Tag Archives: dog

A Dog on His Master, by Billy Collins (2010)

Tonight I watched a movie in which Billy Collins reads the poem below. Sadie lay splayed on the couch between me and DH and I cried with simple and complete appreciation.

 

A DOG ON HIS MASTER

As young as I look,

I am growing older faster than he,

seven to one

is the ratio they tend to say.

Whatever the number,

I will pass him one day

and take the lead

the way I do on our walks in the woods.

And if this ever manages

to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest

shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.

(from Ballistics: Poems, Random House, 2010)

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Sometimes Love Really Is a Bitch

I could chase my own tail with excitement!

It is sometimes lovely to be completely unaware what is happening in the world. There come distinct moments of delight and surprise that could not occur otherwise.  I’m sitting here by the fire, googling this cozy Friday evening away, and I discovered that NOT ONLY was an animated feature-film length version of Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip released in early September, but it will be playing at Landmark E Street Cinemas on 11/5.  

Best literary animal work of all time coming soon to my favorite movie theater?  With Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Plummer, and Isabella Rossellini? Did I mention the clever log line, Sometimes Love Really Is a Bitch? And that the E Street theater serves wine?

Oh, this calls for some serious pre-game indeed. Consider getting your own copy and following along….



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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Dog Training, literature

Pretty Thoughts for the Season

Yesterday was a glorious fall day in the DC Metro Area. DH usually does morning walk duty with Sadie and Dub, but yesterday I bolted shamelessly from my side of the bed to volunteer. And by shameless, I mean that I muscled through the shame I felt to get what I wanted. On days when I don’t have to be anywhere, playing with the dogs out while DH makes breakfast for Pebbles and Bam Bam is a mouthwatering luxury, and DH knows it. Add an overpriced cup of coffee, and the minivan practically drives itself to the dog run.

Right. I drove them to the dog run. It undermines one of my primary excuses for getting the dogs (to encourage exercise) but supports the other – the play side.

Nothing marvelous or extraordinary occurred while we played. Dogs sniffed and were sniffed, Frisbees were caught. But my three-dollar coffee tasted SO good between chucks of Dub’s slobbery, muddy tennis ball into the glinting sunlight. And all while Sadie mosied about sharing the love, as she as wont to do whenever friendly strangers are in her midst. Sadie is the Blanche DuBois of dog run visitors.

"I've always depended on the kindess of, well, you know..."

With all the unmitigated quiet in my head, I had the presence to ask myself why I loved this moment so much. I didn’t used to love this moment. Not with giddy enthusiasm, anyway. When we lived in Manhattan with Samson, and DH was traveling for work, I could be positively grudging as I buttoned my coat up to my nose while waiting at the coffee cart with our first Brittany. I’d spill half the coffee down my sleeve and curse a blue streak while I trudged to the run at Riverside and 105th. Then I’d drink what was left while Samson poked his nose through the iron fence and pointed squirrels on the other side. Feeling guilty for having a hunting dog in the city, I’d let him out of the run (after checking carefully for park police) to chase local vermin, and then inevitably, he’d gallop away and I would spend the next 15 minutes running about in a tearful panic, hoping he didn’t make it all the way to 96th street and try to cross….   

That was the worry of my life in those days — Samson getting creamed by the cars turning off of West Side Highway onto Riverside Drive. I was getting my MFA, and one memorable morning, Samson’s self-guided hunting expodition made me nearly late for a seminar where I would get to meet Arthur Miller, up close and personal. I thought I was going to KILL him. (Samson, not Mr. Miller. I almost leapt across the table and kissed Mr. Miller on the lips, so brimming with life and creative potential was I on that fall day…)

As I picked up a steaming pile of poop before we headed home yesterday, I drew the somewhat reluctant conclusion that Sadie and Dub inspire nostalgia for more carefree days. Once I got them loaded into the back of the minivan, I edited that thought. They help me be more care-free today.

It’s pretty to think so, anyway.

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Filed under Brittanys, literature, writing

More Than a Feeling

This one’s going out to my well-intentioned mother, who I’m pretty sure still doesn’t quite get why we insist on having animals in our house.  

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Humor

Dogs Are Good: A Riveting Update From Procrastinationville

So right. Nothing from me since August. And I have no excuses worth sharing — same old working-mother-back-to-school-gotta-go-pumpkin-picking bullshit.

A lovely lady I met at a baby shower sent me a note today asking for the link to my blog. I winced with great shame and considered not responding, because then I could feel even more sorry for myself and pine away with professional embarrassment… as any proper, no-good-quitter would.  Then I thought, hells no. I’m going to write a blog entry like a big girl who knows she should be writing — not in spite of her self-loathing and procrastinating ways, but because of them.

Sadie and Dub? The dogs are all good. Dub continues to poop in my house from time to time, which I find annoying but oddly forgivable. Poor guy. I think he’s actually so hyper and excited to play he forgets to poop when we take him out. Then he loses it around 4am. He does this usually on the mudroom tile. A lovely package to find on a chilly fall morning, while padding about in my UGG slippers.

Hey, it’s fall! I didn’t even write about our summer vacation yet!  Wait for it.. wait for it…

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Filed under Dog Training, Humor, writing

Do Not Push

So it read on the back of the dump truck in front of me in morning traffic: “Do Not Push.”  After 7 days alone with the kids and the dogs, it came as a divine intervention. 

I’m exhausted, and it ain’t over yet. 

First things first. Dub is fit as a fiddle, far as the vet can tell. He has the resting heart rate of a champion and the dog can catch a frisbee mid-flight with the grace of a gazelle, IF said gazelle could catch a frisbee and as far as I know, gazelles are not nearly that capable or entertaining.  

Dub in his natural state

Our fine vet, Dr. H., thinks the seizure was a fluke; he hasn’t had another. The blood work came back clean. And the vomiting was likely unrelated.  Or as I summarized for DH on the phone the night he called from Pune, “he’s a puker.”  

But I am growing rather attached to the puker.  He takes his cues from his humans, following us everywhere, resting when we rest, running when we run. Bam-Bam is learning this lesson the hard way – he knocked her down during an overzealous game of — and I quote — CHASE! ME! DOGS!  He has a cold black nose and looks so very interested, when he cocks his head just so, in what I have to say.  

He also barks his head off at anything that walks, rolls, or glides past our house, and we live on a very busy corner.  But I’m just moving into day eight of ten home alone, and the dump truck has spoken. I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

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Zone Defense: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday DH left for India for ten days.

An hour before he left, I held Pebbles on my lap while she received four immunizations, two in each thigh.  I will forever hear her screaming “don’t let them do it to me, Mama!”

Six hours before DH left, Dub had his first seizure. He just crouched like the Sphinx, unblinking, drooling, helpless on the office floor.

Twelve hours before DH left, I was on the phone with the on-call pediatrician begging him to call in a prescription for Bam-Bam, who has pink eye. In both eyes.

Twenty-four hours before DH left, I was certain I could handle everything just fine!

Now I’m waiting for the vet to call us back with the results of $300 worth of blood work. (Since the seizure he has played two extended games of fetch and gone for two walks.) I’m administering Bam-Bam the pink-eye medication in four doses daily for five days. Pebbles is proudly explaining to everyone she encounters that her body is now fighting off the diseases the ladies shot “into her bones.”  That is to say, everything seemed to be settling out, until I came home from work this evening and learned that Dub vomited and had diarrhea all over the house.

Under the piano.

Again in the corner.

In the mudroom, dripping down into the air vent.

In the family room.

All over his dog bed.

And our blessed nanny cleaned all of this up, only to vomit HERSELF mid-way through the cleaning job.

I hope the dog doesn’t die. I hope the nanny doesn’t quit. I hear New Delhi is lovely this time of year.

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Filed under Kids, Travel