Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I have a friendly relationship with cats. We nod, acknowledging each others’ presence, and move on. Once in a while a cat will misread my intentions and proceed to rub up against my leg. I don’t shy away but it stops there. Any closer and my eyes will itch and the sneezing will begin. My sister has a neighbor cat, Maurice. Patsy and her husband swear Maurice is dog-like as he approaches with obvious happiness and curiosity, not with the stealth wariness I associate with many cats. Maurice is big and white with black spots. If he were a dog, he’d be a bull dog. His coloring is just right. He’d love to be friends with Roxie, my sister’s boxer, and she will have none of it. Maurice wants to love Roxie. Roxie wants to eat Maurice. I understand that people really love cats. Even though I had a cat for many years, a white and orange kitty named Marmalade, I could never get too close because of the allergy situation. So I don’t have the same affinity for cats as some, though I can understand when considering how I feel about dogs. I come from a long line of dog lovers. Roxie is but one dog in my life. For someone who doesn’t own a dog and hasn’t in decades (my kids say I should never own a dog or a houseplant? - nice), I claim close friendships with a lot of dogs.

First are my “grand-dogs” Apple, Oden, and now Hayden. Apple (named before Gwyneth Paltrow's Apple) is a petite black lab mix, very emotional, and belongs to my daughter Meghan. Oden is a gentle giant, a massive black lab with a big block head and belongs to daughter Katie and her husband Bill. Hayden is the newest member of the family. My son Joe adopted Hayden last week. He’s a 7 month old blood hound who looks like a Disney character! He’s all legs and ears with a forlorn face and a furrowed brow. He drools abundantly and lopes as he follows Joe everywhere. It’s only been a week but he’s already etched a place in our hearts. He’s also left giant paw prints on the seats and drool marks on the head rests of my almost-new car.

Jette is one of my all-time most favorite dogs, and belongs to my boyfriend Russ. She’s Apple’s sister, from the same litter. Their mother, Dakota, was one of the smartest dogs I ever knew. Dakota was a border collie, and their father was a yellow lab from downstairs that happened to break through a screen door, resulting in a litter of black lab-like dogs with the acuity of a border collie – adorable little bundles of black with eyes that don’t miss a thing and the ability to catch any ball! Jette “speaks” with intonation and Russ knows what she’s saying! He runs a vocabulary list by her every morning and she reacts to each word. It’s hysterical.

Roxie is my sister Patsy’s boxer, a tawny-coated petite pup with a black face. She’s almost two years old and just entering canine adolescence. Roxie follows Ali, their beloved boxer of twelve years. Ali is a hard act to follow and Roxie is her own dog.

Petey and Beasley are PBGVs, or Petite Bassett Griffon Vendenes, a small breed with the body of a basset hound and the face and fur of a terrier. Imagine that! They are owned by my sister Anne’s family. Beasley has the longest eye-lashes I’ve ever seen on a dog – so long that they have to get trimmed!

Leila is a gentle, blond, furry golden retriever who lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts, and is owned by my friend Jan. She’s got soulful brown eyes and a light brown nose. When I visit, Leila usually ends up finding me in the wee hours of the morning and hangs out with me until everyone is up. She’s a hugger.

Maggie and I were roommates at Patsy’s house for a while when my nephew Adam was waiting to close on his new house. Maggie is an English bulldog, and as a puppy she was adorable. Maggie and Roxie are great buds, and together they are a whirling mass of muscle, jaws, and playful growls! After playing together they both drop to the floor and fall sound asleep in exhaustion.

Such is my tribute to the dogs in my life, and fortunately I get to love them without the associated food or vet bills! I bake them treats for special occasions. Life always seems better when there’s a dog sleeping at your feet.

Photo of Maggie as a puppy by Patsy Britten

Tomorrow's blog: Cruise Food! (or croose food, or cruz fud, or cruise fuid, tell me to stop!)

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