Monthly Archives: May 2009

Let Grandma eat cake

Dear Reader,

I felt that it was my responsibility to inform you that today is my beloved Grandma’s birthday. I won’t mention her age, but let’s just say that you would never guess it by meeting or looking at her. She truly is a one of a kind, and I have always been one of her biggest fans. How could I resist her when, the first time she came to meet me, she brought me a basket larger than yours truly full of treats. I am very much looking forward to spending the day with her, and hopefully the non-chocolate cake that Grandpa will be providing. Grandma’s favorite cake is white on white cake, which just so happens to be one of mine as well.
But, I digress, the point I am trying to make is that I, your “little man” (as Grandma so kindly refers to me as) would like to wish you, Grandma a very happy birthday, and hope that this will be a wonderful summer for both of us.

Regards,

Your #1 Grandpug
Mason

P.S. Please excuse any typos, mom doesn’t transcribe as well as you Grandma, oh and I guess I should say that Lizzie wishes you a good one as well.

 

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name, or I Feel Your Pain

Here’s the thing, dear reader, a trip to the vet shouldn’t be the highlight of a pug’s day and yet surprisingly for me it is. After all that I’ve suffered at the Cape Cod Animal Hospital, you would think that is the last place I’d ever want to revisit, and yet I love going. First of all, I get respect, love, and lots of attention from the staff and doctors, as well as extraordinary treats. There are containers of freeze dried liver bites in each of the examining rooms, and I swear to you that I could endure any form of canine torture any tech or doctor could inflict just to consume one of these sublime nuggets. They are as close to receiving holy communion wafers as a pug can get.

I love walking in the front door and hearing, “Hey Mason, how’s it going buddy?” I love trotting over to the other patients and greeting them as if I were welcoming them into my drawing room. I like to think of myself as the gracious host at a social gathering of eclectic friends when I’m in the waiting room.

My excitement builds as I am ushered into one of the examining rooms. Knowing that I will be the focus of all attention for the next five to fifteen minutes is heady stuff. I become hyper-alert, pose as a show pug with my tail twitching bewitchingly, and lock eyes onto my target. Today was a simple blood draw to check my T-4 level. The tech is an old fan of mine from last summer…the only male tech in the hospital. He and I bonded and shared our maleness during “the bad time,”  and we always reconnect in a very masculine way whenever I come in. In order for the rest of this exposition to have meaning, I must refer you back to my entry of Dec. 27th, “All I’m Asking For Is A Little Respect,” so that you understand to what he refers when he asks Grandma how I’m doing. When she honestly answers that I am fine, he then says, sotto voce, “I mean, you know, about the other business of last summer…I felt so bad for the little fellow. Does he, ummmm, seem, ummm, okay with it, you know…I mean it’s gotta be kinda uncomfortable for him, you know?”  He clearly felt I would be horribly embarrassed by his reference to the unpleasantness of last summer, hence the whispered conversation.  I, however, was nearly beside myself, waiting for him to take the blood so I could get my d— liver treat.

The blood was drawn smoothly and painlessly and I hit the floor poised and primed for my reward. I think in remembering last summer’s surgery, the tech felt such empathy for me that he started just throwing the treats at me. I didn’t even have to pose or beg because he was so moved by my courage and spirit. Little did he know that there are no limits to what I will suffer for a little treat.

Ah, another successful foray into the world of animal medicine for a clever pug!

Respectfully submitted,

 

Mason

 

Who's the man? A glorious head shot of yours truly proving clearly my masculinity

Who's the man? A glorious head shot of yours truly, proving clearly my masculinity

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Cat Tales, or A Pug Faces A Kitten With a Whip

Now some of you readers may remember an early blog of mine (January, “Old Pug’s Book of Practical Cats”), and if you don’t I would suggest you revisit it, where I wrote about Grandma’s new kitten, Zoe. As you may recall, I was concerned about her presence and worried that she would upset the natural order in the house. Meeting her on arrival, I wasn’t impressed. She is pretty enough, if you like a silver tabby with piercing green eyes, and a lithe, long body. I am not particularly drawn to felines but realize that I must endure them while living at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

It was with some degree of trepidation and wariness that I observed this cat. She appeared innocuous and kept herself hidden initially, but the other day I took the full measure of this little minx. Like the famous Mehitibel of Don Marquis’ Archy and Mehitibel series, this upstart thinks she is Cleopatra!

Grandma was slicing up a chicken breast for her lunch, and Lizzie and I assumed the position, i.e. sitting side by side, at her feet, on the kitchen floor.I quickly assessed that with my cat-like skills I would be the likely victor of the scrap toss…until I realized that there was a third creature in the lineup! There was Miss Zoe, confident and composed, sitting beside Lizzie and me, waiting for her lion’s share of the chicken. This was outrageous and unbelievable! It threw off my focus and game. My entire raison d’etre was lost, destroyed, and kaput – all because of one rescued feral feline!

I have been forced to reevaluate my technique and look closely at my next plan of food acquisition. Clearly the game has changed and I must change too. She is a worthy opponent, unlike Lizzie, with youth and high energy on her side. I, however, have wisdom, cunning, and motivation. Today, I begin mapping new strategies, dear reader. I am still in this game to win.

 Respectfully submitted,

 Mason

 

Look at this cunning little creature. She is even more alert than I!

Look at this cunning little creature. She is even more alert than I!

 

Look at the vacant expression on Lizzie's face and look at how yours truly is deep in thought...planning my next move.

Look at the vacant expression on Lizzie's face and look at how yours truly is deep in thought...planning my next move.

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Salty Dogs, or Paw Prints in The Sand

Memorial Day was a day of such incredible beauty and clarity that we all headed to the beach for a morning walk (Mom is big on that sort of thing). Since there is always a beach no more than five minutes from anyplace on the Cape, our journey was short. The problem for Lizzie and me is we get hung up on the scents in the parking lot and that delays our actually walking on the beach. Mom has no idea how intoxicating these smells are and so she tugged and encouraged us to move along.  I know she wouldn’t be so impatient if she fully understood their complexity and bouquet. For a pug, it doesn’t get any better.

 The beach itself is wondrous: dried seaweed, empty shells, dead sea creatures, and of course the ubiquitous markings of earlier dogs. It is a veritable cornucopia of tantalizing treats! The day was quite warm but we trotted along eagerly, our noses twitching wildly with each new scent that wafted in the breeze. Being a veteran of beach walks, I know how to enter the water for that vital cooling of the undercarriage. Lizzie, however, isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and so she just stood at the water’s edge panting. One would think that basic animal instinct would have been enough to compel her into the ocean; but no, Lizzie walked to the edge and drank! Salt water tastes terrible and is not good for man or dog to consume. Usually one drink is enough to imprint that impression in a dog’s brain. Lizzie, though, made numerous trips for a drink as we walked the beach. I could only stand and stare in amazement. How stupid can one little pug be? She hated the taste but somehow thought it might improve further down the beach. I was embarrassed for her, but also secretly I enjoyed her display of idiocy. I hope Mom noted the difference between Lizzie and me.

 I was exhausted from this outing but at least my stomach wasn’t upset.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 Mason

 

I don't have any photos of Lizzie drinking the ocean water, but look at me finishing off Four Seas Ice Cream after dinner...the best ice cream in the world!

I don't have any photos of Lizzie drinking the ocean water, but look at me finishing off Four Seas Ice Cream after dinner...the best ice cream in the world!

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Pilgrim Pugs in PTown, or Where No Pug Is A Stranger

For those of you uninitiated to the pleasures and sheer delight of Provincetown, let me give you a pug’s eye view. This spectacular little town at the very tip of Cape Cod never fails to charm, seduce, and captivate both people and pugs. It is the repository of all things bizarre, wonderful, and indulgent. Here a pug can receive hugs and kisses from women who look like men and men who look like women.  In PTown all the lines are blurred and a pug can truly receive the attention, love, and adulation he so rightfully deserves! It is also the most pet friendly place on the planet.

We drove out Sunday, and while the weather wasn’t terribly encouraging, we all knew fun was about to be had. Lizzie and I napped in the car while Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa had brunch at the Lobster Pot on Commercial Street. For Mom it is her favorite journey. After they were finished we were fetched for the traditional stroll up Commercial Street. The street was thronged with revelers who were undaunted by the steady rain. For a pug, this is a tricky condition. One must navigate carefully or risk getting stepped upon. Of course the air is filled with the scent of seafood, fried bread, fudge, and ice cream…an intoxicating cocktail for yours truly.

Along the way we received the usual attention from every sort of human imaginable. Dogs were everywhere and there was a lot of butt-sniffing and circling. Our first stop was the pet store, where Mom purchased darling iced dog cookies for us, which we ate outside on their little platform. As we moved along, we attracted many admiring looks, responses, and pats. What a glorious day, but I fear not for the reluctant Lizzie. She, as I’ve stated before, has no game and never will. People and other dogs like her because she is so tiny and saccharine, which nauseates me. One woman told my grandmother that she knew immediately that I was “the man” because she had never seen such a swagger or such a “butch” dog. I rest my case, dear reader.

 I will be writing daily, I think, since so much is happening here and Grandma is so accessible. With so much exposure, I hope you don’t lose interest in my ramblings.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

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Here Lizzie and I are wedged in MY bed. She grabbed when we got in the car for the return trip, so I just climbed in too! The nerve of that fool dog!

Here Lizzie and I are wedged in MY bed. She grabbed it when we got in the car for the return trip, so I just climbed in too! The nerve of that fool dog!

 

I know, it's not a shot of me but I thought for those of you unfamiliar with low tide in PTown, it is worth a look.

I know, it's not a shot of me but I thought for those of you unfamiliar with low tide in PTown, it is worth a look.

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If You’re Fond of Sand Dunes and Salty Air

Ah, Paradise found! Here I am back in the bosom of culinary abundance. Grandma greeted us with incredible peanut butter cookies and liver treats from a wonderful dog bakery, mydogcatering.com, and the best bully sticks (see Jan.19th, “For Pug’s Sake, Grandma, Hurry Back” blog) ever from bestbullysticks.com. These companies heard my plea for more treats and then followed through in the most generous of ways. I wish I could thank these people personally but they know the depth of my gratitude. And so, dear reader, don’t hesitate if you feel so moved in this same direction.

The trip itself was uneventful. Mom, despite her growing anxiety about the drive, was magnificent. She found her driving legs again and I feel confident there will be more road trips with her at the wheel in our future.

Redolent with all of the scents I last described, the Cape instantly transported me to that magical place of memory as I trotted about the back yard. There were long forgotten marrowbones and reminders of recent dog visitors. Intoxicating for a pug!

I found it hard to relax and let down my vigilance, but Lizzie, of course, immediately reverted to form and curled up on the couch with Mom for a nap. I, however, knew that Grandma keeps a never-ending supply of goodies, and a clever pug knows how to play the “I’ve just arrived, I’m confused, and a little unsettled” card in order to parlay a tiny treat.

Two Scottie dogs came for a visit in the afternoon and the male promptly “went” for me in a vicious domineering way. I  am a very peaceful, tolerant pug until a dog (of any breed) tries to mount me (I wish I could be more subtle, dear reader). This act is unacceptable and I will defend myself to the death,if necessary. I had no idea those little dogs had teeth like a barracuda! I think I deported myself well and retained my dignity in the face of such rude behavior.

 All in all, it was a splendid beginning to our summer.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Look at Lizzie working on her delicious bully stick. I don't know why she chews with her butt in the air.

Look at Lizzie working on her delicious bully stick. I don't know why she chews with her butt in the air.

 

Grandma is doling out the iced cookies. I'm the one sitting nicely.

Grandma is doling out the iced cookies. I'm the one sitting nicely.

 

You can see the pug/Scottie interaction here. This is before it became ugly.

You can see the pug/Scottie interaction here. This is before it became ugly.

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It’s The Destination, Not the Journey or It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Pugs, like all primal herd animals, have an innate sense of change. We are so closely attuned to the seasons and workings of our masters that we know, without being told, when it is time to pack up our living essentials and join the great migration…in this case, heading northeast.

 Yes, dear reader, it is time for Lizzie and me to end our fast paced Manhattan life and begin our lazy idyll on Cape Cod. Thursday Mom will load up the car, with some trepidation since she is going alone, and drive us to our summer destination. When we reach the Bourne Bridge, the air changes its scent. To a pug, even a sleeping one, this always is our signal that we have entered a different realm, our Xanadu. There is a salty sweet piquancy in the air, laced with a scrub pine scent intensified by the sun’s heat. Dirt and concrete is replaced with sand, and street noises with the soothing surf. We will go out for clams in Grandpa’s boat and then eat them on the deck at the end of the day. The roadkill is ubiquitous and pleasingly pungent, but low tide is truly an olfactory paradise.  Oh, forgive me, I digress and take little journeys in my mind.

 Even though our summer is filled with many activities, I plan to keep writing my blog so that you remain connected with Lizzie and me. My next entry will be from the Cape!

 Respectfully submitted,

 Mason

 

Here we are last summer out clamming on Grandpa's boat. See how patient and alert we were.

Here we are last summer out clamming on Grandpa's boat. Even though we were tired, see how patient and alert we were.

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