Goodbye Eddie (2011-20)

IMG_0099Today the wind is roaring like a March lion, but yesterday — Super Tuesday — was a day when the sun smiled on Cambridge, drawing people out to vote and to walk around Fresh Pond Reservation without needing winter coats. Those out walking and jogging with and without dogs had an extra spring in their stride, as if the sun had momentarily melted their anxieties over the future of our democracy, the state of the economy, and the spread of a global pandemic. New England can be counted on to test our mettle with a series of false springs, and politically Super Tuesday was no exception for our hometown presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren. The day began triumphantly with the sun warming hundreds of cheering supporters who turned out to greet her at her polling place, but it ended by delivering a blast of winter in the chilly election returns from outside of Cambridge and its ring of liberal cities (Somerville, Watertown, Arlington and Belmont). 

I will remember this Super Tuesday not for its unexpected sunshine or for Joe Biden’s surprising comeback, but as the day my husband and I woke to find that our dog Eddie had died beside our bed. We don’t know the cause; he had begun to seem disoriented and unwell as we went to bed, but we had no reason to think that whatever it was that ailed him would prove fatal by early morning. Born on Tax Day 2011, Eddie was almost nine, and his sudden exit from our lives leaves us sad, confused and lonely.

IMG_0218So much about Eddie will always be a mystery. He was not one of those uncomplicated dogs like Senator Warren’s Bailey that you can take anywhere and trust to be friendly. Photogenic as Eddie was (I lovingly documented his early cuteness on this blog), he grew up to become a “reactive” dog who was nervous around strangers and other dogs to the point where I could no longer take him to a dog park. I gave up trying to bring him on my walks at Fresh Pond once he started to refuse to even go in that direction. He set clear boundaries for our walks, but he never explained his reasons.

For Eddie, the best defense was a good offense. His bark was his warning to keep your distance, and outside he barked indiscriminately at people of all ages with and without dogs. He lunged at construction trucks, school buses and even bikes that passed too close; if I’d lost grip of his leash he’d have been run over any number of times. He barked when the doorbell rang, but once a visitor had been welcomed by a family member he settled down and sweetly accepted their pats. Mornings, he was a curly-haired lamb who snuggled with our cat in their favorite sunspot on the sofa. Evenings, he waited to eat his dinner until I was home so we could enact our ritual of me chopping some raw carrots to sprinkle on top of his food. Outside, he was hyper-vigilant, growling at holiday decorations and giving a wide berth to random objects left curbside on trash day. Indoors, he spent a good part of his time under the dining table chewing on bones, toys and and cat food cans that he pilfered from the recycling bin when we forgot to place it out of his reach. He only responded to “drop it” with the offer of a treat, and some days he even demanded a treat before he would go out for a walk. (I know, I know…he had us wrapped around his little paw.)

IMG_0061We Cantabrigians joke that we live in a bubble. Nationally Super Tuesday’s results left little doubt of that, and by the end of the day there few smiles among Warren’s many local supporters. The bubble had burst. If it were up to Eddie, our bubble would be hermetically sealed, a world populated only by family, a few of our close friends, and the handful of “nature dogs” he spent time with on group walks with his beloved Kip. Our neighborhood streets and sidewalks would be his alone to explore, so he could finally let his guard down without the constant threat of another dog approaching or a truck grinding its gears. The weather inside Eddie’s bubble would alternate between full sun and fresh snow, with no windy or rainy days. The yard in his bubble would feature a private swimming hole and a mud pit for wallowing on hot days. In his bubble there would be no thunderstorms or fireworks, and the newspapers and mail would be delivered silently. The front porch would be off limits to door-knocking candidates and unsolicited vendors. Every day would be Thanksgiving or Christmas because he was happiest when our entire family was gathered under one roof. We will miss him the next time we are all together and on the too-quiet days between.

A bubble wouldn’t have made Eddie immortal, and we know it’s risky to retreat into bubbles in a world that demands even greater connection and cooperation. Dogs can help pull us out of ourselves. Maybe what Eddie really needed was a dog of his own.


Dogs for Devereux!

Watson at Danehy Dog Park
Watson at Danehy Dog Park

Cambridge Canine blogger and longtime resident Jan Devereux is a candidate for a seat on the Cambridge City Council in the November 2015 election.

Hi Readers,

I’m writing to ask for your #1 vote in this year’s City Council election. As a dog owner/lover and a strong advocate for the equitable sharing of the city’s limited open space resources, I would lobby for more dog parks to accommodate the growing dog population. Cambridge is experiencing a housing boom, and this growth creates an opportunity and an obligation to create more shared spaces where dogs can play safely off-leash and where dog people can enjoy each other’s company and build community.

You can read more about my other political values on my campaign website:

If you would like a frisbee with my campaign logo on it, please contact me at

I hope I can count on your support in November! Remember, I need your #1 vote to win.

Jan Devereux

Luis resting after a game of frisbee



Changes to City’s Dog Regs & New Shared-Use Hours

Sign at Fresh Pond
Sign at Fresh Pond

As residential development spikes and Cambridge’s human population climbs, so too does our canine population. In a city as densely population as ours, such rapid growth increases the potential for conflict between human and canine users of our limited open space resources. For the past several years the City’s Animal Commission (aka Animal Control) has been reviewing its regulations, fines and fees, while in 2013 an Off-Leash Working Group was appointed to study shared-use facilities. The Working Group supports the recommended changes to the ordinance, which were discussed and placed on file at the Council’s June 15th hearing.

All residents dogs are encouraged to review the proposed changes to the ordinance and the working group’s report. In the “stick” department fines for the failure to scoop, license, or leash all would be increased. In addition the Fresh Pond park rangers would gain the authority to enforce the stricter regulations. In the “carrot” department new shared-use hours will go into effect this summer at Joan Lorentz Park (Mid-Cambridge, 8-10 AM), Hoyt Field (Riverside, 6-9 AM), and Greene Rose Heritage Park (Area IV, 6-9 AM).

Off-Leash Working Group recommendations.

Proposed Changes to Animal Control Regulations.

Entrance to Joan Lorentz Park
Entrance to Joan Lorentz Park


“Coffee with a Canine” Interviews Us

One dog, one vote?
One dog, one vote?

Recently Cambridge Canine blogger Jan Devereux and her dog Eddie were interviewed for the “Coffee with a Canine” blog.

The interview includes a shout-out for a favorite local bookstore (Porter Square Books) and a plug for Jan’s recently declared candidacy for Cambridge City Council.

Unfortunately dogs do not have the right to vote, but March is the month when we all need to renew our Cambridge dog licenses. Please be a good citizen and license your dog.

Pet Supply Drive: March 2015

A local dental clinic is running a pet supply drive for the month of March 2015 to benefit Broken Tail Rescue.

FLYERS A local dental clinic is running a pet supply drive for the month of March 2015 to benefit Broken Tail Rescue.

Please consider donating pet food, treats, toys, blankets, collars and leashes to West Somerville Dental Associates at 124 College Ave. , Somerville (near Powder House Sq.). Call 617-625-0543 with any questions.


Letter to Jeff Bezos

Recently I attended a reading by Martha White at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. Ms. White, as you may know, is the granddaughter of author E.B. White and the editor of a new collection of his writing, “E.B. White on Dogs.”

Martha White (R) with members of the audience
Martha White (R) with fans

Last week I went to a local bookstore for a reading by the granddaughter of my favorite author and the inspiration for my other blog, Salutations!. An audience of about thirty people and five dogs (a trio of retired greyhound racers, a three-legged shepherd mix who, according to her companion, enjoys hearing Beatrix Potter stories read aloud, and a boisterous dachshund named for a large biting fly native to Africa) crowded in the back of the small store for the reading and the Q&A that followed. At several points the audience applauded enthusiastically and the dachshund barked loudly. It seemed to me that the smallest member of the assembled book lovers had a great deal more to say, so in the epistolary spirit of several of the selected readings I am sharing a letter she might have penned afterward to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Continue reading “Letter to Jeff Bezos”

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”

What’s a Dog For?

Maurice Sendak drawing in "A Hole is to Dig"
Maurice Sendak drawing in “A Hole is to Dig”

A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss (Harper & Brothers, 1952) was one of my favorite childhood books. I still have the well-worn copy I pored over as a child. Only a small child would wonder, “What’s a hole for?”—and only a small child would be completely satisfied with the tautology of the title’s answer. The book’s lasting appeal lies partly in the knowing innocence of its narrative structure (subtitled A First Book of First Definitions, the text dispenses entirely with the questions and jumps Jeopardy-style right to the answers), and more so in a young Maurice Sendak’s drawings of children and dogs cavorting. Krauss opines, “The world is so you have something to stand on.”; “A lap is so you don’t get crumbs n the floor.”; “Toes are to wiggle.”; and “Dogs are to kiss people.” Continue reading “What’s a Dog For?”

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””

Find Snappy: The Search Continues

Lost Cambridge dog is being closely tracked

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the Northeast today, most of us are hunkered down safe and dry at home. But not Snappy. The 4-year-old Weimaraner from Cambridge went missing in September while on a walk at the reservoir in Burlington.

The good news is that Snappy is apparently still alive after seven weeks on the lam. The bad news is that she has, so far, eluded a sophisticated search effort mounted by her distraught family. And now the hurricane’s approach has heightened everyone’s anxiety.

A renown K9 detective from Nebraska (Karin TarQwyn) has deployed a tracking dog to follow Snappy’s scent and has installed feeding stations with cameras (and yes, a trap) along her known route.

At last report, Snappy’s path loops through West Woburn, Winchester, Lexington and Arlington, taking her along utility line corridors, across conservation areas and golf courses and through residential neighborhoods (especially on garbage days). She appears to be circling and is likely trying to find her way home to Cambridge, where the gate to her family’s yard stands open.

To spread awareness and share updates, the family has created a Find Snappy Facebook page that has garnered 1,345 likes in just two weeks. The large, laminated flyers with her photo are ubiquitous and hard to miss. No stone has been left unturned, and yet Snappy has managed to stay one step ahead of her trackers.

Snappy is understandably frightened and skittish, so if you spot her do NOT chase her on foot or try to catch her. Instead, call her owner Anne at 617-256-8772. Also, do NOT post the locations of sightings on the Facebook page, as this may encourage well-meaning people to pursue Snappy and scare her into deeper hiding.

Snappy and family: we are all pulling for you to be reunited soon!