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Posts Tagged ‘dog’

I just realized that our photos from Biltmore aren’t yet ready for public viewing (aka I have no idea where they are), so in lieu of Gilded Age Smoky Mountain grandeur, I present to you a filthy mongrel, fresh off of a digging fest in a baseball diamond, enjoying a sunny afternoon.

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While most people are anxiously anticipating the matchup between the Steelers and Packers in the Super Bowl tomorrow evening, or at the very least looking forward to the parties that accompany the event, another possibly more important game occurred this past weekend at the Adger’s Wharf Dog Park Stadium.  No, it wasn’t Puppy Bowl 2011 .  This was a rough and tumble gridiron classic between the overmatched and outnumbered Finley and two Labrador Retrievers named Luke and Stella.

Observed by a raucous crowd of six people and a couple small dogs, the mother/son labrador duo proved to be far too much for Finley.  They worked together to dominate the time of possession, throwing epic butt slams at every turn and generally just decimating any hope of victory for our young Golden. Finley’s lack of skills didn’t help her case much.  She couldn’t figure out exactly how to even pick up the football.  Her own trademark butt slam was non-existent.  It was like we were watching a completely different player out there than the one we had coached.

The labs may have won the Adger’s Wharf Super Bowl but that didn’t stop Fin from galloping into the shadow of a live oak to stare at the dogs with a smug look on her face, which, when I think about it, is really the move she performs best.

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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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When we first started dating (or since we’re in the Deep South, I guess I should say when I began courting Suz), one of our favorite ways to pass a sunny Sunday was to grab a couple of sodas at Queen Street Grocery and head down to White Point Gardens. While there, we would remark on how awesome it would be to have a dog alongside as we watched one hound in particular sprint happily around the grounds (more on this guy soon), people watch for hours on end, grumble about people swinging on the limbs of the magnificent live oaks, and generally idle by under a bright blue Carolina sky.

Sunday afternoon, we decided to go back to our roots, so to speak, after what seemed like a tremendously long absence from the park.  With weather so perfect, it kind of took us back to those first trepid forays over two years ago, when a lull in conversation due to being overly careful with our divulgences was saved by some off the cuff remark about a squirrel or laughing at some kid who just totally bit it while attempting to catch a football.

There were no awkward lulls this time around.

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We have a (hopefully) pretty good post coming soon on the James Island County Park Christmas Lights, which will probably be the least negative group of paragraphs I have ever strung together in my life.

For now, I’m slightly hunkered down in Lexington, Kentucky with the mongrel, having departed our fair Holy City a day earlier than anticipated due to an impending deluge of freezing rain. Suz is manning the fort in Charleston, probably happy to be devoid of constant basketball games on TV and tumbleweeds of golden retriever hair traveling wispily along the floor like a scene out of some sort of more sinister Midwestern Dust Bowl.

So, in absence of anything of substance, here’s a photo of our dog with her moose.

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Seeing Joan’s post over at her Charleston Daily Photo blog reminded us that we, too, have recently paid the Palmetto Carriage Company’s Big Red Barn a visit on one of our endless roams through the streets of Charleston.  We were drawn in by the glowing orbs and dim hue of Christmas lighting inside the stable.

Anybody who has ever been to the Holy City of the South knows how ubiquitous carriage tours are on the lower peninsula.  If you were in a car and not accustomed to such things upon your first encounters, you were probably pretty miffed when you sat behind one of these things as it plodded down the street at 2 miles per year.  I was, at first.  Not anymore.

I have only been on one of them in my life and that was years ago.  Being a pedestrian when one of them passes by can supply a quick lesson on a familiar structure or an anecdote on a piece of Charleston lore.  Over time, you begin to create your own knowledge bank of these stories, criticisms, and, well, embellishments, although I’m not knocking those by any means.

I have been told by a couple of good friends who worked for one of these companies while in college not to completely believe 25% of what I hear from some of these drivers, which probably goes without saying and absolutely they do not mean they are lying to patrons, at least willingly.  Charleston is an interesting place full of wonderful history and nuanced nods to different social, cultural, and political climates, but a little hyperbole about these events doesn’t really hurt anything sometimes.  On Wentworth Street, the stream of carriages is nearly constant and the factoids from the mouths of the operators blend into the environmental stimuli of the neighborhood in the same way chirping birds and passing vehicles do.  From what I have gathered, most of the carriage drivers are pretty knowledgable and only stray into the realm of popular myth sparingly while within their script, a foray that is obviously more common during impromptu critical analysis questionnaires from the eager history buff in the back seat.

In a recent instance while walking the ol’ beast down the street, I overheard one poor driver attempting to explain both the geometry of descent and combustibility against a facade of a cannonball fired upon a single residence South of Broad during the Civil War.  The fumbling answer he delivered showed a complete lack of knowledge in the science of basic physics and a lack (probably fortuitous) in recognition in the timing of an appropriately worded response, “Sir, I don’t know the answer to your ridiculously detailed question about 19th century ballistics” but I certainly appreciated him giving it an enthusiastic try.  I’m sure some of the questions these people are asked trend towards the absurdly esoteric.

Speaking of walking the ol’ beast down the street, there was a time in Finley’s younger days (also known as 5 months ago) when she became an attraction on the carriage route in her own right.  The situation always occurred at an impasse in the flow of the tour’s information, mostly at a red signal at the intersection of Pitt and Wentworth Streets.  At a temporary loss of filler, more than a few befuddled drivers would scan the sidewalks or treetops for some sort of remark to keep the momentum going on the knowledge train.  Truth be told, Finley was pretty damn adorable in those days (to literally everyone.  She still is to us but interactions with others on the streets have definitely changed.) and was an easy target towards which to divert attention in those brief awkward silences.  The acknowledgement by the driver to his passengers that my dog was, indeed, awesome prompted an almost formulaic conversation, with the only real variations being in the amount of and exact questions asked of me towards the end of the interaction:

Driver: “Aw, everyone look at that cute puppy. HEY!!!!” (directed towards me after driver realizes I have heard his directive) CUTE PUPPY!”

Me: “Thanks.”

Driver: “I love lab puppies.”

Me: “Me too, but this one is a golden retriever.”

(At this point, the rest of the passengers are talking amongst themselves.  Ladies are swooning.  Photos are being taken of me, in a ratty sweater looking like I just crawled out of a bomb shelter, and my puppy.  Photos are probably very crooked like the rest taken that day on that camera.)

Random passenger #1: “What is his name?”

Me: “Her name is Finley.”

Random passenger #1: “I have a lab just like her at home!”

Me: “That’s strange since this dog is a golden retriever but neat.”

Random passenger #2: “I bet he loves this city!” (This was nearly always postulated.  Seriously.)

Me: “I think she does.”

Then came an assault of questions from at least 2 or 3 other passengers about my dog.  Bizarre questions seeking strange amounts of detail and questions acting as near intrusions into my private life from people I have never met sitting 4 feet above me on a wooden apparatus being pulled by some an animal.  I was on the spot.  The weird thing is, it didn’t really seem all that awkward after the first couple of times.  Probably the same way the drivers of those carriages felt after a couple of times of assuming the position of history teacher jockey on the streets of this fair city.

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This guy never got much opportunity to seize the spotlight in our house.

At first, he was surrounded by a macabre group of vampires, tombstones, and spooky pumpkins.  Then the Santa Clauses arrived, followed swiftly by Christmas trees and assorted holiday season decorations.

But he never once complained, squawked, or gobbled about his plight.  He stood steadfastly amidst the schizophrenic seasonal homages.  For that, we are thankful and his perseverance has paid off in the form of his very own post.

Today, we are thankful for many things.

We are thankful for our families and the support and love they demonstrate to us each and every day.

We are thankful for our relative health (although I am trying to kick a wicked poopy cold right now).

In that vein, we are thankful to still possess all of our limbs and most of our epidermis despite being dragged down the street at breakneck speeds by an ogre dog.

We are thankful that the house has not been literally chewed off its foundation by an ogre dog.

We are thankful to have not been served with charges of involuntary manslaughter because our ogre dog jumped on someone and licked them to death.

And I guess, ultimately, we are thankful for that ogre dog, who alternates between the persona of Marmaduke’s protegé and the lovable sweet Finley, a now 10.5 month old golden retriever who has more than enriched our lives with her ridiculousness.

But she’s still not getting food from the table today.

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