Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Daisy does the polar bear plunge

Daisy takes the plunge.

The fish didn't mind having a friend in, and neither did I.
In advance of the traditional New Year's Day polar bear plunge, and fortunately just in advance of today's icy snow glop that forced me to wear my winter coat, one of my less well-behaved, but nevertheless welcome, visitors took a dip in my pond.

My personal pond, that is, not the local body of water known as Morses. This pond, while it is home to fish, frogs and the occasional turtle, is more of a watering hole for me, and this visitor--Daisy is her name--rightly treated it as such. In fact, she was so thirsty after racing around my garden that she waded in farther and farther, lapping as she went, until she was up to her neck in water and pond fish. Fortunately, they did not mind.

I was thrilled to have a playdate with Daisy, who is one of the many pups--albeit a very special one-- brought up North by Greg Mahle, the subject of local author Peter Zheutlin's book Rescue Road. I'm from the South, too, so I knew we would get along just fine.

Besides the fun, one of the best things about having Daisy over was that she made me look good. Really good. Her mom has trained champions. Dogs who understand French. Dogs who can actually dance to actual music. I can barely speak English, and I'm better at dressage than dancing.

Turns out, all I had to do to look good was to sit. I rarely sit, but I did for her. In return, I chomped down bits of string cheese. Daisy? She mostly raced about, heedless.

I'm no Christmas angel, as Mom would attest. So I will confess that I mostly sat. The rest of the time, I was inclined to knock Daisy's mom over. Given that she does not weigh much more than I do, it would have been a cinch, but I decided it wasn't worth the repercussions. If she had blue cheese, well, that would have been another story. As I'm already packing on the holiday pounds, it's something I could go for in the new year. Better than an ice cold plunge any day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Did Jesus even drink coffee?

Ever hear the one about how Jesus went
into a Starbucks and ordered
 a double frappe macchiato?
Did snowflakes ever fall in Bethlehem? Did anyone hang ornaments on the manger?

I mean, we might as well get authentic about it...so I asked history professor dad the obvious question: might Jesus have drunk coffee?

"My guess would be...no," concluded he. Perhaps, he mused, somewhere in the Bible it mentions Jesus' dietary habits?

In the absence of such data, I say, look at someone's coffee cup collection, and you can learn volumes about them--not anything of biblical proportions, but certainly plenty.

Mine, for example, includes souvenirs from the Rivers Music School; Boston College; that Jersey Shore institution, Ron Jon's; the Volvo place; Rensselaer, alma mater of my sister; and a red-banded cup from the Wellesley Education Foundation's spelling bee.

Nothing religious about them, unless you consider Dad's fanaticism about the Boston College Eagles football team, which could use a bit of prayer right now.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Arrrrgh! Raking up some booty in Wellesley Square

Testing my sea legs--and some fine Halloween treats.
Missed The Dogist Halloween photo shoot --and my chance at fame -- at Wellesley Books in the Square today, all because Mom and Dad were watching former Raider John Fadule give the Boston College Eagles football team more forward mo than they've had all season.

So I hoisted sail and tacked on over after the game, hoping for some booty. Like any seasoned pirate, I found it, of course.   First, at the bookstore, my customary treat and a photo of me in my seagoing gear. Apparently, my landlubber parents still consider me a scalawag, although a pirate has a bit more leeway in life than the prisoner I was doomed to role-play after my all-too-short-lived escape last year.

So, I sailed northward to Petco Unleashed, where I found me another pirate dog, and he was none too pleased to have a rival. It was all "arrgh!" this and "arrgh!" that, which was totally unnecessary as I outweighed him by more than a few stone, and could have tossed him into the deep without getting any sea spray on my pantaloons.

But I was patient, gave him a wide berth, and soon he shoved off, sensing that my said patience was wearing thin. So quickly, indeed, that he be forgetting his treasure. Not me. Oh, no, matey.
I made off with a big bag o'Halloween treats, and didn't have to play a single trick. Ahoy there, and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

You can have it all: Wellesley AND Portofino!

The Wellesley at anchor in Portofino.
Ever since Mom got back from her way-too-long summer stay on the Italian Riviera, that's all she can talk about: Portofino, Portofino, Portofino.

It's driving me more than a little pazzo, if you get my Italian.

Well, I've done some research, and it turns out she really can have it all. It just so happens that there is a yacht named Wellesley. The Wellesley, in fact. Not only is it a sweet little number at 100-plus feet long, it docks in that snug little harbor, possibly the most beautiful place on earth and, by the way, home to both Dolce and Gabbana. And if you have to ask who they are, well...then maybe Portofino is not the place for you.

Missed Dolce & Gabbana's
Alta Moda show in Portofino this summer?
Too bad for you.
Winter rates on The Wellesley start at upwards $60,000--per week. She has a full-time crew of five (they have a separate, entrance to their below-decks quarters), and her myriad of staterooms and en-suite baths can handle a dozen guests, who can lounge in the Jacuzzi, sun on the deck, be lowered on the hydraulic platform to go for a swim, or play with the yacht's "toys"--inflatable stand-up paddleboards and waterski equipment.

But what else would you expect when you have the best of both worlds? Just don't forget your Alta Moda wardrobe. D&G will be expecting you.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

HGTV/DIY/Houzz mania leaves me sleepless

Next project: Turf in the family room?
Not so slowly, but surely, I'm being HGTV'd and DIY'd and Houzzed out of room after room after room. Mom doesn't even watch TV, but somehow she's decided that all of my favorite sleeping places needed some freshening. So every room's been getting the makeover, and where does that leave me?

Let me count the insults:
  1. Barricaded out of last winter's project, the living room. I've been sneaking in there whenever I get the chance, and now there's a pretty effective barricade of baby gates threaded together with bungee cords. Very DIY. Not very HGTV. Definitely not Houzz-worthy, which featured a nifty pull-out drawer with a dog bed in the laundry room.
  2. Permitted only in my sleeping closet in my sister's bedroom (last summer's project). Mom sewed up a storm, refinished a headboard, and bought plenty of white linens. The meaning was clear: no dirty hounds allowed. What hound isn't dirty, I ask? Guess that's what the laundry room dog bed is for.
  3. Unceremoniously and literally dumped from the mattress in what I've always considered to be my very own room, but which needs to become a guest room in a couple of weeks. Mom's decided our guests are too fancy for a simple double bed; they're getting the queen treatment. I'm the king, I protested, but that argument went nowhere.
I don't know how she plans to keep me out of there, but even if she succeeds, I know there's always one place I can sleep: on my parents' bed.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Retired postal worker still a favorite

B.T. —always a reliable source for sustenance.
B.T. wasn't even our letter carrier--just drove one of the trucks that was on my walking route--which covers a bunch of neighborhoods. Whenever I heard his truck, I came running, much to the chagrin of my folks, who aren't fond of strained arm muscles and skinned knees.

B.T. retired sometime in early summer, and while I perked up my considerable ears every time I heard his truck, he, his friendly greeting—"Tucker, where've you been? Sleeping?"— and his treats, were not there. I gave up.

Now, I've never been interested in any other mail truck. I walk all over the place, and ignore any mail carrier--unlike my neighbor Charlie, who can't wait to get a piece of one. It's a good thing that the mailboxes are clustered in our neighborhood, rather than in front of our houses, otherwise poor Charlie would probably have a heart attack.

So I was out walking yesterday, when suddenly, I heard it: B.T.'s truck! I zoomed over, only to find—no B.T. Savvy Mom asks, in between gasps of much-needed oxygen, "Was this B.T.'s truck?" Indeed it was. "They're all the same," says the postal worker, clearly not impressed. But no. They are not all the same. B.T.'s truck had a special sound. And B.T. was special. I miss him.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

La dolce vita for hounds: Italy

Dogs have a special place in the heart of Italians—especially hounds.

From the mountains in the north to the Italian Riviera to the groves of Tuscany, the country teems with teeny Italian greyhounds and spunky daschunds. At least, that's what Mom tells me, because somehow, she left me behind when she and the famiglia went to the old country.

Anyway, she took some pix of the bigger varieties just to give me the idea of what I might have encountered had I had my own passport:

Rocking a nap outside the Duomo in Firenze.

Checking for traffic on a Venice canal near Mom's favorite
place for cichetti and spritz.

I cani guarding a villa in the village of Bedonia in the mountains.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Divine Miss M and I: she loves me (and I confess I feel the same)!

Feeling a bit lovesick now that the
Divine Miss M has returned to her home state.
Everywhere, it seems, there are babies. Out the window, the cardinal babies cry for food. So do the downy woodpecker babies, the oriole baby (just one so far), the starling babies, the sparrow babies. You get the idea. We've also got baby chipmunks (grr!) and baby squirrels.

So it wasn't surprising when a human baby showed up. This one, a 10-month-old I'm calling the Divine Miss M because she certainly comported herself like an angel, became an inside pet for a day or so. A stay too brief, it turns out. Anyway, every time I came near, she shrieked, just beside herself with delight.

That is not the usual reaction humans have to me. I mean, I get lots of compliments on my size, handsome appearance, and voice. But delighted shrieking? Atypical.

So of course I fell in love with her, immediately, and she with me.

Her behavior since meeting me, her mother reports, has been a bit over the top. She's taken an interest in the stuffed puppy she formerly ignored, resorted to stealing another's and absconding with same, and scopes out each dog she comes across, I assume in a desperate search for me.

My behavior? Without Miss M, I've been feeling a bit low. Being adored is pretty nice. So today, make sure you tell someone you love them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Forget the South Beach diet: it's the London (broil) diet for me

This diet worked so well that my body practically disappeared!
Those folks across the pond have it down, that's for sure.

"Is London broil OK?" the deli guy asked my mom.

London broil, I can tell you, absolutely is ok.

I've been getting the pampered treatment lately, and boy, do I deserve it.

I've got about 25 staples in my back, another few in my armpit (I can't see them, so they remain uncounted) and a nasty limp as a leftover from an intravenous feed--phlebitis, apparently. All I know is that it hurts.

My neighbors probably all have been late for work this last week or so, as I haven't been up to the task of waking them all up. I've been so knocked out by surgery that I've barely said a word.
(A word to you dog owners: get all of those lumps and bumps checked. Some of them aren't just extra pudge. That was the case with me. )

Lest you fear for my welfare,  the doc at IVG in Natick thinks I'm going to be A-OK. I'll just make sure she insists on some roast beef in my regular diet from now on.

Here's the deal: all that extra protein must be working. Today, mom decided it was time for me to reenter society. When she actually said the entire word usually spoken as C-A-R, I practically knocked her over.

That's not hard to do, because she's still limping from the Boston Marathon. I mean, get over it already. I'm so over having matching limps.

Neighbors, throw out your alarm clocks. I"m back!
In case you were wondering about the origin of the term "London broil," this way of cooking and serving beef appears to have nothing at all to do with London. Apparently the method is an American invention and is not found in British cookbooks. Thank goodness I'm an American, not English, hound!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Let sleeping dogs...

So I'm out on my usual walk, take my usual roll or two in the long grass—it feels really good on my back—and snatch the opportunity for a short nap.

Mom, who's been hobbling ever since the Boston Marathon, is exhausted at this point in the 3-mile loop. She plops down next to me, so of course I pop right up, if only to give her a little more exercise.

We trundle off toward home, when a neighbor drives by.

"Is your dog OK?" she asks Mom.


"He was lying down, and I wondered if he was sick or something," she said. "I thought he might need a ride home."

If anyone needed a ride home, it was Mom, I would have said, but I was already off, running like the wind. Too bad there's not a Boston Marathon for dogs.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wellesley Strong!

Thought you heard sirens on Washington St. Sat. a.m.?
No, that was just me, singing away.
I showed up to add a little life to the Wellesley Strong photo shoot on Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous day, and I bayed up a storm just to keep things interesting.

I foresee a new career: making sure everyone's smiling at whatever event causes one to hire a photog. Preferably an outdoor event--earplugs might interfere with guests' fashion statements.
Thanks to Elaine Marten for organizing this opportunity to show our community support for our marathon runners! Thanks to Maura Wayman for laughing at my antics, not being startled off her ladder, and for her great photographs!

Make sure you're out on the course tomorrow, cheering on the runners in the rain! Unfortunately, I have an important sleeping engagement and will miss the race.

Grand opening at the Wellesley RDF

Just after Opening Day (not that Opening Day, silly, this is Swellesley) I showed up to browse the castoffs at the world-famous Take It or Leave It, where Mom has scooped up many a pricey object--last year's prize being a $500 leather satchel in primo condition.

We took a carload o'stuff, also in perfectly good shape, and then I sniffed around.

Lots of good smells, but otherwise I found little to interest me except for a couple of dog related items: a Scooby-Doo chia pet and a toy dachshund, who didn't look like he'd be all that fun to play with.

Thanks to the volunteer Friends of Recycling, everything was organized and shipshape.
Like the good citizen I am,
I left the chia pet for someone else to enjoy.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day in the life: crashed a party, scared the Easter Bunny

Like my sister, who would choose only one egg of each color
and leave the rest to her friends, I shared this egg with a new pal, Drew.

On my way to have the usual at Petco Unleashed in Wellesley—the usual being a mouthful of free treats generously available at the counter—I noticed tons of small children, some toting Easter baskets, heading inside.

Too many were streaming in to have mistaken it for a birthday party at GlowGolf next door, but a bevy of small children doesn't intimidate me, so I trotted on in.

The Easter Bunny has a good startle reflex.
Petco's kind staffers bustled about, dropping plastic eggs in strategic locations. My ears perked up: my predecessor, Sparky, loved cracking those eggs to find the dog treats hidden inside. Maybe I could practice my skills.

But no. This egg hunt was for children only, I was told. So I left the eggs alone and pointed a cute little guy, Drew, toward the ones hidden in the tennis ball bin.

No one, however, restricted me from visiting the Easter Bunny. I was excited. I have a bunny brother at home, and the idea of meeting The Big Bun made my heart race.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. Though I was extremely well-behaved and patiently waited my turn (unlike a boorish black lab who shoved his way through the crowd and then snapped at me), E.B. seemed to find me, a dog in a dog store, rather unexpected. Not only did he have no treats for me, he seemed a bit—afraid? Afraid of being upstaged, perhaps.

I could have gone mano a mano with him, because he seemed ready, or insisted on being in all of the photos with the children, but instead did the gentlemanly thing: gave E.B. some space, and moved on.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Goodbye, Kym! Bookstore manager (and hound) leave Wellesley

A mournful bay upon Kym's leaving. She's leaving,
I'm staying.
One of my very favorite friends, Kym Havens, assistant manager at Wellesley Books, is pulling up stakes in Wellesley and heading to Plainville, Mass., to help open a new bookstore for Jeff Kinney, author of the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid children's book series.

I'll be missing Kym's farewell gala, as it interferes with my nap schedule, so I called on her late this afternoon just before she headed out.

Rather than taking the trouble to page her, I let out a few bays, which is usually enough to bring all of my admirers to my side, proffering treats, backrubs, etc. And you thought this was a bookstore!
Kym leaves to join former store manager Deb Sundin, who left Wellesley Books last year to embark on this new venture. Check out the interior in progress here.

Kym never failed to laugh at my antics. I actually inspired her to adopt a Walker hound of her very own, Junebug, as if her pup Biscuit didn't do enough to entertain her. The two pups have become great pals and partners in crime.

Kym and Junebug certainly will be back, because however awesome her new store will be, it will have a NO DOGS ALLOWED policy (unlike the fabulous Wellesley Books). That's because the bookstore includes a cafe, and somehow, people in Plainville don't seem to understand that it's people who make things dirty and dogs who clean them up. From my experience browsing around Boloco's outdoor space (after hours of course), I can tell you I do my best to keep that sidewalk spanking clean.

If anyone is up to the challenge of opening a new store, it's Kym, with her great good humor, patience and, of course, excellence at bookselling and managing. I have offered to serve on the screening committee for her successor.
Dearest Kym, I will miss you. Love to Junebug (Biscuit, too.)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dog park for Wellesley's North 40? Hey, Ellen, how about it?

Cooper the Goldendoodle before Wellesley firefighters rescued him.
Image from Wellesley Police Department video. Watch it here.
Just thought I'd weigh in —all 87.7 lbs. of me — before the going gets tough on exactly what is going in, or on, the North 40 property. And what a cure for winter weight that would be—a fenced place to gallop around and meet up with some friends.

Here's what made me think of it: not just the sight of poor Cooper, who didn't know what he was getting into when he ventured onto the icy Charles River at Elm Bank this week, and those brave firefighters who jumped into the water to save him, but looking over at a pack of dogs racing around Morses Pond this afternoon.

They really should not have been there. Safely frozen? Maybe, maybe not. Sections of the western shore certainly are mushy, and there's one part that never freezes.

Maybe Ellen DeGeneres, who generously offered another group of Wellesley firefighters a Caribbean cruise for their heroic rescue of a dog just before Christmas last year—also at Elm Bank—,will step up and give the town of Wellesley something it obviously needs—and which won't challenge state ethics laws: a dog park. The North 40 might be just the place for it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

If you take away a dog's chair...or, the dangers of HGTV

This morning's rude awakening.

Now, Mom doesn't watch TV (even on the treadmill), but that whole HGTV-like deal about every part of your home being perfect all the time has, rather unfortunately, seeped into our own home. It could be severe nesting syndrome, it could be the grim cold, but all I know is how it's affecting me.

To wit:

If you take away a dog's chair, he'll find a couch to sleep on
(preferably newly upholstered, although I could have done without having to move the just-cleaned carpet put on there in the vain hopes I would find it to be an obstacle);
if you take away a dog's couch, he'll find a bed to sleep on;
if you bother the dog by ironing nearby, he'll find another bed;
if you annoy the dog by vacuuming within twenty feet of said bed, he'll find yet another bed;
when the sun moves from that spot, he'll find...
a sunny couch to sleep on.

And when you move him from the couch...
he'll make you take him for a walk.
If I'm looking a bit devilish, it's because this photo was taken
preparatory to yet another unceremonius upheaval.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yappy dachshund gets owner kicked off JetBlue plane

A good night's sleep before travel always is advisable.
Maybe he thought Florida would be too hot. Maybe he just wanted to stay home. Or maybe, this little beastie simply was woken up too early.
Scene: Today's 6 a.m. JetBlue flight from Logan to West Palm. Plane is packed. Woman gets on with wire-haired dachshund, scoots it under her seat.
Dog yips.
Dog yaps.
Dog won't stop.
Flight attendants step in, tell the owner that the dog has to stop barking.
Well, if she holds the pup, that will control the barking, the owner says.
When that didn't work, and the dog continued its yippity-yap, the owner was told she'd have to get off the plane. No way, she says, she paid for the seat and paid for the dog, too.
Next step: state troopers, the attendants say. Bring 'em on, the owner says.
So they do. And finally, she, and her barky little beast, deplane.

Tucker travel tip: give your pups a new chew toy, bone or juicy porterhouse steak if you'd like them to settle down. And don't forget the full-size bed.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Castaway, Boston version: I've gone native

When it's the closest thing you've seen to a stick in months...
Remember Tom Hanks in Castaway? After he crashes, we see his first clumsy attempts at survival. Then, we next see him amazingly buff and skilled, in the way that one becomes when one is, let's face it, stuck in some situation in which there is nothing to do but make the best of it.  

Well, it appears that I've finally accepted the fact that Mom and Dad are never going to retire and move to Florida...which means I've become a true New Englander.

So pass me another icicle, and this time make it a big one.

... the instinct is to chomp.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Get me out of here! Or, good reasons to love winter

Time's up for winter.
One thing about those hardy New Englanders: they love to complain about the weather.

With good reason, I might add.

They'll talk about moving to Florida or some other completely improbably place, sure, but they won't do it.

Because in the next breath, which they might hold until our first really warm day, in, say, July, they'll say: "I love the change of seasons." Unless they only mean the one day that mud season (spring to most of you) changes to summer, I can't think of a more disingenuous statement.

All I can say is: being a South Carolinian by birth, saved from certain tragedy by being shipped up to the lovely Commonwealth of Massachusetts and most particularly, my seemingly never-ending selection of choice sleeping spots, you've gotta take the bad with the good.

Right now, I'm going to betake myself up into guest bedroom #1, then slither down into my cozy armchair in the living room before being served my next meal. Bulking up on calories is one way to get through winter, and I'm doing my part.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This is just to say II

I highly recommend Great Hill Blue--and Mom's quiches.
That I have saved you the trouble
of making those quiches
about which you were so anxious

the folks at Great Hill Blue
would be pleased
I enjoyed their cheese

forgive me
I was hungry
and you were careless.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl commercials: a dark and scary night

If only I had slept through the Super Bowl, I wouldn't
be having nightmares now.

Really! Does almost every commercial have to be so frightening and dark? I was happy to see that the adorable puppy-Clydesdale bromance return, but it turned into a nightmare! That early spot turned out to apparently set a trend for terrifying, dark, disturbing ads.

Here's how warped things have gotten:
Budweiser vp Brian Perkins told People magazine:
"Lost Dog" is a heartwarming tale about how true friends always have your back."
Heartwarming? A puppy becomes lost and is threatened by a terrifying wolf? But wait, there's more. Perkins also said: "It's a storyline that people of all walks of life can relate to." 
Hmm.. let's see. Anytime I'm frightened, a bunch of burly Clydesdales, or facsimiles thereof, will come to my rescue? Or maybe a evil-eyed lion surrounded by a tribe of completely scary silver-clad robot chesspeople? Oh, wait. That was the halftime show.
Used to be, the only harm these ads did was to make you groan with how stupid they were. Now, you need body armor, not to mention earplugs and a blindfold.

Better yet, I should have slept through the whole thing.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wellesley thief nabbed in purse-snatching

Ok, so I nabbed a purse from a two-year-old. It wasn't my first heist, and I can tell you, it won't be my last.

I'm big, but I'm quiet. Stealthy, you might say, and you'd be right.

Once I snuck up behind an unsuspecting little girl walking with her dad on the boardwalk at Wellesley College. She was holding a cattail, just walking along, having a super day. Well, I snatched that cattail right out of her hand, before she or Mom or anyone else even knew it was happening.

I tried to make my getaway by jumping off the boardwalk. I forgot, however, that I was on leash as always, and Mom was not interested in plunging into the marshes.

The important thing, in both robberies, was that nobody got hurt, nobody cried and no damage was done to either object. I'm a gentleman robber, no doubt about that.

Monday, January 5, 2015

This is just to say

Every kitchen needs a recipe tester.
That the gingerbread
which you had baked for the neighbors
and worried was not good enough
was a little dry.

Forgive me
but it could have used
whipped cream.