Chelsey hides from a thunderstorm.
Chelsey hides from a thunderstorm.
Judy, the dogs, and I enjoyed yesterday’s gorgeous late-summer weather on a walk along the Esplanade from Kenmore Square to the Public Garden, then back through the city. At least 15 people stopped us to ask “what kind of dogs are they?” (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. Tollers, for short.) We stopped for coffee at the Newbury Street Starbucks near Mass. Ave, where Chordially Yours, a female a cappella group from BU, serenaded passersby, human and canine. The dogs know the location; a now-graduated dog sitter used to take them to the adjacent JP Licks for ice cream, buying a small dish for each to eat on the sidewalk. They got no ice cream from us.
After licking drippings from beneath the grill Cleo smelled like last week’s swordfish. An hour ago I shampooed her with phosphate-free and lake-friendly castile soap while she jumped off the dock retrieving sticks. As soon as she came out of the water she rolled joyously in the dirt. This is what she looks like now:
The large plastic dog-treat container slipped from my hands when I was returning it to the top of the refrigerator. I arrested its fall by trapping it sidewise with my hip against the counter. Its top popped open and mixed dog treats spilled to the wood floor and scattered across the kitchen. It was a religious experience for Cleo and Chelsey. I grabbed the broom and swept and scooped up as many treats as I could but was no match for the girls’ low center of gravity, four legs, and voracity.
Last night we returned from dinner about 10:30. Chelsey was waiting where I expected, peering through the back door. Cleo was not where I expected, curled up asleep in her bed in my office. It’s almost always bad news when Cleo varies her routine–you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks. From the mud room I saw debris underneath the dining room table, which has become Cleo’s den. Another bad sign. The dogs had gotten into something. The question was what. A few steps farther I had an answer. Trash was strewn across the kitchen floor. Where had it come from? A few more steps revealed more trash, an entire shredded 13-gallon bag of trash, a doggie heaven of trash, around the kitchen island. Coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, tissues, cardboard, empty cans and bottles, a soggy mess of kitchen refuse. Somehow the dogs had pried open the trash drawer, reached inside the bin to pull out an almost-full bag, and had a garbage party. Chelsey, conscienceless and oblivious, wagged her tail. Cleo, possessor of the 95% of their joint brainpower, sat and watched nervously as we cleaned up, her face the picture of I know I did wrong but I just can’t help myself. We couldn’t figure out how they’d forced open the drawer. The only logical explanation is that we left it open a fraction, just enough for Cleo (because it had to be Cleo) to wedge in her nose and push it open all the way. The alternative–my dogs are capable of opening a fully-closed cabinet drawer–is too scary to contemplate.
Imagine what the mischief they could make with opposable thumbs.
I love Chelsey’s languid pose and the contrasts between her soft reddish-gold fur, the weathered cedar deck, and the sun-bleached lily leaves.
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Cleo asking me to come outside and throw sticks. She was groomed–brushed, bathed, beautified–yesterday. Taken with an iPhone.