that I can spell.
Ride? Filet? Ride? Filet?

Dizzy with this Hamlet-like dilemma, I raced to the garage door, back to the table, to the garage, to table...
whereupon I was lassooed and duly dragged to the C-A-R.

Vehicle, that is.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This enthusiastic gardener took McCullough's speech to heart

Taking the advice of David McCullough, Jr.—my sister's superb former English teacher currently perhaps more famous than his famous father for his Wellesley High School commencement speech declaring that "you are not special"—I am carpe-ing the heck out of every diem. Especially these gloriously sunny ones.

Any enthusiastic gardener needs a good drink afterward.
When I garden, I really dig. When I bay, it's loud enough to ring across the pond. When I run, I knock over my mom. When I chomp, I do so with fervor.

I am, at my essence, enthusiastic.
I find it's easier to dig up than to plant, to destroy rather than repair, to eat what's on the table rather than place food there.

Enthusiasm + persistence = results.
What is the difference between enthusiastic and ebullient? Enthusiastic, from the Greek meaning possessed by a god (or demon, in my case), means showing intense, eager enjoyment.

Ebullient, from the Latin meaning boiling up, is more like a bubbling over of joy.
So, Mom was far from ebullient when she observed what she considered my over-enthusiastic digging up of the hydrangea.  I consider it merely effective.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vital statistics: dogs on campus

I can wrangle a dorm bolster with the best of them.
Having been left out of a party celebrating the graduation of a friend from the Middlesex School in Concord, I thought I'd bolster my complaining with some statistics that might open the door to my attendance at future events.

Right up there, on the Facts and Figures page just under the number of AP courses (22) and the percentage of faculty with advanced degrees, is the number of faculty dogs on the MX campus: 27. Could pets on campus be a trend? Turns out I'm on the tail end of this one: puts out a yearly list of top 10 pet-friendly colleges (at my sister's school, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which did not make the list, one can have fish in a tank of 10 gallons or less). She was tempted by MIT's cat policy, though I nixed that idea. Bird-loving undergrads might appreciate the policy at Wellesley College that allows parakeets and canaries, but no cats.

Other pet-friendly schools: Sweet Briar, in Virginia, where you can board your own horse; Caltech, where two cats are permitted; Eckerd College, in Florida, which apparently accepts nearly any kind of pet—except ones as large as moi: I'm about 50 lbs over the weight limit. Plus, it's too hot for me down there.