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...