My sister, Joan, and I went to the Maryland Irish Festival last weekend and had a really good time. I was in the cultural room with other authors, the Annapolis Irish Rowers (who are loads of fun), and all kinds of people with information about Irish history ancient through modern. The guys with the ancient weapons were particularly enjoyable. The next time I have a booth somewhere, I’m totally bringing a halberd. They really draw a crowd. And there were dogs. There were Whippet and Greyhound Rescue groups, a Newfoundland group and the Potomac Valley Irish Wolfhound Club. I, of course, left my booth every time a dog came by, but my sister only managed to get these two photos. The festival was a lot of fun. The music and dancing were fantastic. The vendors were great and the Guinness and Tullamore Dew flowed like water. As it turns out, the water wasn’t that easy to find but the beer certainly was, so if you go next year, bring a designated driver and your dancing shoes.
I know the indoor/outdoor cats in the neighborhood have gotten old and have allowed you to proliferate in larger than normal numbers this year, so let me give you a few survival tips.
- If you squeeze past a barrier and find yourself in an enclosed space, turn around.
- If that enclosed space has a whiff of dog pee, turn around faster.
- If you see an actual dog on a leash in that area, and you don’t die right then, consider yourself lucky and leave.
- If you see the dog again on a leash, please understand, he will not always be on a leash in the enclosed area. Leave immediately.
- If you see the dog a third time on a leash, remember, this is not a permanent state. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY.
- If you’re still in the enclosed space after dinner. YOU ARE DEAD.
- Pro-tip: When the dogs come to kill you, try and angle your head toward the basenji and not the miniature pincher. You’ll have a much quicker, much less painful death. The mini-pin’s mouth just isn’t big enough to kill you in one quick blow.
This morning while I was walking Storm, we came across a sparrow and a cardinal fighting over a moth that they’d already ripped the wings off. The moth was still alive and making a kind of desperate clicking noise with it’s legs. The birds were so focused on trying to get the moth from each other that the sparrow almost ran into Storm’s mouth. Were Storm a slightly bigger dog he would have been able to pull me harder and get that sparrow. Alas, he’s under thirty pounds and couldn’t move me. The birds came to their senses at the last moment and flew away abandoning the moth. I thought the following things about the whole scenario:
- What kind of nightmare hell was happening for that poor moth?
- Are moths so tasty that they’re worth that kind of dangerous competition?
- Who had the moth first?
- Why couldn’t that cardinal easily take the sparrow? He was the bigger bird.
Nature is mysterious.
My youngest dog is a four-year-old, male basenji, Storm. We have two other dogs, females, a miniature pinscher, Hetty, seven, and a border terrier, Cory, thirteen. They all take a mile long walk in the morning. Then we come back to the house and they have their breakfast and then we take Storm for a two and a half mile walk on his own because he needs more exercise than the girls do. He particularly likes this walk because he seems to prefer the idea of being an only dog, even though he’s never been one.
Last Sunday, my husband and I had three of our friends over for brunch. After we ate, we sat around the table for a long time talking, which is a sign of both a successful brunch and interesting friends. Storm, however, felt like our friends overstayed their welcome. Half way through the meal he began to yawn and sigh in the kitchen. Then he started throwing himself against the back door and letting out soft moans of despair as he collapsed in a heap. Apparently, if you don’t have your second walk before noon, your legs are in danger of atrophying and falling off. You didn’t know that? Neither did I. Storm knew. This is apparently the sort of thing that keeps him awake at night. All along I thought that what kept him awake at night was the bunnies frolicking in the yard which he can see from the window behind our bed due to the streetlight on the other side of the road. Bunnies. Who knows what they’re up to? Suspicious.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoy reading James Rollins’ Sigma series, so I thought I’d give this a try. It’s tangential to Sigma, but Wayne is an independent contractor rather than a team member. I liked this book for many of the same reasons I like the Sigma series. Rollins likes to tie his books to actual historical places and events and real science and then he spins a fantastic, action-filled yarn around them. He does that here, but since there isn’t a team involved, I found Wayne getting too battered around for just one guy to reasonably deal with, also I really worried about the dog. I know that’s dumb, since the whole point of the series is Wayne and his dog, but still, I worried. Other than those issues, I enjoyed this book. Scott Aiello did a great job with his performance and it was easy to listen to him for long stretches in the car or just walking around the house doing chores. It’s fast-paced, the locales are great, and because I had just read Churchill’s book on his early life, the references to the Boer War were really interesting. Action fans should check it out.
The video above is presented as proof that Storm does occasionally enjoy the dog park. Shhh, don’t tell him you’ve seen this. It’s top secret.
The great dog park experiment continues. Storm goes every day, Monday through Friday, and then gets a weekend pass. He knows he has to stay an hour, so about fifty minutes in, he starts to cry and walk around near the gate, but there have been several incidents lately when he forgets to cry and drool while standing on the picnic table and actually joins in the fun.
This is one of his little friends. He’s actually gone so far as to run around the enclosure with her several times. Here is proof that he sometimes enjoys himself.
There are other dogs he likes too, although he would never admit it. For the most part, he’s stopped drooling. The crying is much less frequent, but often in the middle of running around, he will remember he’s supposed to be miserable and throws himself on the ground.
Yeah, just like that. Histrionics abound at the dog park, or at least they do for Storm.