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Tag: little

Living large on the Street of Little Motels

Life is good on the Street of the Little Motels.

Wednesday took us from Kanab, Utah, past Lake Powell and into Page, Arizona, a destination chosen only because it was where we were by evening, once again facing the prospect – having not planned ahead (ahead, of course, being the best way to plan) — of finding another dog friendly motel.

Crossing over the Glen Canyon Dam and pulling into town, I checked my AAA handbook, “Traveling With Your Pet,” which listed all the usual suspects – Motel 6, Best Western, America’s Best Value and the other lookalike big chains that rarely exude the slightest local color.

But as I was tooling down the main drag, I saw a little sign pointing toward what was called the “Street of the Little Motels,” and I followed it.

Actually, it’s two or three streets, occupied by row after row of squat cinderblock structures, many of them brightly painted, with names like “Debbie’s Hide A Way,” “Bashful Bob’s” and “Lu Lu’s Sleep Ezze Motel.”

I figured the little motels on the Street of the Little Motels — though none of them show up in most travel guides — were probably more reasonably priced, being little, than those on the street of big motels, so I stopped in one, the Red Rock Motel, and asked the proprietor, Dail Hoskins, if dogs were allowed.

He said they were, but that he liked to meet them first and interview them before making a commitment. So I fetched Ace from the car and walked back in. Dail and Ace hit it off right away.

Still, there were conditions. “I have three rules,” he said. The first was dogs can’t be left unattended in rooms. Though I disagree in principle, I conceded. I asked him what the second one was. “Dog’s aren’t allowed on the bed.” I conceded to that one, too. “What’s the third?” I asked. He rubbed the Fu-Manchu mustache that forms a grey horseshoe on his tanned face and looked up at the ceiling.

“Can’t remember,” he said.

With that we closed the deal — $44 including tax. On the street of big motels, with boaters arriving for the long Fourth of July weekend, I probably would have paid in the $70s.

By the time the paperwork was filled out, Ace had grown on Dail even more, and he invited him over to meet his dogs, Marley and Mo. He went so far as to offer his fenced backyard to Ace, in the event I wanted to go out.

I parked in front of my room, 108 B, and was pleased to see it had its own sand yard, a grill, and a picnic table out front. Inside was a full and fully equipped, if somewhat retro, kitchen, with a linoleum floor that, being cool, Ace found quite to his liking.

In addition to my spacious kitchen, there was a roomy bedroom, with TV, bath, and the all-important, in Ace’s view, air conditioner. It basically had all the comforts of home, which, not having a home, I haven’t had – at least to myself – in a while.

I unpacked, did a little nesting in my room for the night, and took Ace to meet Dail’s dogs before hitting the Safeway, where I bought a small bag of charcoal, a six pack of Shiner Bock (which I developed a fondness for while in Texas), some hamburger meat, a single bun and some beans. (They’re cooking as I write.)

The Street of the Little Motels in Page’s Old Quarter is just a couple blocks off the main road through town. The motels aren’t packed with amenities, but for my money (What! That’s all I have?), they’re a far better choice than the big name competitors. The big motels say sameness, the little motels ooze character.

I’m enjoying the hominess of it, Ace likes it better than any motel we’ve stayed in so far, and I’m pretty sure I won’t have a nasty note taped on my door. So we’ve booked a second night.

The structures on the Street of the Little Motels went up in the late 1950s, when work was beginning on Glen Canyon Dam. They were built to handle the influx of thousands of government-hired dam workers who moved to the then-isolated Manson Mesa, a portion of which was procured from the Navajo in a trade.

After the dam was completed in the 1960s, the cinder block buildings were sold, mostly to serve as motels, and for a while – what with Lake Powell having been formed, turning the area into a prime recreation destination – they prospered. Along with the boaters, though, the big motel chains moved in, making life a little harder for the little motel guys. Dam shame.

Some of the individually owned little motels are apartments now, or hostels, some are a little down at the heels, but a handful, like the Red Rock, are alive and well, well-kept and worth visiting – not just a room but a home away from home.

That’s all for now. My beans are burning.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

The story behind the dramatic photos

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This happened way back in August, but since the dramatic photos are now making the email rounds — without attribution, photo credit or any citation of the original source —  we thought we’d show you what happened when gale force winds blew a Maltese-Shih-tzu named Bi Bi off of Brighton Pier in Victoria, Australia.

1The unleashed dog splashed into the choppy waters as owner Sue Drummond looked on.  “I thought he was going to sink and then maybe I wouldn’t be able to find him,” she told the Herald Sun. “I didn’t really want to hop in the water either because I wasn’t quite sure if I could make it to shore with a struggling dog.”

Raden Soemawinata — on the pier for a family ceremony to scatter his grandmother’s ashes into the bay, showed no such hesitation. He stripped down to shirt and underwear and dived in after the dog: 

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“It was pretty cold and windy, but it wasn’ such a hard decision to jump in, it wasn’t such a great feat,” Soemawinata, 20, said. “I’m a part-time model, so getting into my jocks isn’t so different to what I do for work.”The photos were taken by Chris Scott, and originally appeared in the Herald Sun in Australia.

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Again, it’s old news, but given we missed it the first time around, and the photos have bobbed up to the surface again, we thought both the photographer, the rescuer, and Bi Bi deserved to be more than anonymous.

Happy Knut Year? This story bears watching

We start with a happy song, for it was, mostly, a happy time — the Berlin Zoo had seen the birth of its first polar bear to survive infancy in 30 years.

Even though the cub was rejected by its mother, and had to be rescued with a fish net, and kept in an incubator for 44 days, and nursed through infancy by a loving human caretaker around the clock, Germany, and the world, thrilled to the sight of Knut. He was white and fluffy and cute. And little.

Some experts said it was a mistake to go to all the trouble — that zookeepers should let him die. But humans rallied in his support. A group of children protested at the zoo, holding up placards reading “Knut Must Live” and “We Love Knut.” The zoo was bombarded with emails, asking for the cub’s life to be spared.

The zoo took heed, and vowed to never harm Knut.

Born in late 2006, Knut was introduced to the world in March, 2007, at which time the Berlin Zoo — noting his public appeal — registered Knut as a trademark.

As Knut’s popularity soared, so did the zoo’s stock — and its attendance figures.

Other companies profited from Knut as well, by developing themed products — from ringtones to cuddly toys.

A toy company called Steiff produced several Knut-based plush toys, promising the money raised from the sale would be used to renovate the polar bear enclosure at the zoo. A candy company released “Cuddly Knut,” a raspberry-flavored gummy bear and pledged to donate a percentage of proceeds to the zoo as well.

There were happy songs written about Newt, like the one you’re hearing now, and Knut has also been the subject of books and movies. He appeared in March 2007 on the cover of the German Vanity Fair magazine, and lent his name to environmental causes, such as stopping global warming, which is threatening to send polar bears into extinction.

For cute little Knut, everything appeared headed to happily ever after.

Of manly presidents and girly dogs

Barack Obama’s use of the term “girly dog” has raised the hackles (and who knows what other body parts) of a Huffington Post blogger who says it was disparaging — a threat both to his manhood and that of his dog, Manuel.

“…Clearly Mr. Obama meant “girly” in the pejorative sense, not as an adjective denoting “nice for girls,” but rather to suggest a dog that lives in conflict with its own manly nature or the manly nature of dogs in general,” wrote blogger Billy Kimball.

I can’t get too bent out of shape about the president-elect’s remark — “girly” somehow sounds less pejorative coming from Obama’s mouth than, say, an Arnold Schwarzenegger. But, in hindsight, perhaps a more politically correct term would have been “little yappy pipsqueak dog.”

Kimball’s not willing to cut the president-elect any slack in his piece, written in response to an exchange between Obama and his wife, Michelle, during an interview with Barbara Walters. When Walters suggested the First Family get a Havanese, the small breed of dog she has (and Kimball has), Obama said, “It sounds kinda like a girly dog…We’re going to have a big rambunctious dog.”

“By saying that he wanted a ‘big, rambunctious dog,’ Obama was trying to don the mantle of the ‘guy’s guy.’ “ Kimball wrote. “Big rambunctious dogs, through their genetic link to working and hunting breeds, establish one’s bona fides with the masses. Those toy breeds who don’t have to work for living probably belong to people who don’t either – or so the conventional wisdom would have it.”

Kimball gives Obama points for considering a shelter dog, but says, “making distinctions about dogs based on breed is nothing less than a form of canine racism and exactly the sort of thing many of us had hoped we were leaving behind on Nov. 3. “

The truth is many small breeds have established themselves as some of the fiercest hunters. Kimball also misses the mark when he says Obama promised his children a dog if he won the election. Actually, he promised them one once it was over, win or lose. 

Most ludicrous, though, is Kimball’s argument that it would be irresponsible to own a large breed of dog at the White House.

“Obama is acting irresponsibly by getting a dog much larger than is practical for people in his zip code who don’t have a Rose Garden and South Lawn for it to run around on,” Kimball says.

For one thing, Obama will have a Rose Garden and a South Lawn. For another, saying big dogs shouldn’t live in the city is precisely the kind of “canine racism” Kimball seems to be accusing Obama of.

A dog’s size doesn’t define it, and it shouldn’t define us — however much some people may try to read into things.

Your little dog doesn’t mean you’re “girly,” any more than my big dog means I’m compensating for some shortcoming with my bona fides.