Eddie’s Excellent Adventure

I was stunned to get a call from the Cambridge Police last week, informing me my itchy homebody of a dog was loose on a city street about three miles from my house.

Under the table is Eddie's favorite spot. Sometimes he has company.
Under the table is Eddie’s favorite spot. Sometimes he has company.

For the past several months my dog, Eddie, has been hunkered down under our dining room table, afraid to venture out into the maws of the Huron Village Big Dig. I have to bribe him to leave the house, and half the time he drags me back inside once we get to the end of the driveway, and he hears, smells, and sees all the construction activity. You’ve heard the expression, “That dog won’t hunt.”? Well, mine won’t walk. On top of his construction phobia, Eddie has been suffering from severe dermatological problems since last fall, so he wears a Thundershirt 24/7 to control his nervous scratching. Sadly, my hypoallergenic cockapoo is, himself, plagued with allergies.

So, I was stunned to get a call from the Cambridge Police last week, informing me that my itchy homebody of a dog was loose on a city street about three miles from my house. Continue reading “Eddie’s Excellent Adventure”

Teaching Kids “Dog Literacy”

Just as important as making sure your dog can be trusted around babies and children is teaching your children how to interact safely with dogs. Cambridge’s Adria Karlsson of Click ‘n’ Treat offers training services geared to families with children.

dog & baby together
Babies & Dogs Can Be Best Friends -- with Training

In a previous life, moving to Paris when the first of my three children was a month old would have been great fodder for a mommy blog – if only the Internet had existed in 1988. Back then, I knew even less about parenting than I knew about dogs when I launched this blog a little over a year ago as a way to keep busy during a stretch of unemployment. Time wasn’t the only thing I had on my hands – I also had a new puppy. I needed an organizing principle for my writing, so I stretched the old adage “write what you know” to fit my circumstances. In addition to teaching me how much I still have to learn about dogs, one of the benefits of hanging up my virtual shingle as a dog blogger has been the real-life connections I’ve made through Cambridge Canine with bona fide dog experts. Continue reading “Teaching Kids “Dog Literacy””

The Dog We Deserved

Juno 1962
Juno 1962

Animals loomed large in my childhood imagination. When I wasn’t pretending to be one – cantering and jumping fences like a horse, wiggling my nose like a bunny as I nibbled carrots, or swimming underwater like a dolphin – I was apt to be reading animal stories, drawing animal pictures, or playing with toy animals. I grew up with dogs, and the Snoopy poster “Happiness is a warm puppy” hung on my bedroom wall. Continue reading “The Dog We Deserved”

Ringing in the New Year

What's in the box, Lily?
What's in the box, Lily?

Ringing in 2012 Cambridge Canine-style, we extend our congratulations to Laurie and Ben of Concord Avenue, whose 3-1/2-year-old Hungarian Visla, Lily, is pictured.

Laurie, a nurse, told us she had just returned from a morning run the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and was stretching on her porch when Lily came out to greet her. Attached by a yellow ribbon to Lily’s collar was a box containing the engagement ring that Ben, an attorney, gave her when he proposed a few minutes later. The couple hasn’t set a date yet, but they’ve already lined up – and trained – their ringer bearer. We can’t wait to see the wedding photos!

Happy New Year to all our dog friends!

Cutting the Apron Strings

Can there be 4 centers of attention?
Can there be 4 centers of attention?

As the mother of three mostly-grown children, I thought I was long past worrying about separation anxiety. Not that my kids ever gave me much to worry about on that score; all three were socially confident from the get-go, cheerfully waving bye-bye on their first day of preschool and always excited for play-dates and sleepovers at friends’ houses. In this era of helicopter parenting, I’ve always taken a certain pride in my children’s independence and self-assurance.

So it simply never crossed my mind that my puppy would be the one to suffer from separation anxiety. I first realized this Eddie was not cut from the same cloth when he was about four months old, and I dropped him off at the local doggie daycare center while I went on a job interview. I wasn’t overly concerned that he whimpered and tried to follow me out the door; I was sure that as soon as I was out of sight, I’d be out of mind. I figured he’d have a blast playing with new pals and forget all about me. Little did I know! Continue reading “Cutting the Apron Strings”

Eddie & Riley Forever

“He has to retreat into his fanciful world in order to survive. Otherwise, he leads kind of a dull, miserable life. I don’t envy dogs the lives they have to live.”
Charles M. Schulz on Snoopy in an interview with Gary Groth (The Comics Journal, Dec. 1997, Issue #200)

Eddie (L) & Riley
Eddie (L) & Riley

I don’t know a single dog person who doesn’t anthropormorphize her canine companion, whether because, like Schulz, we discount the rewards of living a non-human life, or because our dogs become our surrogate children – and what parent isn’t guilty of projecting her own hopes and dreams onto her offspring?

So, what if real dogs were like the cartoon Snoopy, longing to go home to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm to be reunited with their siblings? There is plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the psychic connection human twins develop in utero, so why wouldn’t dogs forge a similar bond with their littermates? I’m pretty sure they do, based on how visibly my five-month-old puppy, Eddie, yearns for his daily visits with his sister, Riley. Continue reading “Eddie & Riley Forever”

Joint Custody Dog

Teddy & the Kids (1998)
Teddy & the Kids (1998)

I originally posted this on my blog “Salutations” following Teddy’s death in January 2011.

I didn’t want a dog.

In 1998 I was a single mother of three young children (ages 4, 7 and 9), trying to find my emotional and financial footing following my divorce. I had just started a new job as a real estate agent, and was trying to juggle being on call 24/7 to my clients with the demands of motherhood. Space and privacy were at a premium in our 1,000 s.f. condo, and we shared a postage-stamp-sized back yard with our upstairs neighbors. It was early summer, and the kids were out of school and in day camps; I worked until about three o’clock and spent afternoons ferrying them around to play dates and playgrounds and running errands while compulsively checking my office voice mail. Continue reading “Joint Custody Dog”

One Day at a Time

Sleeping it off
Sleeping it off

Out with my puppy early this morning, I was thinking about how the expression, “One day at a time,” applies to the process of housebreaking a dog. Today I slept half an hour later than usual (until the lazy hour of 5:30 a.m.!) and woke to find that, like an addict in recovery, Eddie had slipped, breaking a streak of four days and nights clean and sober – that is, without an accident in the house. Disappointed in my dog, I was also angry at myself for letting him down by oversleeping. And he had been doing so well! Continue reading “One Day at a Time”

“And they called it puppy love…”

Eddie at 5 weeks
Eddie at 5 weeks

In the month since we adopted Eddie, I’ve been reliving the elation and exhaustion of being a new mother. It’s been seventeen summers since I brought my youngest child home, but the feelings are so familiar that I’m constantly having to remind myself that my new baby is… a dog. Some people dress up their pets; I prefer to think of Eddie as a small boy dressed in a dog suit. I half expect to find a zipper when he rolls over for a belly rub. I imagine these are the same emotions that Stuart Little’s mother experienced when she noticed her second son “looked very much like a mouse in every way.”

In the lexicon of technology innovation, Eddie is what’s called a “disruptor.” Like a Fortune 500 company in a mature market, my family has had to rethink the way we do business and to adapt following Eddie’s arrival, starting with a few facility changes: guests will notice the absence of rugs and the addition of some rather unsightly plastic barriers blocking off part of the living room and the stairway. We’ve all had to become more nimble, dodging Eddie’s razor-toothed assaults on our shoes and pant legs and clearing the floor and low surfaces of objects that might attract his rapacious jaws. I’ve had to adjust my daily routine to accommodate his need for frequent walks and close supervision, and stock my pockets with dog treats and bio-bags. During this time of transition, the old (feline) technology has retreated upstairs to sulk and plot their re-launch strategy.

And yet, despite the disruption and the considerable time-sink that house-training a puppy poses, I am utterly smitten. Puppy love: I’ve got it bad. Continue reading ““And they called it puppy love…””