Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

As we took in the exhibits and demonstrations for the SEWE Saturday at Marion Square, I couldn’t help but continuously think of a solitary phrase: “What a difference a year makes.”

A year ago from Saturday, Suzanne and I were standing at the bottom of her entry staircase on Wentworth Street, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics paused on DVR, as we marveled at a winter wonderland developing outside.  Downtown Charleston was blanketed in 1-2 inches of snowfall in one of those strange scenes you sometimes see at local restaurants that depict such an event occurring in like 1935.  The organizers of SEWE had a little bit of reorganization to contend with, not to mention a few jittery hours of attempting to project how much the cold temperatures would affect attendance.

This Saturday, the sun shone brightly, creating a near-80 degree picture of perfection for throngs of wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts to absorb the products and messages of vendors, interest groups, and magazines enveloped in what basically constituted a zoo considering how many different types of animals were gracing the square.

Speaking of animals, a year ago we stood over a pen at the Grateful Golden’s post, gazing happily and, truth be told, warily, over the…lab…puppies that were crawling around therein.  For some reason, the volunteer organization didn’t have golden retrievers the day we went but the effect was still the same, as we were a mere two weeks from adopting Finley.  I remember feeling particularly antsy that day, carefully observing the behaviors of all the dogs and their owner men/women as they traversed the crowds amidst the intense amount of stimuli that threatened to wrest the dogs from their grasp at any moment.  I was doing my homework.

This Sunday, we took our own wresting dog on an exhibition for attendees to do their homework on how NOT to control your dog in a crazy situation.  To her credit, she’s been worse–way worse.  To our credit, well, we get no credit, besides maybe sympathy points for putting on a free clinic/comedy hour.  She wasn’t the worst behaved hound in the place by a long shot though and even if she was exuberant, it was only in the name of getting an up-close and personal look at the golden/lab mix puppies gracing the large enclosed tent.

She was doing her own mentoring.



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Impending Rainy Day Blues

Yeah, Fin, I have them too.

Although it hasn’t quite started to deluge the sadness of a cold rain on the streets of the Holy City, it might as well judging from the tepidness outside right now.

Can please go back to last weekend?

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Remember on Thanksgiving when I said we were thankful for our relative health?

I think it’s safe to say we are even more thankful now.

A stomach bug bent on mass proliferation claimed nearly my entire family over the weekend, rendering us beyond useless and zombie-like in a scene that probably resembled something out of the Middle Ages.  I’ll spare you with the details.  Use that imagination of yours.

Suzanne found a couple of silver linings in her misery:  she “lost every calorie [she] gained over the holiday” and she was able to finish an entire book in two days without feeling too guilty about it.

Me?  No silver lining.  Wish it never happened.  Nothing good came of it.  Suzanne is crazy to find anything positive in it.  Insane even.

But you don’t care about us.  “What about Finley? How did she cope?!?!”, you ask.

Well, she coped famously, thanks in large part to the new addition to the family, Macie, my parents’ 8-week old Peekapoo.

Finley wasn’t sure what to make of Macie at first.  Her confusion was blatant in every expression, every action.  I’m not sure if she even believed Macie was a living breathing mini-hound at first and was instead just another plush toy to lacerate, behead, and eventually dismember like her countless other victims.  After she figured this stuff out, she still had no idea how to actually interact with the puppy, let alone play with it (her ultimate goal in all endeavors in life).

Circumstances didn’t afford her much time to think.  Devoid of human interaction and spoiling due to what amounted to the bubonic plague, she had no choice but to decipher the temperament and behavior of her new family member.  She succeeded, of course, and now can add Macie to her contact list of friends.  And she has something more to look forward to at Christmas time.

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The picture to the left here is deceiving. The placidly happy mongrel sitting patiently awaiting entry into the James Island County Park dog park had just been behaving like a banshee for the past ten minutes, panting uncontrollably in the car after realizing where we heading before attempting to rip poor Caroline’s arms off to get into the gate.

Upon entering the dog park, the banshee returned, greeting every single person in the place well before attempting to make friends with other dogs, diving into the lake while nearly getting drowned repeatedly by Rottweiler, baptizing a 10 month old golden retriever by use of her patented “swinging butt” technique, and generally causing a small amount of havoc.  It was as if she believed she owned the place.

Until the Great Dane arrived.

I’m pretty sure this was Finley’s first encounter with a Great Dane and she immediately toned down her insanity, similarly to what she does while observing horses pulling carriages through the streets of the Holy City.  Great Danes, after all, do appear pony-like in the very least and this one’s presence at the dog park seemed to temper the whole ruckus a bit.  Needless to say, we welcomed his appearance as we were trying to round up Fin for the drive home and hope to exploit is skills of ruling the roost to our advantage in the future.

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Finley’s World o’ Sticks

Wanting to build a gazebo but hate the monolithic, empty space lonely feeling of Lowe’s (If you do, seriously, leave this site.  You can’t hate Lowe’s.)?  Needing more thatch walls for your hobbit hut?  Do you enjoy just simply beating the holy bejesus out of your friends with remnants of once vibrant plants?  We’ve got you covered.

There was a brief yet uneasy couple of weeks in Finley’s extreme younger moments that I worried I had adopted the wrong puppy.  Surely, this cream colored four-legged thing tromping around the house without ever retrieving literally anything was a golden retriever.  Did I adopt some wickedly beautiful autistic goat or something?  I stressed about it.

Then came the first stick.  Then the second stick moments later.  Then came the hoarding of sticks, one for each trip outside.  Soon, a lumber yard had appeared on the porch and it remains there today.  Wholesale license application is currently in the mail as we speak.

Be on the lookout in Harleston Village and South of Broad.  If you notice a tall male and a short female being dragged walking down the sidewalk with an ogre clamping onto large piece of wood that smashes around against the environs like a Plinko chip on The Price Is Right, that’s us.

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Down the street and around the corner resides this majestic feline.  Despite the company of two very curious and often times rambunctious Boston Terriers who routinely patrol the outer perimeter fence of the stately home, it is clear that this cat rules the roost.  Finley hasn’t been the only one surprised and entranced by her presence on different perches amongst the grounds, as seemingly everyone who passes remarks on her sentry-like position.  Her appearance amongst the well-manicured and tastefully planted landscaping seems contrived by nature, as if she was born naturally out of the ether of her environment or carefully painted into the scene by an artist with a penchant for acute relational detail.

She also packs a fairly potent wallop of a right hook, as demonstrated on a couple of occasions when Finley’s exuberance was maybe a little too much to bear.  Safe to say Fin now treads respectfully by ‘the Queen’, as Suzanne calls her, as if overcome with quiet admiration.  Or the fear of getting pummeled again by a creature four times her weight.

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Yes, that is what we have become.  After whirlwind months in June and early July that resulted in us traveling thousands of miles and only partaking in Charleston 3 days a week, we have finally been able to settle back into normalcy.  This reestablishment of normalcy has lent itself towards complacency, however, and we have forgotten how to roam.

But not to the dog park on South Adger’s Wharf, Finley’s favorite downtown hangout.  Only a 10-11 minute walk or 4 minute car ride from the house, the park boasts a fairly large fenced in dog run and an off-leash area that is semi-fenced in that doubles as the Easy Bay Playground baseball diamond.  So far in our visits, Finley hasn’t encountered one horrid cerebus beast or cranky, off-putting owner who is somehow surprised and angered when a dog runs up to them within a designated dog park area.  In fact, some of the best conversations I have had recently have come under the shade of one of the park’s live oaks, where a casual friendly exchange of pleasantries regarding hounds has turned into either an insightful, informative, or hilarious take on the politics and social spectrum of South Battery.  Quite the nice arrangement we have there:  Finley can tire herself out with feats of speed and strength while we learn the real reason an unacquainted-with *Mrs. Limehouse continues to throw her buckets of dirty dishwater all over an unacquainted-with *Mr. Archambault’s Hudson Classic convertible. (*Note: names changed due to lack of memory and wish to avoid reciprocity of act on own vehicle)

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