Domino (top) & Dash

Domino (top) & Dash

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Home depot Alone... with Mother" by Domino the miniature poodle

Dogs are allowed in our local Home Depot, and not only in those humiliating assistance vests (the canine fashion equivalent of fanny packs).

Still, my mother often tries to leave me home on her frequent trips to this store, so usually I have to appeal to her higher self.  For example, when she got into her car to return a faulty shower rod this morning, I jumped in to the front seat, sporting my well-practiced expression of abject misery bordering on grief.  She took one look at me, and minutes later, off we went!

The store was jam packed with dogs today.  Loathe as I am to say it, the pit bull is the only breed that truly owns the aisles of HD.  The rest of us are either pushed along in their store carts, excited to be there at all, or we stroll mindlessly beside our distracted families as they search for the perfect picture hook.  We don’t hold a candle to the champion swagger of the pit bull.

In fact, there was a pit bull there today, sauntering down the crowded Rope and Chain aisle like a thoroughbred who had just won the Kentucky Derby.  Gorgeous - and don’t think he didn’t know it.  I wanted to stay and watch him from my high up perch in the carriage, but Mother moved us along quickly, mumbling something about “too many people reading 'Fifty Shades of Gray'.”  She's often incoherent.

All in all, it was a good day with Mother at HD.  Since we left my insufferable brother Dash at home, I had Mother all to myself for a few hours.  I’m sure she enjoyed our time alone together as much I did. Even though she's too nice to say it, I know that we both prefer it this way.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Why Republicans Are Bad For Poodles" by Domino, the mini poodle

Domino Waiting for Storm

My poodle brother, Dash, and I have spent the better part of the last 2 days waiting at home for the tornado to hit the Gulf Coast in Florida.  Fortunately, it’s been relatively mild, so we got lucky- our human family stayed put (just to be sure) but without the usual storm hysteria involving flashlights, cans of tuna and crackers.

This gift of free time for dogs is just like a snow day for children: anything goes.

For us that means: treats for breakfast; long stretches of scratch-our-tummies; lolling about mindlessly with our usually preoccupied human mother; impromptu visits from her peculiar friends- all this makes for a festive and devil may care experience.

The one drawback is that the Republican National Convention was on TV.  It broke the mood to hear our mother call people names while she watched it with us, and once she even threw a shoe at the screen.

It was a soft house slipper, but still. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Dog Days" by Domino the mini poodle

Dog days: the hottest days of summer.

That’s what we’re in right now. It’s so warm and sticky it makes my hair curl tightly. I suppose this would be newsworthy if I were an afghan hound, but I’m a poodle, so we’re just gilding the lily here.

Dog days of summer. This expression derives from the ancient belief that the Dog Star, Sirius, was responsible for hot weather due to its’ proximity to the sun. I like the idea that we dogs can be so influential.

Usually humans box us in and claim that our main purpose is to bring them “unconditional love.” They say this with the implied judgment that they don’t get that from anyone else and it is this that makes dogs so special. 

Well, I’m here to say that they don’t get unconditional love from us either. Frankly, you better believe we’re happy to see them. Our life would be vastly different if we had hands. Then, without any assistance, we could hit the cookie box or turn the door handle to get the hell out of the house whenever we wanted.  

But there’s no benefit to my revealing this, so let’s just keep it to ourselves.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Domino's Full Of It by Dash, the Toy Poodle

Mother ‘s friend, Nancy, often comes to visit Mother at our home.  They usually sit outside by the pool and spend the entire afternoon doing absolutely nothing with each other, as far as I can tell.  But my poodle brother Domino says they’re talking and he likes listening.  He usually homes in on them for scratches, knowing he’s going to get a good, long stretch of time out of it.  Nice move.

On Nancy's last visit, I complimented Domino on this clever maneuver.  His response was to tell me that I know nothing about “the value of communication.”  But really, how anyone can spend hours in conversation with another is TOTALLY beyond me. What there is to say after the first “how ya’ doin?” I wouldn’t know.  Domino insists that this is the difference between us; he claims I have no manners, curiosity or need for connection with others.


To all this I can only say: “Excuse me, dear brother. I'd be most grateful for your opinion about something when you have a free moment:  Over all these many years that we’ve lived together I’ve often wondered, HOW on God’s green earth can we possibly be related?  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me on this subject."

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Beware the Dentist by Domino the Poodle

                                                                  Domino Recovering

Oh the horror!  I went to the vet to get my teeth cleaned.  Mother took me there after we discovered that those disgusting dental chews I’ve been eating for six years do not actually work. When I arrived there at 11:55, I was put in a cage and left for dead. That is, until I was removed at noon to have the procedure done. But those five minutes, torn from my mother’s side and left to fend for myself in a small crate without a side view, were very dark moments indeed.

And then I was drugged and knocked unconscious. Brutes!  Aggressive medical technicians with hideous instruments came at me, unconcerned with the fear coursing through my unconscious body. Who knows what they did to me while I was under, but I saw, what looked like knives, heading in my direction before I conked out.  

All I know is that it must have been terrible; I’m lucky to be alive.  And those technicians who rubbed my ears and smiled at me when I awoke- phonies, every last one of them with their sharp utensils.  Besides, they looked like cat people.

Afterwards, Mother was waiting for me as soon as I could leave. I wobbled over to her with a slight limp and looked at her with burdened eyes, grateful to be taken out of my private hell.  She said something about sparkling teeth and how glad she was to see me. Who can remember?  I stayed in her lap the whole car ride home, which helped, but not enough to erase the memory of those leering technicians.

But Mother understands me. Even though she had a lot of work to get back to, she still spent the whole afternoon pressing a cold, wet washcloth to my forehead.  Only then could I finally breathe deeply and escape into post-traumatic slumber.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Dash has Chutzpah by Dash, the Toy Poodle

I know dogs aren’t supposed to enter most establishments,  but I’m only 9 pounds and fit easily into Mother’s handbag.  So off I go. Oh please, I can feel the eye rolls at this annoyingly cute image; but we’re not like that. This is no precious doggie/ fancy lady duo. I just like to widen my turf whenever possible. 

As for Mother, well, I’m not sure what this means, but I over heard her talking to her friend recently about why she wants me with her: “It’s just that Dash has chutzpah,” she said. “And sometimes I’m in short supply of that and smart enough to know it.  So at those moments, I just scratch his head as a reminder and, quick as Ramen noodles, I feel like I can climb Mt. Everest.”

I don’t know what chutzpah means but isn’t Mt. Everest the highest mountain in the entire world?  God, I hope she leaves me behind on that trip.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

One Good Thing about Leona Helmsley by Domino the mini poodle


Mother’s not looking so hot these days.  Fact is, she’s not getting any younger. Who knows what would happen to my brother Dash and me if she kicked the bucket?  This may sound harsh, but I have to be practical.  What fate awaits two orphaned poodles without a trust fund?

I know Mother left money in her will for her beloved dog Daisy, when Daisy was still alive. Let’s hope she’s done the same for us.  Even today there are hints of what the future could hold in store if we’re not protected.  For example, though I’m still on the sunny side of six, I suddenly have shooting pains in my feet that must be the first signs of a crippling form of progressive arthritis.  I could deteriorate quickly.  True, right before this pain began, Mother used tweezers to remove sharp prickles from the pads of my paws that left my feet swollen and tender, but whatever.  Who cares what caused the pain?  Let’s stay on point here.

There’s simply no tasteful way to broach this topic with Mother.  Perhaps as a little nudge, I’ll use Leona Helmsley’s obituary that Mother found so amusing she saved.  I remember her delight (and mine) when she read that Leona left twelve million dollars to Trouble, her adorable maltese dog.  That’s how I first discovered that Daisy had a trust fund.  This would have been the perfect moment to find out about our inheritance, but instead, I had to fight the rising wave of nausea raging through me when I heard Daisy’s name mentioned yet again for the millionth time.

I’m assuming that we’ll get the same amount as Daisy, although didn’t Trouble wind up in her own condo with an ocean view in Florida?  Of course that’s crazy; don’t be ridiculous. Mother doesn’t have that kind of money.  Besides, I’m not that spoiled or picky; garden views are also nice.

I hope this never becomes an issue; I love Mother and want to live happily with her until my final days if that’s possible. But if it’s not, she has to set the rules straight now or we’ll wind up in poodle purgatory. And although I’m sure my brother Dash and I will be expected to split our inheritance equally, it would be nice to avoid those nasty will related sibling “discussions.”  I just know he’ll try to dip into my half and blame it on being bad in math.

If Mother could only clarify this subject now, I wouldn’t have to try to work out all these details by myself.  I can’t rely on help from Dash.  All he wants to do is play ball and hunt for low-lying hors d’oeuvres. That’s a good day for him (doesn’t take much).  

Speaking for myself, I’ve got Trouble on my mind, with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘D’ and that stands for Dash (and the mess he'll get us into if I don't take charge).  Playful spoofs of “The Music Man” aside, if I have any say about my future well being, Trouble and I will have a lot more in common than the lyrics from this musical. 

Now if I can only convince Mother that despite Leona being, well, herself, she had enormous foresight when she understood that nobody, but nobody goes looking after Trouble if they don’t have to. 

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Sarasota, the American Paris by Domino the poodle

                                                                 Bonjour, Sarasota!

      Everyone knows that Paris is a dog’s kind of town. But without having to take language immersion classes or suffer the indignities of jet lag, we dogs have all that Paris offers right here in Sarasota, our own City of Love.
      When my poodle brother Dash and I started to be invited along on outings with our human family, we couldn’t quite believe it.  Up north, from where we recently moved, outdoor activities were limited by season.  But it’s a full year bonanza down here in Sarasota: dining al fresco at home or in restaurants, stores that invite us in and provide water bowls, parks where we accompany our exercising family, and our favorite, the weekly Saturday Farmers Market on Main Street.  
     At this event, while our family shops for food and flowers above us, down at their feet we dogs are involved in our own meet and greet.  We had to brush up on our social skills because these Saturday dogs are quite cosmopolitan; they seem to want to chat rather than play.  We newcomers found their tips quite helpful: which restaurants have the most legroom under the tables, which stores hand out the best dog treats, where the townie-dogs hang out; and most importantly, which dogs are hoodlums to be avoided.
     So now that we’ve got the hang of things, we can start helping the new dogs in town.  It’s easy to spot them: they're the ones who act like the lead dogs in an Iditarod Sled Race and drag their families along behind them like so many mushers.
    Once they see how dogs are treated in this town they’ll learn to relax like we did.  Sarasotans love their four legged friends and we’re usually a welcome addition anywhere we go.  We eat well, often wear adorable personal accessories and linger in outdoor cafes where we are privy to philosophical and educated conversations our people have about art, culture and the relative nature of personal happiness.  If things keep up like this, we may never have to visit Paris at all.  

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Toted in Sarasota by Dash the Toy Poodle

   OK, that does it. Mother stuffed me in her oversized handbag again and took me to the movies last night.  We went to the Burns Court Cinema.  They’re the artsy-fartsy film spot around Sarasota, so maybe we didn’t look that eccentric in this kind of crowd.  Since the theater shows a lot of foreign films too, we could always have said that we were French if we got caught. After all, dogs are allowed everywhere in Paris, so how would we know it was different here?
      Still, Mother is really taking my breed name, toy poodle, a little too seriously.  While my petite size encourages her to treat me like a child's favorite stuffed animal, in fact, I have abs of steel.  When she considers me her project or play thing, it disregards the buff physique I've developed playing Fetch in beautiful Urfer Park two blocks away from us on Bee Ridge Road. 
     If word gets out that she drags me around like a baby doll, I’ll be the laughing-stock among the neighborhood dogs.  For now, they think I spend my spare time catching frisbees on the beach or in one of our dog parks.  I tell them how I love to go with my human family on long, demanding treks in Myakka Park or power-walks around Sarasota Bayfront Park by Marina Jacks.
     While admittedly we do all of these things, I still get secretly schlepped along on Mother's “educational” outings. She says they’re good for me. Just recently, I had to sit through “Forever Tango” at the Van Wezel (ok, it was very impressive) and soon she has plans to sneak me into the Rubens print show at the Ringling Museum.

"Dash Has Had Quite Enough"

     I don’t think there’s anything I can do to get Mother to stop her madness. No matter how many times I tell her that for me, nothing beats a good game of ball-toss, she says that if I don’t broaden my interests and start to enjoy the cultural opportunities available in Sarasota, I might as well move to Trenton, New Jersey. 

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

King of the Road by Dash, the toy poodle

                                                      King Dash And His Don't-Mess-With-Me-Macho-Face

     My buddies, the chihuahua up the block, the yorkie down the street and the whatever-you-want-to-call-him around the corner, are accustomed to seeing me carry a tennis ball in my mouth during my daily constitutionals. When I get close they step back, a bit awed, and give me space to pass them.  It’s not easy carrying a ball for 20 minutes straight as I accompany Mother on those power walks humans are so fond of, and they know it; especially when the ball is as big as my head.  So now I have a lot of street cred.  I can feel their admiration and I like it.  

My brother, Domino, is jealous of the respect I get from our canine friends. Of course, he doesn’t say he’s jealous, but I know it.  And that’s not cool, brother to brother, know what I mean?  He should have my back.  But he can’t stand that I’m in the spotlight without having to pander. It irks him that I’ve become, and forgive me Roger Miller, King of the Road.  But, and I continually remind him of this, I’ve earned it!  I don't rely on the kindness of strangers or archaic pissing contests to mark my territory.

As a good brother, I tried to help Domino save face in front of the others; even gave him tips: no more delirious high pitched barking when he sees the yorkie (for some reason, yorkie boy has Domino’s number), and no more rabid tongue panting when he gets hot.  I’ve told him: Better to walk slower than look like you’re about to be committed. Or if that doesn’t work, think "cat." I’ve learned a thing or two about their clever come-to-me-first attitude.  People say cats are just like that, but I say they’ve figured out this approach through experience.

Sadly, self-control seems beyond Domino. His excuse is that he’s happy and excited. But I, and unfortunately the neighborhood gang, see his wild antics as weakness. He’ll just have to make his own friends somehow. New people moved in a few houses down from us with a baby cocka-who-knows-what. That puppy is so beside herself.  She almost choked on her collar when it got wrapped around her neck as she bounded over to meet me.  Sloppy. No grace.  Maybe Domino will finally make a friend.

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