Tag: travels with ace
I don’t want a Father’s Day card from my dog.
While I may — colloquially — refer to myself, or permit others refer to me, as “Ace’s dad,” I don’t see myself as exactly that, especially if he ever decides he wants to go to college, in which case the best I could do would be to buy him a handbook on how to apply for doggie student loans.
I don’t like to call myself Ace’s father (for that either humanizes him or dogizes me). I don’t like the term “owner” (too reminiscent of slavery), or “caretaker” (for that is something mutual that we do for each other). “Partner” doesn’t work either. (Though it comes closest, the word has come to have extra connotations in modern society.)
Friend will suffice nicely.
And no card — Hallmark or otherwise — is necessary.
Father’s Day cards from the dog — and this is no big surprise — are becoming more popular, which is just fine with greeting card companies.
The Washington Post’s John Kelly commented on the phenomenon in a column this week:
“When I was at CVS, I saw Father’s Day cards for your dog. Not for you to give to your dog, but for the dog to give to the man of the house …
“Hallmark is brilliant. They don’t let a little thing like our traditional notion of Father’s Day — that it’s a day for [human] children to give cards to their [human] paternal units — stand in the way of sales. They know that they can add millions in revenue to their bottom line if they can just expand the boundaries of Father’s Day.”
One of the things I most like about dogs is that, unlike us, they don’t fall prey to such marketing and gimmickry. Dogs don’t buy Father’s Day cards. Dogs dont get on the computer and invest in stocks or sign up for matchmaking services. Dogs don’t try to buy one and get one free, or enter contests. (You may already be a weiner dog.)
To be clear, we’re not talking here about Father’s Day cards that merely have images of dogs — but personalized cards, meant to be from the dog.
Here’s one I found on Squidoo, the inside of which reads:
“I’m all wags for my woof-woof-woofunderful Dad!”
The one at the top of this post is from Zazzle.com, which has a wide selection.
Petside.com offers several you can print out, and they appeared to be free.
A more philanthropic option is to order dad an ecard through the Maryland SPCA – and a portion of profits goes to benefit homeless animals in the shelter.
I’m not telling you how to live your life. Feel free to buy a card for Dad and pretend it’s from the dog. (Feel free, too, to purchase Dad a far more useful Travels with Ace calendar, half of the profts from which go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire.)
I’m just saying that — even though cards with dogs on them are my favorite — I don’t need a card from Ace, or even a card from my human son, who’s now visiting with me.
Every day with them is a gift already (sorry, greeting card companies). If you feel the need to spend money, make a donation to an animal shelter in honor of dad.
I think that would be much more woof-woof-woofunderful.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, calendar, cards, cards from the dog, dog, dog cards, dog father's day cards, dogs, fathers day, gimmickry, greeting cards, gullible, hallmark, humans, marketing, pets, petside, rolling dog farm, squidoo, travels with ace, zazzle
Encountered: While walking my dog in my neighborhood in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Backstory: More than a year after setting off to retrace the path of John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley, we finally ran into a poodle named Charlie.
Even though it’s spelled differently, Charlie is named after the dog Steinbeck explored the country with in “Travels with Charley.”
His owner is a big fan of the book.
Ace and I ran into her and Charlie while passing the Diamondback Grill, where Ace always stops for water and a treat. It’s just down the road from where our year of travels came to an end, when Ace and I moved into the very apartment I was born in.
It struck me as interesting that only after completing our quest — only after we finished our 27,000 miles of Charley-inspired travels around the country – we’d finally encounter a poodle named Charley, or even Charlie.
Perhaps it just goes to show you, or at least me — when you finally stop looking for something, that’s usually when you find it.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, charley, charlie, dogs, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, pets, poodle, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley
A full year has passed since Ace and I — after a year on the road — called a temporary halt to our wandering ways and moved into the apartment of my birth in Winston-Salem, N.C.
During that time I’ve reclaimed my stuff, and gotten things organized to my liking, but I’ve done little to improve the outside appearances of my new abode — a one-story brick unit that looks just like all the others in the former 1950′s-era apartment complex turned condo.
Shortly after I moved in, the homeowner’s association here in what’s called College Village, began sprucing things up, landscaping the barren front of the buildings with azaleas and gardenias and the mulch of choice in these parts, pine needles.
But my front steps, especially after that, were pretty bland.
So, getting hit with an urge to build, make home a little homier, or maybe just put my mark on the place, the front stoop seemed a good place for a home improvement project — as silly as that may be to do in a rental property where, though I don’t have it entirely figured out yet, I probably won’t be staying for any great length of time.
Last week, after a good two years of avoiding Home Depot, I headed there to get what I needed for the project. I wanted to build a flower box for each side of the steps, to sit atop the brick ledges, and plant something flowery that would climb up the wrought iron rails.
Gardening, maybe, was something I missed during our year of travel, staying with friends, family, in the car, at campsites, in a boat, in a trailer and at a lot of Motel 6′s. (You can read more about those travels here, and buy the awesome commemorative Travels with Ace calendar here.) Since deciding to stay put for a bit, and moving here, all I’d done, gardening-wise, was stuff some pansies in some pots and put them on the front step’s brick ledges.
That was in honor of a pending visit from my sister and her husband. She lived here as a toddler, and had told me about how, before she had a brother to pester, she would sit on the front porch and talk to the pansies planted there, because it looked like they had faces, and she’d found they wouldn’t interrupt her.
Last week, with measurements in hand, and my son along — he’s visiting for the summer — I headed to Home Depot, determined to make not just some plain wooden flower boxes, but some that would securely fit over those brick ledges on the side, so as not to be knocked over by any big dogs, and I was intent on doing so as inexpensively as possible.
We bought some cedar fence planks, and two pine furring strips, some nails, some dirt, some white impatiens for the front of the boxes and, for the back, two clematis — clemati? — that would, according to the plan, wind their way up the black railings. Total cost: About $60.
Through a lot of trial and error, miscuts and boo-boos, we managed to put together two boxes, with slatted, recessed bottoms for drainage that perfectly fit over the ledges, with a little encouragement from a rubber mallet.
Once they were in place and secure, I realized that, in addition to being about the right size for what I was planting, they were also the perfect size for a couple of my neighbors — Frank and Bogey, both dachshunds.
So we invited Faren and her dogs over.
With the dogs in place, my modest apartment was transformed — into something close to one of those mansions that have pretentious lion statues at their entrance. Well, maybe not that close.
Bogey, that’s him on the left, was patient enough to stay in place while I took the picture. Frank, on the right, seemed mesmerized by being in the box. Frank, who has some weight issues, barely fit in, but he seemed to like that. Maybe he found it reassuring, like one of those Temple Grandin hugging machines.
He seemed willing to stay there all afternoon. Frank, we should point out, is in the midst of a weight loss regimen — and doing great. Not real active when I first met him, prone to giving up and laying down whenever his owner took him for a walk, we found that, with Ace along, he was inspired to keep up.
He has lost almost five pounds, has far more pep in his step, and almost every day, with Ace along, he’s logging a good half mile, with plans to increase that incrementally.
His brother (though not by birth) Bogey, is an active sort, prone to chasing squirrels if given the slightest opportunity. He’s much slimmer, and a bit longer than Frank. Between that and wanting to see outside, he chose to keep his front paws on the edge of the box.
Bogey’s the kind of dog that doesn’t want to miss anything.
Frank’s the sort who doesn’t want to miss dinner.
I’d probably rather step outside to see Frank and Bogey in my boxes than flowers, but that’s not practical, so I let Faren take her dogs back, explained to the two of them, and Ace, the importance of not peeing on my custom-built, cedar flower boxes, planted my flowers and took the “after” picture that’s atop this post.
In the months ahead, I expect my clematis vines — already with about a dozen blooms — to grow and climb. I expect Ace to not jump over or through my boxes in his eagerness to get outside, usually to see Frank and Bogey. I expect Frank, homebody that he is, to shrink more as our walks continue. I expect Bogey, adventurer that he is, to pick up a scent and chase something.
It occurs to me that I’m equal parts Frank and Bogey, and I think Ace is, too, and maybe we all are – part of us wanting to stay put, part of us wanting to get out of the box and explore.
But sometimes staying inside the box — as long as it’s one in which you can still grow – isn’t too bad.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bogey, cedar, clematis, dachshunds, decorating, dog boxes, dogs, dogs in boxes, flower boxes, frank, front steps, gardening, home, home depot, home improvement, impatiens, living in the box, living outside the box, nesting, pets, project, road trip, settling down, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
And the fine for an unrestrained dog — unlike the $46 one for an unbuckled human — can cost you up to $1,000.
Because it’s considered animal cruelty under state law, penalties for transporting your dog without a restraint range from $250 to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail.
“That’s for each offense,” Col. Frank Rizzo, the police superintendent for the New Jersey SPCA, told reporters this week. “So, if you have more than one animal loose in your car, just do the math.”
Rizzo and representatives from the state the Motor Vehicle Commission briefed reporters about the law as New Jersey entered the initial phase of its “Click It or Ticket” campaign, at the outset of which police in 23 Bergen and Passaic county towns issued 359 tickets for back-seat violations — none of them involving dogs.
While some reports are calling the doggie seat belt mandate a new law, the Bergen Record’s Road Warrior column reports that leaving your dog unrestrained in the back seat of your car violates state statute 4:22:18, which is 16 years old.
(An unbuckled adult human in the back seat only became illegal in New Jersey three years ago.)
Rizzo said the high fines will help people become aware of the dangers of dogs traveling in cars unrestrained. “Some people tell us they like to let their pets hang their heads out the window to take in the fresh air, but dogs and cats become projectiles in a crash,” Rizzo said.
“It’s much cheaper to invest about $25 in a restraint system than to deal with the consequences of a crash,” said MVC Chief Administrator Ray Martinez, who used his own golden retriever-poodle mix to show reporters how to harness a dog into a back seat.
Patch.com, in an unscientific online poll, was finding little support for mandating dog restraints, and found few police officers interested in enforcing it.
“Seriously, the best part of my day is hitting the road with my dog sitting right beside me in my truck.” said one veteran officer said who asked not to be identified.
Another thought the law was intrusive, and its penalties too severe.
We welcome your thoughts on this topic (and everything else, too, of course), and we’ll share our own, bearing in mind I only started wearing my seat belt about six years ago, when I bought a new car, and only to stop the eternal dinging that resulted when I didn’t put it on.
Ace doesn’t wear a seat belt or restraint. At 130 pounds, he travels loose in the folded down back seat, sometimes with his head resting on the console between the front seats. He does from time to time stick his head out the back window, though I discourage it on Interstate highways.
Having recently completed a year-long, 27,000 mile road trip with him, I can’t imagine what that would have been like for him if he had been strapped down the whole time.
Our trip was all about being free and liberated — for a year at least — and while I’m probably over-protective of him in most ways, this is a step that, while it’s becoming more and more politically correct, I don’t see taking.
Until authorities show up at my door, or pull me over in New Jersey, Ace rides free.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, buckle up, click it or ticket, crackdown, dog seat belts, dogs, enforcement, humans, law, new jersey, pets, restraints, safety, seat belts, spca, travel, travels with ace
Revised, reconfigured and ready to get you all the way through 2013, the “Travels with Ace” calendar is back on sale for a limited time.
A heavy-duty, 18-month wall calendar, it’s illustrated with photos from our year-long, 27,000-mile trip across America — from the coast of Maine, where Ace was the first dog in America to see the sunrise one day in October, to the shores of Monterey, where Ace hopped up for a closer look at a bust of John Steinbeck — the author who inspired our journey.
You can buy it and get more information here, or by clicking on that ad to the left.
Fifty percent of profits from the sale of the calendar go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire (and also one of the stops on our trip).
We’ve added photos of one stop that we didn’t include the first time around — the Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
The rest of the calendar is packed with images from some of our other stops:
@Salvation Mountain in California, where Leonard Knight has fashioned and painted a mountain in honor of God.
@Niagara Falls, where Ace — ohmigod! — almost disappeared.
@The Lodge, a gentleman’s club in Dallas, where we met one of Michael Vick’s former dogs, and where Ace briefly took the stage.
@Various points south, like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, where we kept running into kudzu dogs.
@The mountains of North Carolina, where we went in search of the elusive — and sometimes not so elusive — white squirrel.
@Rolling Dog Farm, where we reconnected with some old friends.
@John Steinbeck’s former home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., where we began retracing the route the author took in “Travels with Charley.”
@A marina in Baltimore, where we lived on a sailboat for a week, which Ace mostly liked.
Initial sales of the calendar raised $400 for Rolling Dog Farm.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, alabama, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, bandera, calendar, calendars, california, coast, coon dog cemetery, dallas texas, dog, dogs, fathers day, following, gentleman's club, gift, gifts, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, lancaster, maine, monterey, new hamsphire, niagara falls, north carolina, ohmidog!, oregon, path, pets, photography, photos, road trip, rolling dog farm, route, salinas, strip clubs, the lodge, trail, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, trip, tucson, wall calendar, white squirrels, winslow
The love affair continues between Ace and the cat next door.
It started at my neighbor’s front window, where her new cat, Tom, would lay in the sunshine when she wasn’t at home. Tom was tiny then, just a few weeks old. And there seemed to be nothing Ace — and Tom — liked better than looking at each other through that window.
After three months of meeting at the window, and later playing peekaboo at windows of the front door, they eventually met in person, spending about an hour running around my apartment and playing. A few times, they’ve frolicked outside. Ace chases him down.
Tom swats at Ace’s face, and then they start all over again. Sometimes Tom hides under the car, darts out for a quick attack, then retreats back under the car. Ace then tries to wiggle under, only to find he’s too big.
Usually, when I let Ace outside, the first thing he does is go next door — in hopes of spotting Tom.
Between actual, in person visits, that’s what they do – gaze at each other through the front window — Tom sometimes swatting at it with his paw as Ace jumps up, putting his paws on the ledge and emitting a whine or two.
Tom started out sitting in the sill of the window above my neighbor’s sink. Ace would sit at the bottom of the stairs to the back door and look up, or climb to the top and crane his neck for a closer view.
On Friday, Tom decided to try and get a little closer too. Walking to the end of the counter, he stretched and managed to stick his face through the mini blinds on the back door.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough so, tiptoeing across what had to be, at most, a quarter-inch wide piece of door molding, he managed to get positioned between the window and the blinds. The blinds, I guess, were what held him in place as he walked back and forth, to Ace’s pleasure.
They spent about an hour visiting that way, with Ace every once in a while jumping up and placing his paws on the screen door, which, as you can imagine, isn’t very good for screens.
Figuring I was responsible for at least half the damage, I grabbed some tools and went over Saturday morning while the neighbor was gone to fix the screen.
Fortunately it wasn’t torn, just pulled out from underneath the molding holding it in place. As I removed the molding, Tom showed up again, intent on watching the process.
That left the mini blinds even more haywire. Once the screen was repaired, Ace, after a warning that there could be no more jumping up on the screen, climbed up the stairs to visit Tom again.
He stayed for half an hour or so, until another neighbor pulled up into the driveway, at which time he tore himself away to visit her. Tom spent a couple more minutes wedged between the blinds and window, waiting for Ace to come back, looking a little forlorn.
As I mentioned the last time I wrote about this relationship, I think the door has a lot to do with how close they’ve grown. First, it allowed them to comfortably get used to each other without feeling threatened. Then, I think, it served to make them want to be together even more. The barrier between them only fueled their desire – kind of like a parent who forbids you from seeing that boy; or you being in New York while she’s in California.
Closed doors, like absences, can make hearts grow fonder.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bond, cats, dog and cat, dog-cat, dogs, doors, love, neighbors, north carolina, pets, play, relationships, tom, travels with ace, windows
This photo seems to sum up Ace’s feelings (as I read them, anyway) about the ocean.
Upon seeing it, he starts acting half his age (I do too), gets totally energized (I do somewhat), and bolts into the water until a wave hits him and he starts having second thoughts.
He eagerly chased this ball into the ocean (and he’s not real into ball chasing) and scooped it up. Then, though his tail was in full curl – the barometer by which I measure his happiness – he got a look on his face that seemed to say “what am I doing in here?”
Then he rushed ashore before the next wave broke. He loves the ocean. But he has a slight fear, or should we say healthy respect, of waves.
Ace and I were in Wilmington visiting friends Steve and Louise Coggins, who we’ve told you about before, and who, in addition to putting us up, sponsored my table at a “Lunch with an Author” event at Cape Fear Community College.
The event, which raises money for creative writing scholarships, was pretty easy duty — a two minute speech, and lunch with a friendly group of people who, by virtue of sitting at my table, got my book (“DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”)
Among the dozen North Carolina authors appearing were Rory Flynn, the daughter of Errol Flynn and author of “The Baron of Mulholland”; Martha D. Peterson, a former CIA agent and author of “The Widow Spy;” and Katerina Katsarka, author of “Around a Greek Table, Recipes and Stories.” Katerina also stayed at the home of Steve and Louise, and brought along some the best spanakopita I’ve ever had.
Ace didn’t get any of that — I don’t think – but he did manage to mooch more than his share of treats at their home on Figure 8 Island.
As opposed to the hands-free bottle, or an IV Coca-Cola drip?
The only downside of the trip was a flat tire. Fortunately it didn’t take place until I had arrived on the island. Unfortunately, my spare tire, while it rides on the back of my Jeep, is temporarily trapped behind a locking bicycle rack.
A locking rack whose key disappeared a long time ago. (It’s pretty amazing that, in our 27,000-mile road trip with Ace, that never arose as an issue.)
That appeared to mean I would need a tow-job, and a whole new tire, even though the ones on my car are only about two weeks old.
The tow-truck man quickly located the hole, though, and plugged it up. He also passed on some useful beach knowledge — misting yourself with a Listerine-water mix (I presume in a hand-held bottle), will keep no-see-ums away.
It was far too quick a beach visit, but a thoroughly enjoyable one, especially for Ace, who got a sufficient amount of ocean time, a more than sufficient amount of treats, and some quiet time with his good friend Earl.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, cape fear community college, coca cola, coke, dog inc., dogs, figure 8 island, flat tire, hand held bottle, john woestendiek, lunch with an author, north carolina, ocean, pets, road trip, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, waves, wilmington
With nearly a year having passed since Ace and I rolled to a stop, after 27,000 miles and one year spent rambling, he seemed more than ready for a quick road trip.
When the time did come to leave, he jumped in the back before I could set up his ramp.
Two and a half hours later, we were in Spindale, N.C., where both spring and pollen were in the air, and where I gave a talk about my book, with Ace laying down at my side, doing absolutely nothing, but upstaging me all the same.
Our friend Kim had helped set up our appearance at Isothermal Community College, and when the talk was over, after everyone came up and petted Ace, I followed her to her house.
There, Ace again didn’t want to wait for the ramp. He jumped out and, sensing a cat, ran into her open garage.
I turned to look and got a fleeting glance of a white cat who seemed to jump six feet, straight up, into the air, landing on a heating duct. That was the first, and last, Ace would see of Lily, though he never gave up hope.
Even after Kim got Ace out and closed the garage door, he spent about 15 minutes sitting in front of the the cat door, and, for the next two days — despite having 10 acres at his disposal — he chose to mostly sit in front of one cat door or the other, in hopes Lily would appear. She never did.
Ace, who turned seven in March, had a pretty busy schedule.
And that’s not even counting all the time he put in searching for the cat and monitoring any activity in Kim’s kitchen.
After the appearance at the college, we met with a book club at Fireside Books and Gifts in Forest City.
Again he behaved well, though he did stare down one of the club members until she forfeited the last bite of her sandwich.
Maybe I should go to bookstores and stare at people until they buy my book.
On Friday we appeared in a huge auditorium at Rutherfordton-Spindale Central High School, speaking to about 350 students, most of whom came up to meet him at the end of my talk, which was halfway about Ace and our travels and halfway about DOG, INC.
Once again, it seemed I was doing all the work, and he, effortlessly, was getting all the attention.
He all but ignored a cute little pup in the store named Gretchen, and got growly with her when she tried to jump up on him.
Back at my friend Kim’s house, once all the pizza was gone, he conked out — too tired to even think about Lily.
Our apologies to Lily, for forcing her to lay low for two days.
Our thanks to Kim and family for putting us up, arranging all the appearances, and spoiling Ace rotten.
Between her, the students and me, he consumed three bags of treats over the two-day period.
He has three days to recover before our next trip, to Wilmington, N.C., for a Lunch with an Author event at Cape Fear Community College. It raises funds for creative writing scholarships. Attendees, for $40, get to have lunch with one of about a dozen authors, get a signed copy of that author’s book, and get to listen to that author talk about their book with their mouth full. I imagine it will be like a job interview lunch, where, for fear of getting caught with your mouth full, you don’t really eat.
It being a lunch, Ace won’t be attending that. That would probably be his idea of heaven — a dozen food-filled tables to mooch from — but it wouldn’t be a good idea at all. He will get to see his friends Steve, Louise and Earl again, and we’ll do our best to squeeze in some beach time.
Unless, of course, he sees a cat, in which case we’ll spend all our time waiting for that cat to reappear, even though it won’t.
His cat love has only intensified in recent months — ever since our neighbor got a kitty named Tom, and they began bonding daily through a window, as if on a prison visit.
He definitely seems to be ever-hopeful, and under the impression that good things come to those who wait — whether what he’s waiting for is the next road trip, a hunk of pizza crust flung in his direction, or, best of all, a cat.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, appearances, auditorium, book, books, cloning, dog books, dog cloning, dog inc., fireside books, fireside books and gifts, forest city, isothermal community college, john woestendiek, north carolina, r-s central high school, road trip, rutherfordton, spindale, stage, steinbeck, talks, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley
I wonder why some dogs lean
On humans as if they were beams
Do we support them,
Or do they support us?
It’s a little of both, it seems
Like a bad case of heartburn, the poet within me has resurfaced.
What caused it to gurgle back up was an offer from Paw Nation, the newly revamped AOL dog website.
As part of its makeover, I was invited to submit some dog poetry, along with photographs illustrating each short verse, which I agreed to do under the condition it could be silly poetry and not be taken too seriously.
(Most poets take themselves too seriously; generally they are the ones who eschew rhyming and wear berets.)
I turned in five poems, and they are published under the title “Minstrel of Mutt,” a designation I am happy to accept, provided there are no minstrel pains involved.
You can see what I gave them, in addition to the example above, here.
They paid me a little something, which, if I’m not wrong, makes me a professional poet and entitles me to call myself “poet” when I file my income tax return. (My goal now is to become a poet laureate, even though I don’t know what “laureate” means.)
To illustrate “Leaners,” I opted to take some shots of my dog Ace and his good friend Al, who lives down the road, one of several people Ace is prone to leaning on.
Unlike some of my lengthier poetic works — my ode to feral cats, for example — those I submitted were all haiku, limericks and other short verse, all pertaining to dogs.
In a way, it’s a frivolous pursuit. For one thing, I don’t think there’s a great demand for dog poetry in today’s market. For another, dogs are already a form of poetry that outshine anything I could capture by stringing words together.
Alas, it didn’t evolve into a long term gig, leaving me with surplus poetry, which I’m now contemplating what I should do with:
Can poetry, like tots of tater
Be stored away and enjoyed later?
One year in the refrigerator
Might even make a bad poem greater
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, aol, dog poems, dog poetry, dogs, haiku, highway haiku, leaners, limericks, minstrel of mutt, paw nation, pets, poems, poetry, short verse, travels with ace
Ace has a new top obsession — a neighbor named Tom, who has taken over the first place spot previously held by a neighbor named Al.
Ace hit it off immediately with Al, an older man who lives about five doors down. When Al started giving Ace treats, his apartment became the first place Ace looked when he went outside. When Al bought a jumbo bag of chicken jerky treats to hand out when Ace went by, the relationship grew even stronger. He loves Al, but he loved those jerky treats the way an addict loves crack.
Since Christmas, though, Ace’s priorities have changed. My next door neighbor got a kitten.
He is a very cute kitten, and very tiny. Ace — and we should point out here that cats are the only species Ace seems more taken with than humans — has met Tom once, sniffing him while his owner held him.
Ever since then, the first thing Ace does when he goes outside — even before peeing — is to run over to the neighbor’s front window to see if the cat is there. He stares up at the window, then he jumps up, putting his paws on the sill. The first time he did that, the cat jumped down and disappeared.
The next time, the cat wasn’t bothered in the least. And now the cat seems to be waiting for him. He’ll gaze at Ace, paw at the window and press his face against it. After a couple of weeks, they both seem to view the visits as a regular part of the day’s schedule, and Ace seems to think checking on the cat is his new job.
If the cat is not in the window, Ace will jump up, peer in, crane his neck, look side to side and get upset. Eventually, the cat will appear, and then they will stare at each other as long as I allow it.
It takes a lot of urging to pull Ace away.
I am 99.999 percent sure Ace does not want to eat the kitten. He has shacked up with cats before, and been enamored with them, though only one we visited seemed to tolerate his interest.
But because the kitten is so young he would only be one swallow, and because the kitten has had some health issues, they’ve yet to hang out together unrestrained and in person.
As for Al, Ace still bolts off when sees him, even though we’ve dropped the chicken jerky treats. They were made in China, and — though I doubt they were responsible for Ace’s recent health issues — both Al and I had read some warnings about them.
I’m 99.99999 percent positive that Ace isn’t looking at Tom as a treat — even if he does sometimes drool a little while staring in his window.
But Ace’s Tom-excitement and his jerky-excitement appear to be two different things. With the jerky, he gets all drooly and subservient. With Tom, his tail and ears perk up. He seems more intent, more studious, less zombie-like, as if it’s more an intellectual hunger than a physical one.
One of these days, they’ll get to spend some time together. Maybe, with all the anticipation behind him, that will make him less obsessed, or then again it could make him more that way. Until then, they’ll continue to relate, three or four times a day, through glass and screen.
Note to neighbor: You might detect some small holes in your screen; I fully (or at least 99.999999 percent) intend to buy you a new one.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, al, animals, behavior, cat, cats and dogs, chicken, china, dogs, jerky, kitten, neighbors, north carolina, obsessions, pets, relationships, road trip, species, tom, travels with ace, treats, window, winston-salem