Monday, December 30, 2013

This New Year's Eve party starts early: Boston College vs. Arizona in the Advocare V100 Bowl

No sitting is allowed during any Boston College
football game in our house, so I'm giving my famous
Andre Williams-like glutes advance rest.
Slept for 24 hours straight after my three-day party over at Southboro Kennels. Mary warned my family that I tuckered myself out zooming around with those border collies, but they weren't quite prepared for the depths of my exhaustion.

Got home and immediately crept into bed, where I did not stir for an entire day, except for a two-minute break the next afternoon to gobble some food and slink back into my chair for a few more hours. I basically must have sleepwalked to my bowl and back.

Good thing, though, because now I'm all rested up for the big Boston College New Year's Eve bowl game. Huge is the theme. It's huge that BC's going to a bowl after last year's disastrous season; Dad's a huge fan of BC football and new AD Brad Bates; Mom recently got to size herself next to some football players at an esoteric medieval choral performance in Gasson Hall (Really! All three of my Dad's football playing students attended the optional concert. Her take: "they're huge!"); plus, my huge glutes have been favorably compared to those of Heisman finalist Andre Williams (just call me Tucker44).

So, who's ready for a New Year's Eve party? The one to catch is in Shreveport, La. and at my lovely Wellesley home. The one with the huge BC flag out front.

Go Eagles!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Inside scoop on rescued Wellesley dog!

Crosby's safe, thanks to
Wellesley firefighters and police.
While I was woofing it up at Southboro Kennels in a new bromance with two border collie mixes, my good friend Paul Delaney was fighting through deep, icy water to help rescue a five-year-old Wellesley golden retriever.

Paul (that's Wellesley Fire Lieutenant Delaney to you) is one of my biggest fans, and he was extraordinarily fond of my predecessor, Sparky. That was only right, because as a stunning Dalmatian, Sparky was a splendid representative of the firefighters' mascot.

Even though I'm spooked by water coming out of hoses, Paul and I get along grandly. So I'm not at all surprised that when duty called, he had no problem jumping in after a canine. (Not to take credit away from firefighter Dave Papazian, who hacked away at the ice to reach the dog first, secured her and turned her toward shore. It's just that I haven't had the opportunity to meet him.)

Dad, though in no way professionally qualified to do so, years ago saved Sparky after an unfortunate tumble into a muddy marsh area of Morses Pond. The temperature was five degrees, my family was skating, and although most times Sparky was kept strictly on leash, he loved to race on the frozen pond. Except when he got to the part that never freezes.

Dad threw himself on the ice and inched toward Sparky, then managed to haul him up and over. The pup was shivering, dark brown from the mud and both of them were scared, but soon recovered.

But I digress, as usual.

Back to the valor exhibited by firefighters Papazian and Delaney. After viewing the video available on the Wellesley Police Department website, I called Lt. Delaney for some firsthand scoop, hoping there was some left that he hadn't already given out to the world's media. The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post, the UK's Daily Mail...all the TV news outlets, every dog blog in the world, it seems, carried the news. Except for mine.

But who could get the up close, personal story? You know, with the meaty info?

That would be me. Dad placed a call on my behalf to Lt. Delaney and asked the pertinent questions.

Here are the answers: First, the local deli to which Crosby's owner, Amy Kapinos, provided gift cards was one of my very favorites: The Linden Store. (I prefer the Isabella, but the Kaitlynn is amazing, too.)
Second, the Christmas cookies she delivered to the station: sugar, in the shape of dog bones. Yum.

Now to the kudos. Many have commented on the bravery shown by our Wellesley first responders. Here's one example:

Walt from Miami commented on the Daily Mail's site:
"Thank You as well, Dave Papazian and Paul Delaney for saving this animal. You both deserve the highest respect and recognition society can bestow for risking your lives and bringing Crosby home for Christmas."



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa's in town!

Looking for a Santa to add a little energy to your Christmas
celebrations? I'm available.

Merry Christmas!

Keeping an eye on the presents.

Christmas is a happy time, and I'm always happy to receive an early gift. This one, addressed to my sister, especially piqued my interest. She didn't seem to mind me spoiling the surprise.

It's a new species of rabbit: one mixed with a tiger that somehow sports a mustache.
Strike that: it did sport a mustache, before I got hold of it. Now it's part of The Land of Lost Pieces of Christmas Toys, a collection to which I frequently contribute. It's not a particularly helpful habit, I realize, but I'm the first to realize that I am not perfect. Perhaps it's something I could work on as a New Year's resolution. It would require many, many toys on which to practice, but I'm game.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Why I love SmartPak: the store's siren song

I'm always happy when I can get to SmartPak.
It's not Greek to me. I know exactly why I love the SmartPak store on Rte. 9 in Natick. Truly, I could be trapped there forever, and not mind one bit.

Are you not getting my metaphor? Did you not read The Odyssey? The Sirens of Greek mythology lured sailors to their deaths with their irresistible song.

The only danger here, an ocean away from the rocky Sicilian islands said to be the Sirens' home, is the highway, not the sirens themselves.

Let me set the scene: Saturday afternoon, nothing to do. I'm bored with the usual routine, so I head down Grove Road. Mom notices, too late, and is powerless to stop me. As usual.

Did anyone notice that "usual routine" seems more than a bit redundant? The dictionary definitions don't really help here. Usual: habitually occurring or done; that which is customary. Routine: a sequence of actions regularly followed.

I feel the pull of the store. It's not the free treats on the counter. It's not the smell of the saddles, or the dog bones snug in a basket, just at nose-level.

Instead, it's this. The moment I walk in, I'm surrounded by young women. Giving me hugs, kisses, cooing in my ear,  praising my good looks, charm and gentleness. It was almost too much. Almost.

Mom always says that I am the pony she never got to have. I guess that's part of my charm. Apparently, the SmartPak women think so, too.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hoping Santa remembers the nice

Looking pretty decent in my Santa hat.
I can clean up real good, especially for a formal portrait. Lately I've been working on my manners. Here's how it happened: afternoon walks always seem to reach a midpoint at Petco Unleashed in Linden Square. The staff always is too kind to insist that just one cookie is enough, or that I might be baying too loudly.

But when Lynne saw Mom struggling mightily (as usual) with me, she suggested a training refresher and offered a free half-hour session. I went (although Mom didn't tell me why at first) and I didn't really mind. The deal is, you pretend to behave and get lots of free treats. You get to keep going back. As you can see from my Santa portrait, I can be both naughty and nice. Hoping that Santa will remember the nice on Christmas morning.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Looking for cute pictures of dogs playing in the snow?

I'm a Southern boy by birth, so snow is not really my thing.
How about cute pictures of dogs sleeping? Cute pictures of dogs stealing food? Cute pictures of dogs running around like maniacs?

Those I have. Plenty of them. The ones of dogs jumping and playing in the fluffy snow—well, you'll have to find yourself another source.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What to do with all those leftovers? Here's a simple solution

This Pilgrim looks like he's had a
few leftovers too many.
Let's face it. If you've still got Thanksgiving leftovers, it's time to toss them. Because I was in long in kennel pent during the holiday, not only did I have no opportunity to snag some turkey in its post-oven resting phase, I was too hoarse to even contemplate putting paw to paper. That's what two and a half days of barking will do for you.

To my solution: it is simple, indeed. One's dog would be most grateful, especially if they, too, were in kennel pent. And if anyone is getting my Keats allusion, they would have been in complete agreement with David McCullough, Jr. as he spoke about the necessity of reading at the Wellesley Free Library Thursday night. (The Swellesley Report nicely distills the talk here. ) To those who didn't have the pleasure of being inspired by another fine English teacher, John L. Mahoney of Boston College, here is the link to Keats' poem from the Poetry Foundation. Read, and breathe.

But I digress, as usual. Back to leftovers. They're a constant problem in my house, and I suspect yours, too. So you left your precious family member at the kennel. Feel a tad guilty? Especially when said pet comes home barely able to speak? Erase that guilty feeling with a generous helping of turkey, ham, squash—whatever.

I gave my own leftovers to the lady down the street. Not food, of course–too precious—but clothing. I dug into my closet and came up with a Halloween costume that never quite worked. Not only am I rather averse to costumes, this one in particular had a strange duality: Pilgrim plus witch. What were they thinking?

This particular lady down the street, I suspected, would not mind this ahistorical issue. The heiress to a large cement bunny that perches on the edge of her property, she has embraced her acquisition with humor and verve, dressing it for various occasions: beads and fringe for Mardi Gras, patriotic wear for the Fourth. You get the idea.

In turn, I had the idea to bequeath this unusual gear, plus an angel costume of my predecessor Sparky, to the bunny. I figured the heiress would know what to do with my bequest.