Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, Disney style

What, you were expecting Sleeping Beauty? Actually, after this exhausting
All Hallows' Eve,  I could use a nap.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ears ringing? Paws in the Park for much needed relaxation

In my cowering corner.
I'm headed to the 5th annual Paws in the Park on Sunday to benefit the Animal Protection Shelter of Southeastern Massachusetts, and I hope I'll meet you there. It's a fun day of romping around, and boy, do I need it.

Why so far afield, you might ask. Here's the answer: I need to get as far away as possible from Mr. Smoke Detector Man, who terrorized me last week, leaving me a mess of quivering bones. It was, I guess, an early Halloween at our house.

Imagine: 1:30 a.m. BONG! BONG! BONG! EVACUATE! EVACUATE! EVACUATE! If you have one of these things, you know exactly what I'm complaining about. Torture. Utter torture. It would not stop, no matter what. (Mom keeps the manual right by her bed, so she ordinarily knows what to do).

Finally, in her deranged state, she took out the battery (the things are hard-wired too, not to worry, and all connected to each other, drat). That meant one chirp per minute, the rest of the loooong night long, until she could run out later that a.m. to get more batteries. I must have drooled out and shook off about 20 pounds.

So she puts in the batteries, vacuums until my ears rang (again). I stay clear of the house. Fortunately, it was warm in the car in the garage. She coaxes me out after a couple of hours with some hamburger. I hide in the corner of the yard.

Much, much later, I venture onto my bed. Then, you guessed it: BONG! BONG! BONG! etc, etc, etc. Mom makes an angry call to the company's midwestern offices. The guy who answers simply does not care.

Having learned about the Nest, which nicely tells you, "By the way, your house might be on fire, but if it's not, just give me a wave and I'll shut up pronto," via Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! we sign up immediately after hanging up from Mr. Uncaring Smoke Detector Representative.

Back to Paws in the Park. There'll be a great walk through the lovely Easton grounds, dotted with ponds, a costume contest, Frisbee and agility demonstrations. Plus there won't be a smoke detector within hearing range. I guarantee it!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Close encounters of the cat kind (plus a couple of coyotes)

My imitation of Mom's scream.
So I'm ambling along the ridge on the western side of Morses Pond, and out of nowhere, a gray and white cat takes a swipe at me. He was hidden in the brush, and fresh from a perusal of the post-Columbus Day soccer tournament detritus at the Lilja fields, I was nosing for something interesting.

Rather than the pizza crust, gummi bears, and a piece of an unidentified candy bar, I discovered earlier (yum), I nearly had a noseful of cat scratch. He took not just one swipe, but several before Dad managed to wrestle me away. Mom did the scream thing, which actually did, I think, manage to scare that cat. I mean, anyone would have been terrified.

Speaking of, the birds under our feeder have been under attack by a gray and white cat, one with a pretty pink collar, and a blackish-brownish cat. (And that's why we call our newly rescued budgie Lucky.) But I fear that they will be terrorized, in turn, by the pair of coyotes I spotted this afternoon on Morses Pond Road. One was trotting down the street; the other was snooping around in the direction of the feeder.

Last year, coyotes attacked two small dogs in Wellesley, killing one. So, cats, beware! If you're not afraid of me (and clearly you are not) I have a feeling that this pair just might keep you inside this Halloween.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Should we get rid of the penny? I say absolutely not.

A roll of pennies saved is a roll to destroy.
Did you ever wonder whether banks count each one of those little Lincolns you carefully wrap and bring in to stoke your savings account? No? I gave my folks reason to think about it during a recent monetary recount.

Maybe it was the smell of money. Maybe it was that things were becoming just a little too tidy in Dad's study. Maybe I just wanted to throw my money around. In any case, I ripped open a bunch of those paper cylinders and left the evidence for my folks to ponder.

If we got rid of the penny, what would happen to Ben Franklin's maxim, "A penny saved is a penny earned?" What about "Find a penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck?" What about all of those kids who learn basic chemistry with a penny and some baking soda and vinegar? We can't disappoint them, can we?

And what about all those dogs who, having nothing else to do besides drive their parents crazy, just like to wreak havoc?

Money. It's attractive. Today Mom observed an assistance dog, Charger—guess he usually prefers credit—nearly go for some dropped change at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts's John Singer Sargent exhibit. Maybe Charger thought his person had dropped it and is trained to pick up such things. Maybe he needed a bit of luck.

My parents really should be happy. Not only did they pick up one penny, they picked up hundreds. Lucky, indeed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dog parks in Natick's future?

Though my breed can scale fences, I'm good with staying inside this one.
Look, I'd like to roam as much as anyone. More than anyone, in fact. But given that I'd like to stay in one piece, I understand the need for fences.

Which is why I'm glad that Natick is exploring whether it might be a smart thing to create dog parks in town. My stomping grounds include the fields next to the Lilja School and the Hunnewell Woods, which serve as nformal dog parks for those dogs who actually listen to their people.  Or whose people think they listen to them.

Problem is, if I'm off-leash, I'm not listening. Let's face it: if I'm on leash, I'm not listening either. I'm a dog. I want to do what I want to do, and I work really hard at getting it.

So if it weren't past my bedtime, I would hie myself over to the Community-Senior Center on East Central Street at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a community forum on whether dog parks would be doable, where they might be located, and how they might be paid for and managed. It's sponsored by the Open Space Advisory Committee.

Because I won't be able to participate, I hope that plenty of folks will show up. Count me in favor.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Meet my new American cousin: he's a Jersey boy now

Buddy seems like he'll make a great pal!
Though my roots are in South Carolina, my adopted family's are in New Jersey. And, although they are of the Jersey shore, they're definitely not that Jersey shore. You know the one I mean.

Even so, at the last family wedding, just a couple of weeks ago, the bride and groom's first dance was to Bruce Springsteen's Jersey Girl. I wasn't there, of course, but I heard all about it.

I wasn't invited to the other shore wedding this summer, either, and that's OK, but when Mom heard that the bride had exciting news, she called her immediately.

A new cousin on the way, perhaps?

"Mike and I adopted...a dog!!" the new bride exclaimed. "His name is Buddy, we've had him less than 24 hours, and we already love him!!!"

Many more exclamation points followed during which advice about halters, beds and food was given (and Mom hardly is the one to give such advice) along with a lengthy disquisition of the joys of canine companionship. (Note: I'm being repetitive here, because the word disquisition implies lengthy, but I like the way the two words sound together. Plus the repetition might help those who have never heard the word disquisition before, much less know what it means. I guess they haven't read my blog.)

While the humans also discussed sleeping arrangements involving a crate, I'm pretty sure that Buddy will have his own ideas about making himself comfortable in his new digs.

Buddy is a lab-chow mix, originally from Virginia (so a Southern boy like me), eight months old and the graduate of a training facility. He seems intelligent and charming, just like his cousin. Welcome, Buddy!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

May the force be with you

The grandmotherly type at the Petco Unleashed register in Wellesley looked down her nose at Mom, who as usual was struggling with me.

Caught in a particularly crazed moment.
"That's nothing," said the lady, waving her hand at my bulk as if she were shooing away a mosquito. "My daughter has a Great Dane who's 150—no, 160, pounds."

Mom, not aware that she had entered herself in the "Who Has the Biggest Dog" competition, did not respond, especially because she was trying to remove my front three-quarters from the countertop, where I had launched myself to try out the free treats.

(The last time I did this, I succeeded in knocking all of the treats to the ground, my typical M.O.)

Finally, after wrestling me down from the counter (at which was successful only because the treats proffered were undesirable to me) she said: "It's not the poundage, it's the force of will."

Unimpressed, the woman ignored this.

Now, I don't pretend to be the biggest dog on the block (honors there go to a French mastiff, or Dogue de Bourdeaux) nor do I need to compete with anyone—anyone, that is, except Mom.

Lately, she's taken to theatrics to get me to behave, such as using a deep voice to order me into the car after a walk. That is, when no strangers are around for me to impress with my sudden obedience.

It's really fun making Mom look foolish. Sometimes I feel a bit sorry, or a teeny bit embarrassed for her. But then, I get over it. Because winning, indeed, is the only thing.