Saturday, November 30, 2013

My award-winning dream date, and other impossibilities

Jewel sure is precious.
No, that wasn't me strutting my stuff you saw on the Today show this week. While certainly plenty of people have told me I'm just as striking, the National Dog Show champion actually is my dream girl, formally known as Grand Champion Kiarry's Pandora's Box. When she's off the judges' stand, she's known as Jewel.

I first set my sights on Miss Jewel earlier this year when she won best of the hound group at Westminster, and I wasn't at all surprised when she took top honors at the Philadelphia show.  She's the winningest American Foxhound ever!

Pandora's justifiably proud of her heritage, which I happen to share, in some roundabout way. But I'm more the country cousin to her classy upbringing.

Sort of like Lady and the Tramp, or maybe even Mom and Dad. Remember when Lady says of Tramp, "he's not really handsome...but I love him just the same?"

Well, I'm plenty handsome. And if I ever get the chance, just maybe—as hope was the only thing left when Pandora opened that forbidden box—Miss Jewel would think I'm a bit of a gem, too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wild cat attack at elementary school playground

Telling Dad about my day.
Sometime last week, afternoon. Sunny day. I'm tearing around the fields next to Natick's Lilja elementary school, flying Mom like a kite. Really—if there had been a breath of wind, even a whisper, she would have been airborne.

So I'm having a wild time, and then things become wilder. My friend and admirer Alexis spots me and waves. I send out a bay. She asks: "How does Mr. Tucker do with cats?" For indeed, a cat is hanging around the playground. Thinking this cat belonged to Alexis, I am reluctant to respond, out of politeness.

But then, things get out of hand.

The cat begins to approach. I bay. And bay. And bay. I could not be louder, or more direct.

Now, I understand that cats are contrary, but this is ridiculous. This wild thing decides to go on the aggressive. It actually runs toward me. Stupidly? Fearlessly. Frighteningly (says Mom). At high speed.
Alexis' daughter chases after it. It zigzags back after me. I'm rip-roaring mad, and if it weren't for Mom's constant weight lifting that helped her hang on to me, that cat would have been chewed up and spit out.

Turns out it was the same cat who decided to box with me a few weeks ago. I'm salivating for the chance to show it who's boss. But fortunately for Mom,  Alexis' daughter chases again, the cat zips past me, and heads under the dumpster.

The way I see it, it's just the place for cats.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

If sitting is bad for you, what does that mean for writers?

Do not disturb.
Here's what I'm wondering: if sitting is bad for you, does that make writers at risk for living shorter lives? As a writer, I have an interest in this topic.

Yet, despite the photo in my last blog post, I rarely sit. So rarely, in fact, that my family takes note of it. "He's sitting!" they'll exclaim, and take a picture.

The only time they don't remark, or exclaim, or do anything but sigh, loudly and persistently, is when I perform my signature move: the Plop of Doom. It's not really a sit at all, more like a statement: "I'm not going where you want me to go. So there. Make me move. Just try. You'll end up giving in sooner or later."

Sit. It's one of the first things that humans like to teach a dog. Of course, we've already learned plenty by the time they even try anything. I do a grudging version of sit when they present my food—actually, it's more like a plie, because I never seem to make it all the way down. By then, they're just so exhausted by my baying that they give in. What, really, do they expect? They ask me if I'm hungry, and I tell them.

Sparky, in contrast, would sit patiently near his empty bowl for his food, so predictably that my sister put up a sign over it reading "Order Line."

So it turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that sitting is bad for you. And even walking a ton (Dad, who does a lot of sitting, writing and reading, does up to 7 miles a day), does not offset sitting. Which leads to the question: should all writers take up the habits of hounds? Or get desk treadmills?

But here's another question for the researchers: if sitting is bad for you, what about sleeping? Is sleeping bad for you? Because the answer to that would really pique my interest. Let me know—after I wake up.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dog attacked at Wellesley College

Me pre-attack. I'd rather run around like a wild thing,
but I get that a leash keeps me, and others, safe.

The subject of this headline? That would be me.

Before I go into details, I must thank the man who saved my life. Not only did was he able to somehow unlock the attacking dog's death grip on my neck, he managed to hold onto his Bernese Mountain Dog at the same time.

His dog, I add, was on a leash.

Thanks to you, man of Bernese, I live. And I could not be more grateful. But for those who did not witness this attack, let me backtrack.

Saturday. A gorgeous day. My family and I, fresh off Boston College's extremely satisfying win over Virginia Tech, head out to the college for a walk. It's after 5 p.m., the weather soft and warm, the fall leaves glorious. I'm trekking along the path from the boathouse toward Green Beach. It's narrow there, where the "spoon-holders" attract those entranced by the view. I spot the Bernese, and I start to bay. Loudly.

I have this thing about large, furry creatures. I make a lot of noise when I see them, and I do need to be held. Not that I would do anything, but still. It's unseemly.

Dad was holding me, admirably. Having had my strength and doggedness favorably compared with that of BC running back Andre Williams, I know it's not easy to keep me back. Guess that's what the leash is for.

So Dad and I are about to move on, when suddenly this muscly, tan, shorthaired beast—and I mean beast—comes out of nowhere, clamps onto my neck and will not let go. Will not. He's all over me. I can't move. Things are not looking good. At all.

The beast, I perhaps unnecessarily add, is not on a leash. His owner? I can't even see her. The Bernese Man resolutely, firmly, bravely gets his own grip on the back of the beast's neck and begins to detach him, bit by painful bit. Dad assists. Mom holds down my skin so it stays on my body, and somehow I am free.

Wounded, you might ask?

Let's just say that, were I Boston College #44, I wouldn't be starting in next week's game.