Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The noble beast dominates Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York. (September, 2000)
This, on a visit to my alma mater and childhood stomping grounds.
Often people ask if that is blood on the front of his paws and while I'm tempted to enhance his machismo, "Yes, a wayward tabby, a tad too slow. Survival of the fittest, don't you know?" I must admit that it is merely the result of his cookie habit: Iams Large, broken in half, held between his front paws and gnawed to dust.

Harrigan stands his ground in fierce confrontation with a miniature Doberman puppy. (1989)

A Dog Story (1992)

A 3½ year old denizen of this city, my Tibetan Terrier Harrigan, on our customary midnight walks, has learned who belongs on his streets versus that which is alien. He passes countless curbside trash cans, cardboard cartons and garbage bags (tied into two little bunny ears) with little more than his normal canine curiosity. Even tumbleweed plastic bags blowing down the street and garbage-rifling bottle-redeeming homeless people no longer faze him.

Among the silent apparitions which, by contrast, have deservedly prompted a sudden round of baying were:
  1. A 15-Foot-Tall Yellow Ditch-Digging Machine Towering Dinosaur-Like, Asleep in the Street
  2. An Abandoned, Shadeless and Extraordinarily Hideous Table Lamp, Awaiting Its Next Owner
  3. A Suzanne Somers Thighmaster

I am prepared to control his natural instincts to attack at the appearance of dogs three times his bulk or the occasional aggressive feral cat. But on a particularly quiet evening I was startled by the alarm he raised at beings unknown ahead. My New York nerves screamed "Mugger Alert!" What hooded figure was about to jump out from between the parked cars or dark stoops?

I followed Harry's lead cautiously as the leash sang with tension and we approached the threat. Rising from the curb 20 yards ahead, amid the normal refuse, was an empty Gateway 2000 Computer carton. (In order to convey their South Dakotan origins, Gateway uses white boxes printed with irregular black spots, cow-fashion.) Harry knew that this cubist black and white animal he had never seen before and it certainly was not native to his New York.

I praised his vigilance, then let him come to terms with the spotted box (in enviable expressiveness) and add it to his roster of the rare, but benign.

This has been an absolutely true story.

I am proud to say that this was actually published in the September 1997 issue of "Animal Tales", the magazine of the Humane Society of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

woodlewog: Harrigan's dogblog

Hello. My name is Llewellyn and this is woodlewog, Harrigan's dogblog. Harry is my dog and inspiration. I raised him from a pup and he accompanies me through mid-life. Fifteen and a half years now and counting.
This picture shows Harry soon after he came into our lives:

Harry at 9 weeks and Llewellyn at 2,059 weeks
Papers attest that Harrigan is a Tibetan Terrier, nee Rocky Hill's Zeigfeld Folly, born February 17, 1989. But we all know Harry is a woodlewog, a good doogan and a criminal. While born on Rocky Hills Farm in Chester, Pennsylvania, he’s not exactly a farm dog. He’s a city dog, a street dog, a cement dog, a living room dog. And though he spent his first thirteen years living half a block from Central Park, he rarely attended the canine galas there or their dangerous social life, rampant with fleas and disease.
Don't think of him as sheltered! He’s a feisty scrapper and been around the block, over 7,000 times by my personal tally. Still, he never risked an urban off-leash romp, unlike others who received a nasty $100 ticket from Sanitation or, much worse, a fatal bump on the head from an encounter with a passing vehicle.
Call me over-protective. Call me anal. Mea culpa. He’s my first child.

Cast of Characters
Here are some individuals who may appear in or contribute to or complain about woodlewog.
Harry’s natural father; a survivor with a prize-winning coat, but just-plain folk.
Miss Piggy
His mother; attentive, sweet, oft-pregnant. Major influence for Harry’s first 8 weeks, oh well.
Harry’s first adoptive mother and a major influence during his upbringing. Streaked his fur with colored markers.
Harry’s step-mother for the past several years; has taught the old dog several new tricks. Not to be outdone by Hillary’s store-bought dog couture, invented “Paper-towel Boy”, the economical Halloween costume.
Ultimate Harry detractor. Calls Harry a poof-dog. Has a farm in Jersey and sheep. Which he slaughters. Leaps easily to euthanasia. Can’t wear shorts.

The Plan
Through these pages, I intend to demonstrate to the world that Harrigan is indeed a woodlewog, in every sense of the word. I will document his exploits, his qualms, his deceptions and his loves. Perhaps we may even examine the nuances of stooginess, though it is a difficult concept to explain and risks destruction in the process.
So here I offer bits and pieces of Harrigan: words, pictures, textures, clips of sound and fur, carefully selected for your enjoyment, drawn from the first fifteen years and looking toward the next fifteen.
With that in mind, Onward, woodlewog! Onward and backward!