Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show!

Energetic, intelligent, and let's not forget, handsome:
I'm ready for competition. While this is not an actual photo
of moi, this goodlooking guy could be my double.

Well, I am not, but my relatives are. This year, for the first time, the Treeing Walker Coonhound will be competing in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show in Madison Square Garden. The ideal coat, according to the AKC, should be tri-colored: black, white and tan. Check.

Note the hype from the club's website: "The energetic Treeing Walker Coonhound is perfectly suited for the task for which it was bred - tracking and treeing wild raccoons. Developed from the Walker Foxhound, the Virginia Hounds, and the earliest English Foxhounds brought to America, the Treeing Walker is a fast, alert, hot-nosed hunter with superb endurance, treeing ability and the desire to perform. It has a clear, ringing bugle voice or a steady clear chop with changeover at the tree. Today's Treeing Walker retains the same color and similar conformation to the Walker Foxhound. The breed is intelligent, confident and sociable."

Though he lives in a nearby tree, this raccoon hasn't been back
since he realized that what he thought was his fish pond
is really my water fountain.
Energetic, intelligent, lovely voice: that's me, to the T. For a discussion on the difference between the Walker Foxhound and the Treeing Walker Coonhound, see the Coonhound Companions Long Ears Blog (to which Mom contributed a most touching essay). Let me say, however, the differences are not large. Still, the raccoon who thought he'd eat out of my fish pond clearly can tell. Haven't seen him since I treed him a few months ago.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Answering that age-old question...

How many Tuckers can sleep on a teeny, tiny pillow?
Just one, curled up very, very carefully.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Call of the long-eared hound, or, I heard the wild thing call my name

Last night my parents and sister left me home alone and went owling. Why? I do not know, especially when they can hear musical yowlings at home. Owls, they learned, have a variety of calls, depending upon the situation. Here, then, a rundown of the possible hound calls and their intepretation.

Sound: Classic bark. Interpretation: Dare to take my bone.
Takers will be duly chased.
1. Sound: Insistent, persistent barking, followed by several emphatic leaps into one's lap that may knock one and one's chair over. Interpretation:  It is time, long past time, to go for a walk. Preferably via automobile to some interesting spot. Never mind your black-and-blue marks. Exercise is good for them.

2. Sound: Yowling, of a sorry and sad sort. Cannot be contained or consoled. Intepretation: You are the privileged listener to The Hound's Lament, that most mournful of lamentations. This means you have left your dear one alone either for far, far too long, or you went somewhere that said dear one would have loved to go.

3. Sound: Big, long, echoing bay that carries for miles over water. Intepretation: Something really interesting is over yonder. Perhaps a playmate, perhaps not.

4. Sound: Snarling, nasty bark (rarely heard). Interpretation: Something big and shaggy, perhaps a German Shepherd, Husky or Malamute is in the vicinity. Beware.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Uncloaked escapade: Stealing away for a winter run

My version of the perp walk.
'Twas I you glimpsed dashing through the snow this week, galloping across the MathWorks field near Lilja school and romping around the College Road neighborhood. You might also have glimpsed frantic Dad trying to catch me. Or maybe spotted my sister in your backyard as she patiently waited for a chance to snatch away my freedom.

Here's what happened: Dad and I were walking along the ridge above the field, when a stick caught in the clasp of my leash, instantly freeing me from that dreadful thing. Reader, I escaped. The word goes back to medieval Latin, uncape-ing, or uncloaking oneself, as it were.

After about an hour, during which I sped about, zigging, zagging, sniffing, and otherwise carrying on, I realized I indeed was uncloaked, cold and hungry. I trotted up on someone's deck, looking for sustenance and, perhaps, shelter. Little did I know my sister had outsmarted me—hard to do, I know—and my freedom was over. Really, though, I was ready to go home. My escapade—it comes from the same root as escape but sounds a lot more fun—was over.

 By the way, if you live on Rolling Lane in Natick and you're missing a suet feeder, it's a few doors down.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year's math problem from Lewis Carroll's Alice

Either I'm hiding out in my man cave, pretending the whole thing
never happened, or digesting that bone. Or both,

"Take a bone from a dog. What remains?" demands the imperious Red Queen of Alice in Through the Looking Glass, attempting to determine Alice's queenly attributes. When Alice replies that nothing remains, because she would run away and the dog would run after her, the queen belittles her: "Wrong as usual!" Of course, she explains, the dog's temper would remain, because he would lose his temper.

Well, in my real-world experience of this very same problem, the bone did not remain, because I ate it. Fortunately, Mom's finger was not lost in the subtraction, although it's rather swollen. And neither of us lost our tempers, which certainly was a bit of New Year's luck for me.