October 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG often reads the Prince Edward Island Guardian (“We cover the Island like the dew”) with a second cup of breakfast latte. A story caught HG’s attention yesterday: It concerned a dog lover’s organization in Britain that was teaching Newfoundland dogs to swim, search and rescue. Yes, that was their function living on the ships of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing fleets where they originated. But, when these gentle giants moved inland as household pets in the United States and Canada these skills were lost. So glad these dedicated Britons are trying to bring them back. Bobo was the name of HG/BSK’s Newfie companion on HG/BSK’s horse ranch in the Colorado Rocky Mountain foothills. Gentle and loving with children, obedient, very intelligent. For example, when HG was ready for sleep, HG would pat Bobo on his massive head and say: “Bedtime, Bobo.” Without any urging, Bobo would rise and hop down the stairs to the garage level (because of his heavy coat, Bobo liked to sleep in the cool garage). Using his paw, Bobo would open the garage door. Would carefully close it behind him before he slept. The procedure was reversed at breakfast time. Big dogs like Bobo (he weighed 150 pounds) don’t have much longevity. In the vet’s office, just before his demise, Bobo turned to HG, licked his hand and received a final nuzzle. One, last soulful look at HG. Goodbye. HG sobbed. Tears rolled down HG’s face. HG vowed. No more dogs. The end is too heartbreaking. However, many years later came Toby, The Wonder Dog. HG will be 89 in one month. The odds are in favor of Toby outliving the old guy.

Bow Wow Saga Continues

March 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG grew up during The Great Depression. Never had a dog pet. Dogs were scarce in those days. Folks had enough trouble putting food on the table without being concerned about nourishing an animal. BSK always had a dog (Her favorites were Bambi One and Bambi Two). So, soon after they married (almost 53 years ago) a dog came into HG’s life. His name was Peaches, an Apricot Standard poodle. HG loved Peaches, even though he was a difficult dog (BSK claims this was due to HG’s objections to having Peaches neutered). Many mishaps with Peaches. He once trotted out of HG/BSK’s Fire Island dune house to urinate on a carefully prepared clambake hosted by neighbors. Peaches was perpetually hungry (like most dogs). Ate everything in sight. Peaches once grabbed a big steak off a barbecue. HG (faster in those days) chased the naughty dog, Pried the steak out of his jaws. Cut away the piece Peaches had nibbled. Served the rest to appreciative dinner guests. When children arrived, each had a dog. Lesley R. had Sassafras, a Golden Labrador. SJ had Jesse, a floppy eared Springer Spaniel. They came under HG/BSK’s care after the kids left the house. Sassy was a very smart and loving dog. Jesse was needy, and nervous. Soon after HG/BSK moved to their Colorado horse ranch, Sassy was shot in the head by a neighbor. Because of Sassy’s coloring, the aged neighbor mistook Sassy for a coyote. A veterinary student lived nearby and her emergency care saved Sassy. months. Health deteriorated but the brave dog survived for a number of years. Finally, the end came. HG was responsible for Sassy’s euthanasia. Very sad and tearful moment. A few years later, Bobo arrived. Bobo was a Newfoundland. A very big (150 pounds) black dog. Looked like a friendly bear. Gentle, sweet, loving and very, very smart. HG/BSK had not planned for Bobo. He was inherited from Lesley and Massimo R. when the couple moved from a Massachusetts home into a Hartford rental condo where it was impractical to keep a dog when they were both away at demanding jobs (Massimo was teaching at Brown and Lesley was editing The Hartford Advocate, an alternative newspaper.) Bobo proved to be a delight. When HG or BSK were seated, Bobo would rest his giant head in their laps. At the appropriate time, BSK would say: “Bedtime, Bobo.” Bobo would trot downstairs, use his giant paw to open the door to the garage, close the door behind him and go to sleep on the garage floor. Because of his massive fur coat, Bobo liked to sleep in the cool garage. Bobo enjoyed eating leftover pasta. Because of the olive oil, Bobo’s black coat glistened. He was also fond of stale baguettes. He would have a few bites and then bury the rest. Bobo would wander the hills and mountain slopes of the 150-acre ranch and bring back bones and parts of dead animals. He once parked half of a dead elk in front of HG/BSK’s home entry door. Bobo accompanied HG everywhere, often riding in the passenger seat of HG’s Camry. Gave fellow motorists a shock. HG would take Bobo to lunch at a dim sum restaurant on Denver’s Federal Boulevard. HG would feed Bobo Chinese tidbits while the diminutive waitstaff would look on, semi-paralyzed with fear. Once, BSK looked out the rear door of HG/BSK’s kitchen and saw a large black form. It’s Bobo, thought BSK. Looked around. Bobo was lounging near BSK’s feet. Uh oh. The black form was a bear.Trotted away without doing any harm. Unfortunately, big dogs like Bobo are not long lived. It became time for euthanasia. At the pet hospital, Bobo turned around to give HG one last soulful look. Saying farewell and rest in peace, a pained and tearful HG hugged and kissed the faithful companion. HG vowed: No more dogs. The parting was just too emotional and painful. And, then came Toby, The Wonder Dog. Hopefully, the young fellow will outlive ancient HG.


More Bow Wow

March 16th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Yes, HG has posted two appreciations of Toby, The Wonder Dog, in the last eight months. Obsessive? Possibly. However, there’s a back story behind the latest post. A few days ago, just before HG/BSK’s bedtime. Daughter Lesley R. texted that Pip, her family’s dog, was very ill and Lesley was rushing her to a veterinary emergency center. Things were looking grim for Pip. Not much sleep that night for HG/BSK. Pip is a very pretty little dog. Affectionate. Ladylike. Extraordinarily intelligent. Toby and Pip have a grand time when they are together in Rhode Island and Prince Edward Island. Good news in the morning. Pip had survived (now back to normal). Vet explained that Pip had been poisoned by nibbling at the compost pile in the garden. It seems compost heaps produce an acid. When swallowed by a dog, the result is death or serious illness requiring emergency treatment. So, dog owners who are gardeners, be warned. Fence in your compost pile (as BSK has done) to make it dog proof.


Woof Woof

August 12th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Dogs. These wonderful animals and their odd food habits have beguiled HG for many years. Some fifty years ago, HG had his first pet, a standard poodle named “Peaches.” (No pets for HG during the Great Depression. They were an avoidable luxury). Peaches ate everything in sight. He was naughty. He devoured a scrumptious whipped cream cake baked by HG/BSK’s Swedish au pair. HG had to chase the canine scoundrel to retrieve dinner after he plucked a sirloin from the barbecue. His toilet habits were deplorable. Nevertheless, Peaches was much loved. Peaches was followed by “Sassafrass,” a sweet Golden Lab. Sassy always ate his dinner with good appetite, glanced around, and then ate the dinner of our excellent blue-eyed cat, Starlight. Starry forgave him and they remained civilized companions. In Colorado, the HG/BSK dog was “Bobo”, a 150-pound Newfoundland. A gentle, intelligent giant. Bobo’s black coat shone because he ate so much olive oil-infused left over pasta. Bobo also loved stale baguettes. He would have a few nibbles and then bury the loaves. Archaeologists of the future will be confronted with this puzzle. Today, HG spent hours with “Pippi”, the delightful dog who is the ornament of Gifted Daughter Lesley/Profesore Massimo R.’s family. Pippi is a charming girl, part Cavalier King Charles, part poodle. A delightful, sensitive responsive companion. Pippi and HG shared a delicious pasta fritatta prepared by Lesley R.. Pippi licked HG’s fingers in appreciation. The little lady is a fan of good Italian cooking.


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