I’m not religious, and I hope those who are won’t be offended when I say that, for me, walking around Fresh Pond is a spiritual experience. Living in an urban area, I am always grateful for the chance to commune with nature. Lately, circling the Pond has become a touchstone by which I take stock of my course in life, a time to clear my head and put life’s frustrations into perspective. Continue reading “A Pilgrim at Fresh Pond”
What’s Your Excuse?
I just read about a new clinical study by two physical therapy professors at UMass Medical School in Lowell to determine whether more frequent and longer dog walks can help motivate people to exercise more and lose weight. Obviously, more physical activity is beneficial, for both humans and dogs; the question the researchers hope to answer is whether our “emotional investment” in our canine companions can help motivate us to be less sedentary. Continue reading “What’s Your Excuse?”
Hounds and Gowns at the MFA
On a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, I was drawn to two delightful American paintings featuring (what else?) dogs. Created 225 years apart, one is a double portrait of two girls (and a dog) by the Neoclassical master John Singleton Copley; the other is also a double portrait (of the artist’s wife and their dog) by Scott Prior, a contemporary photo realist painter from Northampton.
Copley’s Mary and Elizabeth Royall (c. 1758, oil, 57-3/8’ x 48-1/8”) pictures the beautiful young daughters of a wealthy colonial merchant, Isaac Royall, Jr. The painting’s formal composition includes an elfin Cavalier King Charles spaniel nestled in the billowing folds of Elizabeth’s silk dress. The dog gazes up with the puppy-eyed devotion synonymous with the breed. Or, perhaps his plaintive expression beseeches the girl: “Please, get rid of the itchy flower garland around my neck!” Continue reading “Hounds and Gowns at the MFA”
“We learned we had to wear light colors in photos with Jesse, or he’d disappear,” my friend told me. “If we wore black or he was against a dark background, we’d have to Photoshop the image so our puppy would show up.”
Learning Photoshop turned out to be a lot easier than living with Jesse, whose fleeting appearance in my friend’s family album offers a poignant reminder of what can go wrong when a dog and its family are mismatched. She agreed to share this painful episode in her family’s life to help others better understand the importance of understanding their dog’s personality type and, even more, of training it accordingly. Continue reading “Jesse’s Story”
Life in the Slow Lane
In their prime they could have outrun the cars whizzing down my Cambridge side street, but, these days, greyhounds Max and Holly are among the slower-moving canine residents in my Huron Village neighborhood. Walking with measured grace, the two former sprinters circle the block several times a day with companion Cindy Sorensen, a retired teacher and longtime Cambridge resident.
Cindy says that thirteen-year-old Holly, who won an impressive 18 of her 104 career races as “Skiddy Exodus,” still perks up when she spots a squirrel, but she describes Max, age 10, as “more mellow.” Their mechanical rabbit chasing days behind them, neither seems inclined to pursue any of the neighborhood’s burgeoning bunny population. When they see other greyhounds, however, they all do love to chase and race each other, Cindy says.
Holly and Max are the latest in a succession of greyhounds to enjoy life in the slow lane living on Huron Avenue with Cindy. Her first rescue, in 1992, was a young male named Spinnaker who had broken his leg racing; instead of putting him down, Spinnaker’s owner gave him to Greyhound Friends, Inc., where Cindy adopted him. Spinnaker lived to be 13-1/2, and since then Cindy has adopted seven senior greyhounds: Cain, Bridget, Dream, Ty, Maggie (all deceased) and most recently, Holly and Max. Continue reading “Life in the Slow Lane”
Joint Custody Dog
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”