Years ago, the first time one of my pets became violently ill on a weekend, I listened to the recording on my regular vet’s voice mail instructing me “to seek after hours emergency care at Angel Memorial Animal Hospital” and assumed the hospital had a religious affiliation. Once I’d bundled my sick cat into the car and found my way to South Huntington Avenue in Jamaica Plain, I wondered why “Angell” had two l’s, but was too worried about my cat to give the unusual spelling more than a passing thought. Continue reading “An Angel(l) to Animals”
Last fall I sleuthed into the provenance of an antique dog sculpture that has stood sentry in the front garden of a home near Harvard Square for well over half a century, possibly longer. (The Unsolved Mystery of the Ash Street Dog) The elderly owner of the house died this spring, and when I saw a For Sale sign go up recently in the yard, my first thought was, of course, what will happen to the dog? Continue reading “Epilogue: Farewell to the Ash Street Dog”
One of the great pleasures of living in Cambridge is the palpable sense of the past. Scratch the surface, and there’s a story waiting to be sniffed out on virtually any corner in the city. In this post, I nose into the pedigree of a large dog statue that has sat watch in a private garden near Harvard Square for more than a century.
I first got wind of this antique canine curiosity while perusing an essay on the history of the Ash Street neighborhood. Entitled “Windmill Lane to Ash Street,” the essay was presented to the Cambridge Historical Society by its author, Roger Gilman, in 1945. At the end, Mr. Gilman digresses from his historical research to muse about the provenance of a dog statue that had become a neighborhood landmark:
“He sits on a lawn at the corner, as he has for forty years, since he was brought here from the Sands marble works. He is an artistic enigma. We know only that he was one of a pair, made about 100 years ago. Yet he is on a plane above the books of stock designs. Is he a forgotten work of some well-known sculptor? Is he a copy of some late Italian piece – like those Molossian dogs that guard the entrance to the Uffizi in Florence? However he came about, at whatever moment he was intended to mourn, by some base mistake he was sold down the river to our corner….now he is merely a despised Victorian, wasting his grief on an unheeding populace as its waits for the trolley on Ash Street.” Continue reading “The Ash Street Dog: An Unsolved Mystery”
On a recent visit to the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library, I wandered into the Cambridge Room, where the library collects its archives of the city’s history. Located on the second floor of the light-filled new building, which itself will go down in Cambridge history as the one of this century’s finest municipal buildings, the Cambridge Room is sure to delight anyone with a modicum of curiosity about our city’s rich past.
Archivist Alyssa Pacy greeted me warmly and inquired what I was interested in researching.
“Dogs?” I replied, somewhat off-the-cuff. Truth be told, I was just passing through and hadn’t come prepared to do any serious research. Continue reading “Miss Gillie Frost of Brewster Street”
Mount Auburn Cemetery is one of my favorite places to walk in Cambridge. As the seasons change, a stroll amid century-old specimen trees past the graves of generations of notable Cantabrigians (and others) evokes a strong sense of time and timelessness. Unfortunately, but not unreasonably, dogs (both living and deceased) are prohibited on the historic cemetery’s 175 acres, so I don’t visit as often as I’d like. But on a recent solo walk, I found consolation by communing with several distinguished stone dogs guarding their late owners’ graves. Continue reading “The Dogs of Mount Auburn Cemetery”