Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Imitation is the Sincerest of Flattery” or Make Her Leave Me Alone

When Charles Colton coined the above phrase, I doubt he had in mind an annoying and clingy little pug named Lizzie that makes it her life’s work shadowing me. I am not a mean-spirited or spiteful creature, believe me, but sometimes a man-pug needs his space. When we are traversing the trails of Eagle Pond, I would like to  commune freely with nature, and savor the olfactory offerings of decaying flora, fauna, and biota without little Miss Dainty Maid always hovering at my side.

When I go upstairs for a nap, I do not need her following in my footsteps. After I successfully complete an outdoor mission and return indoors, I do not need her begging for a carrot along side me, when she has done nothing! It is both annoying and frustrating.

She needs to remain in her own bed at night. Had I wanted a sleeping partner I would have asked for a double bed. I don’t understand why, in the middle of the night, she leaves her sheepskin nest and wedges her round little body into my tiny, ascetic  bed – one designed for a single small animal. It is so tight a squeeze that I cannot move during the night.

She also needs to stop waiting for me on walks. She momentarily forgets herself, realizes I am not by her side, and then she does this disgusting little pirouette and runs back to me. I am really tired of her subservient antics.

I don’t know if she thinks I am flattered by her mimicry or if she just can’t help herself. Whatever the answer, she needs to stop. I do not object, however, to her defending me when dogs begin barking and snarling wildly at us. When that happens, she transforms herself into a crazed vixen, charging and barking without any fear or trepidation. I am always amazed when I see her go into this mode. I call her the “transformer” and it secretly pleases me no end.

I guess I’ll never understand females.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Look how she clings to me on the bench at Eagle Pond

Look how she clings to me on the bench at Eagle Pond

Here she is alone at Eagle Pond...something rare.

Here she is alone at Eagle Pond...something rare.

A really nice shot of yours truly...standing tall and independent.

A really nice shot of yours truly...standing tall and independent.

Here I am out at the island yesterday, exploring the flora in the dunes.

Here I am out at the island yesterday, exploring the flora in the dunes.

Here she is on the trail in the dunes, looking for...who else?

Here she is on the trail in the dunes, looking for...who else?

Here I am in the water ready to board the boat for the return trip yesterday.

Here I am in the water ready to board the boat for the return trip yesterday.

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Pugs of the Limberlost, or ATP (All Terrain Pugs)

THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,

Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,

Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,

Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.

Evangeline – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I begin today’s entry, dear reader, with the opening line of Evangeline because it is fitting for my topic. Near my grandparents’ home is a wonderful nature trail around a lake, called Eagle Pond. The trail is cut through a forest of majestic pines which all but obscure daylight from reaching the ground. The trails circle the lake, with steep side paths going down to its shore at various intervals. For a pug, or any other dog for that matter, this spot is heaven on earth. To hike these trails, savoring the rich scent of earth, pine boughs, humus, decaying tree branches, moss, and dog leavings is overwhelming. Our first visit so stimulated Lizzie and me that we couldn’t even make it half way around the lake.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, Grandma took us to Eagle Pond. Storm clouds were gathering, the sky was darkening, and a few drops of rain fell as we began our hike. It was in this close and ominous atmosphere that I felt most closely connected to my primal roots (literally and figuratively since we are so close to the ground). Untethered, I like to explore off the main trail because experience has taught me that treasures abound in these areas. I am a fearless and independent explorer, as most of you already know. Lizzie, that silly creature, likes to shadow me, but occasionally she, too, gets caught up in a particular scent and loses sight of me. I had to laugh at her yesterday when I saw her trotting ahead on the trail before realizing I wasn’t with her. She gave a quick jump in the air, spun around, and ran back to me. What a twit! Her vain attempt at self-recovery was even more pathetic.

We met up with only a few other dogs – large labs and retrievers who had been swimming – and of course they were impressed by my confidence and masculinity. Owners always struggle with these dogs, trying to regain their control, because after meeting me they don’t wish to leave me. I, however, take only a passing interest in them since they aren’t particularly clever or inventive. They tend to run about wildly… panting, sniffing, retrieving, and trying to play.

By the time we reached the end of the trail, rain was falling steadily, and Lizzie and I were ready to collapse. At home, Grandma fixed us a wonderful dinner of kibbles, squash, and egg so that we could recover our strength.It was an early evening for yours truly.

I will think of Eagle Pond fondly and sadly every time Lizzie and I are taken out for a walk in Manhattan.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

P.S. These are poor photos today because Grandma just had her cell phone, but at least you can sense the majesty and scale of this forest.

My backside, but look at the gloomy aspect of this trail and appreciate my fearless heart.

My backside, but look at the gloomy aspect of this trail and appreciate my fearless heart.

Lizzie on a trail leading to the shore. She is blurry, but who cares?

Lizzie on a trail leading to the shore. She is blurry, but who cares?

Here we are exploring a side trail. Again, Lizzie is blurry, but who cares?

Here we are exploring a side trail. Again, Lizzie is blurry, but who cares?

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Every Pug Has Its Day, or Lizzie Has Her Say

Dear Diary,

I’m writing because Mason isn’t “feeling it” today and also because I need to vent some of my frustrations. Sometimes Mason can be so sweet, well maybe not sweet but at least not mean, and other times he can be so cruel. I just don’t understand. This morning, diary, we were out in the yard and Mason was chewing on a marrowbone (he has them scattered all over the yard) and I just happened to walk past him to the deck when he jumped up and ran growling and snapping at me! What did he think? That I was going to take his nasty old, dirt encrusted, slobbered up bone? I just don’t get him sometimes.

And this weekend, we went out on the boat and of course Grandma and Grandpa invited their friends who have Chloe (I’m sure you remember HER!). It was her first trip ever on a boat and Mason starts acting all weird, like being on a boat is where he is most at home and then trying to pretend he didn’t even see her (how could you miss her since she’s about six feet long?). I don’t get him at all. And then, diary, out at the island, he went out of his way to be near her. I swear she didn’t even look at him the entire day. What am I, chopped liver?

But when we ride in Grandma’s little sports car, with the top down, then he is all cuddly with me. We sit together in the passenger seat and he drapes his body over or against mine. He couldn’t do that with Chloe, that is for sure.

He seems very moody lately and I’m not sure why. Our food is really good here, we are outdoors a lot, we take beach and trail hikes, we get to do errands with Grandpa and we’re never lonely. So why does he have to be such a pill?

I love Mason so much. He is my everything guy but I wish I understood him better. I guess he has his reasons but he sure makes it hard for me sometimes. Thanks for listening, dear diary.

Until next time,

Lizzie

Here is Chloe. I don't think she's all that, do you?

Here is Chloe. I don't think she's all that, do you?

Look at how he pretends to be sleeping when actually he's watching her.

Look at how he pretends to be sleeping when actually he's watching her.

They don't even look good together, do they? I mean she is nice enough, but not for Mason.

They don't even look good together, do they? I mean she is nice enough, but not for Mason.

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Variations on A Recurring Theme, or I Get No Respect

I think most of you long time readers of my blog probably have a reasonable idea of who I am. You know I am a pug who will not suffer fools gladly, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw’s famous, “He was, I believe, not in the least an ill-natured man: very much the opposite, I should say; but he would not suffer fools gladly.” I do think that is a fair assessment of yours truly. I am not one to be challenged, teased, or micromanaged. I can be somewhat standoffish, slightly critical (but usually accurate), and not terribly interested in interacting with my own or other species. And yes, I am a bit of a curmudgeon. So, if you, dear reader, understand my strengths and foibles, then why wouldn’t one incredibly cheeky, inappropriate, and uncontrolled kitten?

This Zoe has been the bane of my existence on Cape Cod. She has taken it into her feline sized brain that I am the object of her attention, that I am a pug with whom to toy, and that she need not observe any of the rules of respectful behavior.

The other night I was enjoying a wonderful post-dinner nap on my grandparents new winter shag area rug in the TV room. I can remember the evening well because I was transported by dreams of such incredible bliss about the object of my affection, when I became aware of a small but annoying paw, persistently patting me. Normally, I either would have moved or swatted it away, but this evening I had no desire to disturb my pleasant reverie. I opened one eye slowly and unobtrusively so that I could discover the source of the annoyance. I watched this creature, Zoe, lying near me, as she slithered closer and closer, using her body in a reptilian way, as only a cat or snake can. I was both repelled and fascinated, curious to see what tactic she would next employ. Her head actually was touching mine and she continued to put forth her paw of mass destruction. She somehow assumed it was okay to keep touching me as she inched closer. At that point something primeval fired in my brain, causing me to lunge at her, using my voice in a most primitive manner, like the pug beast I really am. She looked shocked, disbelieving, and surprisingly, intrigued! She was not chastened or contrite. I still cannot believe her response and it continues to rankle me.

I will never understand cats.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Look at her cunning little face as she plots her next attack.

Look at her cunning little face as she plots her next attack.

Looks innocent, doesn't she, as she rests in her cat nest?

Looks innocent, doesn't she, as she rests in her cat nest? Look at those paws. See what I mean?

Oliver is another story. We have a mutual respect for one another's space. You do not want to mess with him.

Oliver is another story. We have a mutual respect for one another's space. You do not want to mess with him.

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“Like The Measles, Love is Most Dangerous When It Comes Late in Life” Lord Byron

My great grandmother used to say, “There is no fool like an old fool,” and that adage certainly pertains to yours truly. I can’t even make sense of the emotions gripping and tormenting me. I am in a constant state of agita and feel compelled to eat myself into a stupor (nothing unusual about that, I admit). What is this thing that afflicts me? I only know that when we visit my grandparent’s friends, or they us, and their magnificent mixed breed dog, Chloe, appears, my legs turn to rubber.

Her eyes are two bottomless orbs of amber, seductive and intelligent at the same time. Her legs go on forever, with incredible muscle tone and development. Her coat glistens with health and snaps with electric energy. She moves like a gazelle and she barely knows I exist. I must crane my neck and head back dangerously in order to even look at her face. Have I mentioned her manners? She is elegant, polite, considerate, unobtrusive, and wholly unattainable. I’m a gonner.

I have no one to whom I can turn for advice. Lizzie is such a loser and is always mooning about, looking at me with calf eyes. Grandma and Grandpa would laugh, I am sure, at the obvious disparity between us. The thought of being separated from the object of my desire is making me wild with anxiety. There is no pain like the pain of unrequited love. In my frustration, I’ve turned to abusing my little bear again. Mom says he is my comfort object, which is partially true, but he is also my punching bag.

In her presence I become tongue-tied and insecure. I strut like a puffed up Banty rooster. I am pathetic, I know, but I seem unable to move away from this adolescent posturing around her. Just one look from her sends me into a swoon. Did I mention how kind she is?  I need help and I need it soon. Dearest Chloe….

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Look at my goddess

Look at my goddess

Ahhh, her form is perfection

Ahhh, her form is perfection

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When The Frost Is On The Pumpkin, or Memories of a Season Well Lived

You know, dear reader, that I am a pug prone to rumination and as my season on Cape Cod draws to a close, I tend to experience each of my favorite things while living here with a bittersweet zest. Perhaps I am not alone in this regard. As I’ve written before, we pugs have an internal clock/calendar that guides us into seasonal changes and senses the passage of time.

When Grandma gives me a “bully stick” now, I attack it with a passion and fervor unlike earlier months. When Grandma mixes up my kibbles and pumpkin, I become wild with anticipation. When Grandpa asks, “Do you guys want to come with me to the bank/post office/library?” I respond immediately and as if it were my last trip on this earth. Even our morning and evening toileting has a poignancy unlike any other time. There is an organic quality to using the woods that we miss in the city. Everything is sweeter…the clams, the lobster remains, carrots, kitty crullers (to borrow from an observant reader my favorite new phrase for this delicacy), naps, walks, boat trips, swims in the ocean, and just being with the old folks (sorry Grandma and Grandpa).

I am not a pug that takes his life for granted; I know how fortunate I am. I don’t know if goofy Lizzie is cognizant of her blessings, because she barely knows what day of the week it is, but I am mindful always. I even enjoy Lizzie more than I could even imagine. And as I say that, please bear in mind that I haven’t crossed over into the dark side. I am just saying that this season of change has intensified everything for me. I have a picture in mind of returning on our last boat outing this past weekend, sitting in Mom’s arms, up tight against Lizzie, in the bow of the boat. The air was cool, our backs were against the wind, and the gentle motion of the boat lulled us both to sleep in the safest cocoon imaginable.

No more sentimental or mawkish thoughts from me…

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

This is for all of you who simply must have a seasonal shot...you can see my level of disinterest.

This is for all of you who simply must have a seasonal shot...you can see my level of disinterest.

I think this is a nicer shot of yours truly, and shows Lizzie to be the true loser that she is.

I think this is a nicer shot of yours truly, and shows Lizzie to be the true loser that she is.

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, or Just Give Me a Treat

What a splendid farewell to summer we enjoyed the past week. Boating, clamming, feasting, walking, sleeping, and cuddling with Mom and Dad topped off our summer on Cape Cod. While Lizzie and I will remain here for another month since Mom and Dad are busy with market and travel, we are very aware that fall is in the air. Grandma and Grandpa will return us to Manhattan the first part of October, and then our winter lives will begin.

I am mindful of all the attention and care we’ve received throughout the course of our lives and it started me wondering why praise is such an integral part of the dog experience. I noticed that cats rarely, if ever, receive praise for going to their litter box or eating their dinner, while dogs are showered abundantly with praise for every little task they perform. Are we slower, more susceptible to such basic a reward? Or, are we more intelligent and therefore recognize and require verbal signals?

The thing is, I am almost nine years old and I really don’t need someone hovering over me when I’m relieving myself, saying “Mason, what a good boy,” or “Fine job, Mason!” I’m sorry but truthfully all I require is a nice carrot or biscuit after completion of my outdoor business. And honestly, dear reader, if I didn’t receive a treat afterwards it wouldn’t cause me to stop performing these functions. I would be angry, whiny, and obnoxious, but I would still need to do what I’m put outdoors to do.

People praise their children when they are toilet training them just as they do their dogs, but at least they stop the praise once they are trained. Why not with their dogs? Maybe I am dwelling too much on something of no consequence but it has struck me lately that we dogs receive praise long after our training is complete. I, for one, believe that a food treat is ample reward, requiring no verbal assistance. Cats are just so weird that I think people figured out, early on, that anything said to a cat is wasted. They pretty much do as they please and when they please.

And there you have it…more deep thoughts from a pug named Mason.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

The essence of summer...Mom, Dad, Lizzie, and I all napping in Grandma's tv room. Pure bliss for this pug!

The essence of summer...Mom, Dad, Lizzie, and I all napping in Grandma's tv room. Pure bliss for this pug!

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