Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A shaggy dog story that ends in me being on extended bedrest

Why the long face? Read on.
There's something in me that does not love a shaggy dog, and today I learned why.

I ordinarily bay for two reasons: one, to show a pup that I would delight in his or her company; and two, to show a beastly shaggy thing that I would like it to stay away...far away.

Perhaps to the uninitiated, these bays sound alike. Perhaps the shaggy dog I encountered this morning misinterpreted my alarm bay. Perhaps he took it as an invitation to cross the street at a gallop and launch himself at my positively unshaggy body and commit bodily harm to same.

Whatever the inspiration for this ferocious, and I would say, unwarranted, attack, I put up my dukes to no avail. In fact, one of my dukes came into contact with the other canine's canines, necessitating a trip to the vet. Devoted readers of this blog know that I have quite the reputation at VCA Westboro, having escaped from a harness there, exited examination rooms on my own, and put on the brakes altogether at the mere possibility of being examined. My behavior on the scale also has been noted.

Given the expert knowledge of all staff members regarding my Houdini-like abilities and my donkey-like stubborness, I was given the diva treatment and immediately escorted to a private room off the cat entrance. The exam table was lifted so I would not injure my handsome head, the weighing excursion was put off until the end of the visit, and I was duly praised at every turn.

Dr. Dalamangas examined me all over to make sure that I had no other injuries. Then she turned to my left front paw. She likened that part of a paw to the human hand, full of nerves that can cause pain. She observed some swelling and declared I should be on bed rest for 10 days. "No long walks," she said. "No running marathons."

I will leave that last part to my mother. The only question now is: in which bed to rest?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feel-good story: Meet Cricket, assistance pup in training

Cricket, a 14-week-old black Lab, is the new pup on the block.
She's pretty cute--so's her pal, Lucy, who's giving us a chance to get acquainted.

Cricket's just the latest weekend guest at my pal Lucy's house. Lucy's parents have trained several dogs for NEADS, National Education for Assistance Dog Services, which places assistance dogs with deaf or disabled Americans. Most NEADS dogs are trained by prison inmates, but need to be prepared to help people negotiate the outside world. So on weekends, Cricket and others like her stay with volunteer trainers who help socialize them.

In fact, Cricket and Lucy were on their way to SmartPak, the horse and dog supply store on Rte. 9 in Natick. Had I not just finished my morning walk, I would gladly have accompanied them. Besides Wellesley Books, it's my favorite store. Mom actually has informed the staff that if they ever see me hanging around outside to please let me in and give me whatever I want. Actually, I made that last part up. I wouldn't need their help, expert though they are at matters both canine and equine.  I'd just take whatever I wanted.

Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the author of a forthcoming book about raising an assistance dog!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The bones of Morses Pond

Sniffing out a story down on Shore Road.
I've got a nose for sniffing out stories, and when I heard there were bones on the shores of Morses Pond (that's MoPo to locals), I needed to investigate.

A good local news story is worth almost as much as a juicy bone, and here I had two in one. And not just a bone, but bones, plural.

So I overcame my usual reluctance to trek past the bend in Shore Road. That's where I would turn around, dissuaded, with good reason, by the German Shepherds who would hurl themselves at the chain link fence at my approach.  Today, however, no such fright occurred, and I made it to the end of the road.

Being a news hound, I diligently keep up with the Wellesley police log as well as its building permits. My ears immediately perked up at this report in the February 14 Wellesley Townsman:
"On Feb. 7, at 1:34 p.m., Officer Christopher Cunningham was dispatched to Shore Road after a contractor working on a residence reported finding several bones beneath a cement slab. The bones were transported to the state medical examiner's office, where several doctors examined them."

What! I read on.

"It was determined they were the bones of an animal that had been butchered."

First, I thought, I haven't smelled a good pig roast ever since I was a pup, when I lived in South Carolina. If there had been a roast recently, I would have made it my business to know about it, and be there.

Second, I remembered that a house on Shore Road needed to tear down a connector between two houses that made it a two-family (again, thanks to the Townsman, this time for its building permit listing in January). This fact gave me the impetus to overcome my fears of being the German Shepherds' next meal.

I noticed indeed some construction equipment down the end of the street, as well as the missing house-to-house connector.  Checking back into town records, I read that the buildings were joined some time in the 1950s. I would guess that must have been where and when the bloody deed occurred.  But why? And to whom? And wasn't there a lucky dog around to chew on those bones?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Where have all the trash barrels gone? Long time missing.

Handling inspection in my smart, though not warm enough, togs.
For me, a scent hound, sniffing is my stock in trade, my way to keep in touch with what's going on in the world, my newspaper, my e-mail, my essential info source. You get the idea. So I don't mind at all when people don't pick up after their pets. My family, however, is the carry-in, carry-out sort. Yet, they'll use a barrel sometimes rather than carry something super odiferous home. Not that they, with their inferior smellers, really can appreciate it.

Picking up, however, is not the problem, not at the fields next to Natick's Lilja School, anyway. My friend Alexis stocks the pickup bag box herself, ever since the town of Natick stopped filling it a few years ago. The problem is, there's nothing to put the bags in. The barrels have disappeared. I say, if folks are good enough to pick up, let them do the right thing. Even if it makes life a little less interesting for me.