Dog Park (Prison) Update

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.

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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.

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Yeah, just like that. Histrionics abound at the dog park, or at least they do for Storm.

Dog Park or Prison Yard?

Storm is definitely in the “prison yard” camp. He hates the dog park. This is how he spends ninety percent of his time when he’s there. Yes, he’s standing on top of a picnic table.

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He doesn’t like that the dog park is dirty. He doesn’t particularly like the other dogs. He doesn’t like that there is a water hose that some people spray their dogs with, which seems like water torture to him. In short, the dog park is a terrible, awful place that he is forced to go to for an hour every day.

Why am I so mean to him? Why does he have to endure such injustice? Because he’s a jerk to the other dogs if he gets bored at home, and the best way to keep him from being bored is to wear his little butt out. Thus two walks a day and the dog park for an hour. It’s hard for me to feel bad for him when lots of dogs don’t get nearly that much exercise. He feels like I’m a heartless monster. Even his beloved Colin won’t save him. He has to go every day to the prison yard.

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Above is his open plea for compassion, but I’m not buying what he’s selling.

Why is there a dog here?

I recently went to London with my friend Kristin and we stayed with our friend Heather at her flat in Marylebone. The three of us always have a good time and I’m always happy to go. As we have on other trips, we spent a fair amount of time in art museums. On this trip we visited the The Wallace Collection, The National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery. They’re all amazing and I highly recommend them if you visit London, especially The Wallace Collection with it’s eclectic but amazing assortment of art and armor.

When I see a lot of different artwork all at once, I tend to reach a saturation point, after which I just start looking for dogs. You find them in the most interesting places in a wide variety of paintings from many different eras. Usually the dogs are clearly a natural part of the scene or perhaps even the focus of the painting, but not always. For example:

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This is a serious painting of a serious religious event. No I don’t remember what it’s called or who painted it when. I was saturated by this point in the day, but look at the little white dog. Why is he in the painting? Why would a dog be in church at all? The sign next to the painting didn’t say, but I wonder.

Then there’s this:

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This is the corner of a huge painting of four Dutch looking guys after they’ve signed an important document. It was painted to commemorate a significant political event, and yet the artist includes a lovely portrait of this little dog. I believe this is someone’s actual dog. Perhaps the artist included a beloved pet. Maybe the dog belonged to one of the men pictured and was actually at the event. Or maybe the patron of the painting asked for a portrait of his own dog to be included. The sign next to the painting didn’t mention the dog. Whose dog is this?

The more I looked, the more dogs I found in strange places or sometimes doing strange things. In one painting that I didn’t take a picture of because the dog was too small and the painting was too high on the wall, there was a dog crouched to defecate. It was a beautiful large landscape featuring a lot of winter activity, but toward the lower right corner there was a dog getting ready to do his business. Was the artist trying to say something about the commission? Was his patron a jerk? Was this dog a way of thumbing his nose? Or did the patron ask for it as an inside joke? I don’t know. Once again, the sign didn’t mention it.

And then there were paintings where clearly the dogs just don’t belong.

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This painting of a satyr morning over a nymph was painted in 1495 by Piero di Cosimo, but it almost looks like two different paintings. The satyr and the nymph are exquisitely portrayed, but the dog in the foreground as well as the dogs in the background are much more roughly painted in like an afterthought. Look at the white dogs forelegs. They’re improbably positioned unlike anything else in the painting. It makes me wonder if the patron looked at the painting of the satyr and the nymph and said, “You know, Piero, there’s a lot of room on the right side and in the back. How about throw in some dogs. People love dogs.” So Piero threw them in.

So those of you out there with an art history degree, enlighten me. What’s up with all the dogs? I’m not complaining mind you. I love dogs, but it is curious. Don’t you think?

 

 

No Carrot, No Stick

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Storm inspects the carrot. He is unimpressed.

Storm went to the vet recently for his regular shots and vet recommended that we add fiber to his diet since his anal glands weren’t fully expressing on their own. Being the dutiful dog person that I am, I went forthwith to the store and purchased a bunch of organic carrots and brought them home for the dogs. Cory occasionally has the same issue, so I figured carrots all around. Since the dogs are fairly small, I split one carrot between the three of them. Cory and Hetty ran off with theirs like they were the happy, crunch prizes I intended them to be. Storm eyed his suspiciously, as I knew he would. This after all could be the very moment I’ve decided to poison him. He carried it around a moment and abandoned it. The girls greedily went for it. He didn’t bother to defend it.

The next day I tried a second carrot. This time I peeled it thinking perhaps the outer skin was slightly bitter and he didn’t care for that. Alas the result was the same. So I guess we’ll move on to pumpkin for him and let the girls finish the carrots. At this rate, Storm will continue with the same problem he started with and the girls will be constipated. Typical.

Dog Laundry

Hetty's delicates.

Hetty’s delicates.

Because I belong to the special kind of crazy club that involves owning a tiny dog, yesterday I did her laundry. It’s not unusual for me to throw one of her outfits in the wash with our clothes, but yesterday was the first time I’ve ever done a whole load of just dog clothes. To be fair, it was a small load, between small and medium actually, and the clothes are mostly handmade by my sister Joan, who also has a tiny dog. My sister is creative and can make pretty much anything, and I think she makes dog clothes with leftover bits of fabric and remnants she finds on sale as a kind of relaxation exercise at the end of stressful days. This is why Hetty has enough of a wardrobe to make up a load of laundry by herself. Although technically, Cory’s sweater and a couple of Storm’s coats were in there too. After all of the clothes went through the delicate cycle on my washer, I pulled the wool sweaters (yes, I know) and hung those on a rack to dry while the rest went into the dryer. I sent Joan a text with a picture of the clothes on the rack. She responded that she was surprised I hadn’t taken them to the dry cleaner. My sisters know me well, but alas, I have not quite reached the level of crazy that would have me walking into the dry cleaners with a tiny basket of tiny wool sweaters. I will resist reaching that level for as long as I can.

Today’s Hetty Forecast: Disgruntled

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Hetty’s schedule:

6:30 Bark because breakfast is over, and she wants to be lifted back on the bed, so she can get under the covers.

8:05 Bark because she’s been up for five minutes, and no one has put any clothes on her, and she’s FREEZING.

8:30 Bark because she can see the sun shining outside and needs to soak it up like a lizard.

8:33 Bark because the sun is lying. It’s not warm. She needs to come in because she’s FREEZING.

8:35 Bark because everyone is doing something and there is no lap available for her to sit in.

8:40 Snuggle in for serious lap time. Finally someone hears her.

9:30 Bark because she can see the sun shining outside…

So that’s been my day. What are you guys up to?

A Potentially Unhappy Home

Dear Lovely Bird Couple,

I know it seems like the paired floodlights outside my porch make for a good location for a nest. After all, being a pair, they provide two sturdy sides to build upon and I see you’ve noticed that I put Cory’s hair, when I trim her, quite nearby, which makes for warm, soft bedding for your new egg. I also see that you’ve managed to find some sturdy nylon netting for additional support for construction. Nice job, bird couple, way to recycle. Alas, I don’t think you’ve met our new addition. His name is Storm and he’s a basenji. Unlike our last basenji, who didn’t care for birds, Storm is like our first basenji, who loved them. By loved, I mean to death, like birds are fun to chase, and watch, and crush when the moment arrives. Granted Storm is still a baby, and hasn’t managed to kill a bird yet, but if past is prologue, you guys are in for a world of hurt. So here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to climb up on a chair and look to see if you’ve already laid an egg. If you have, I’ll let nature take it’s course and this will play out however it plays out. If you haven’t laid your egg yet, I’m knocking your carefully constructed nest down. I’m sure it was a lot of work, but seriously, this probably won’t end well, and I’d rather not have your tiny bird blood on my hands and your crushed little bodies in my yard. I apologize unreservedly. 

Sad Home Owner

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