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Attribution WILL be enforced.
We have been celebrating the dogs’ birthdays for 15-years or more; even when we lived in Gilford and just had Ulysses (our big Golden boy). In those days, in Gilford, it used to be an ice cream cake from ‘Hannaford’ (or whatever it used to be called in those days). Ulysses, who had grown up under my care, like all my dogs, liked his chocolate — and BEFORE you even ipen your mouth to say anything he lived a very good, active life, with very little wrong with him, until he was past 13. For a big dogs, that is quite brilliant.
Teischan, a great lover of birthdays (albeit, her’s her all time favorite), does a great job of keeping track of the dogs’ birthdays. I have been told, near daily, for the last 2-weeks, that it was going to be Maya’s 8th birthday and that we are going to McDonald’s. Suffice to say I have pictures of such birthdays going back years. A trademark of all these pictures are the dogs LICKING their chops in anticipation! It is classic. They know what is coming. Just search on ‘Maya birthday’ or ‘Braxton birthday’.
This year I decided to change the routine a bit — partly in honor of the ice cream cakes that Ulysses used to get. So, they got an ice cream cone, each, before their two cheeseburgers. I did not hear of any complaints.
The dogs know McDonald’s. I take them outside of their birthdays too. They probably go to McDonalds 7 or 8 times a year — maybe slightly more. I don’t think it is once a month, on rote, but it is thereabouts. Suffice to say I have pictures of such birthdays going back years. A trademark of all these pictures are the dogs LICKING their chops in anticipation! It is classic. They know.
Click pictures to ENLARGE.
Attribution WILL be enforced.
Teischan, a great lover of birthdays (albeit, her’s her all time favorite), does a great job of keeping track of the dogs’ birthdays. I have been told, near daily, for the last 3-weeks, that it was going to be Maya’s 7th birthday and that we are going to McDonald’s.
The dogs know McDonald’s. They go there outside of their birthdays too. Suffice to say I have pictures of such birthdays going back years. A trademark of all these pictures are the dogs LICKING their chops in anticipation! It is classic. They know.
Maya’s 7th. Braxton is going to be 5, I think, later in the Summer. Given that he is a rescue we are not sure of his exact birthday. So, like the Queen, we have designated an official birthday for him. Teischan will start telling me about it soon.
Enjoy. They did.
Click pictures to ENLARGE.
Attribution WILL be enforced.
Per what is now a fairly long-standing family tradition we take the dogs, on their birthday, to the local McDonald’s (in Alton, NH) for cheeseburgers (in addition to the other times during the year they get treated at McD). I used to get an ice-cream cake for Ulysses, who loved it, but I was never sure whether ice-cream cakes were the best birthday treats for dogs.
Braxton was a rescue dog that we believed was a beagle until we were told he was a harrier — a beagle on steroids. As such we don’t know his real birthday. The vets believe that he was born around the third week of July in 2013. July 20′ was Deanna’s (now deceased) father’s birthday, so she opted to make it Braxton’s official birthday since it would be easy to remember.
So today, Thursday, July 20, 2017, was Braxton’s ‘official’ 4th birthday — which he shares with Sir Edmund Hillary. It was also the day of the first moon landing.
There is no chance we will forget his birthday. Teischan, now 11, a great fan of birthdays keeps track of the dog’s birthdays. So we were reminded of it for days.
I think the dogs enjoyed the birthday. They went for a swim, in a lake, after that — albeit after about a 90-minute rest to digest the burgers. They get two each now.
Braxton’s 3rd birthday last year.
Déjà vu all over again.
Braxton’s 1st birthday in 2014.
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Braxton: What The Name Means; It Is Really A Last Name As Opposed To A First, But I Am Sure The Puppy Won’t Know The Difference.
Names have always intrigued me, more so now that ever before after I wrote my groundbreaking book on pope names: “Popes and the Tales of Their Names“.
I was not familiar with ‘Braxton‘. So I had to check. Got pretty good at tracking down names when I was researching the pope names, I had no choice. So didn’t take me long.
Interesting. No famous ‘Braxtons’ so the puppy could make a name for himself.
When I was at University in the early 1970s it was all the rage to come up with pretentious names for dogs. So that is why I have had: Rousseau (after the Swiss philosopher, after coming back from a holiday in Geneva where my hotel was opposite Rousseau’s island), Winston (Churchill), Maggie (Thatcher), Ulysses (Grant) & Monty (Montgomery as in the brilliant British WW II general). In between I also had: Bonzo, Peanut and Shamrock (the shelter given name for this huge, magnificent Golden who also answered to ‘Badger’ a name from a prior shelter).
Now it is Maya (after the ‘people’, and Deanna picked that) and Braxton — also picked by Deanna. I was given ‘heck’ by a Buddhist about ‘Maya’! I was asked whether I had forgotten who ‘Maya’ was. I obviously had. I could not remember. The Buddha’s mother was ‘Maya’. Yes, it came back when I was reminded. I did NOT see the big deal. To me naming a dog after a person is NEVER an insult, always a compliment. I assume that people name dogs ‘Mary’. Not that I really cared whether I offended Buddhists or not. If they want to get upset that I have a dog called ‘Maya’ they really have major issues.
That I rushed off and got a Beagle puppy struck Deanna and the kids as rather strange. I am noted for being devoted to Goldens. Yes, we had talked about other types of dogs and smaller dogs but they didn’t think I would really get anything other than another Golden.
This morning, after my run, I was going down the bottom flight of stairs in this house (which has three flights of stairs) when a picture of a Beagle caught my eye! I was stunned. Even more so that I hadn’t noticed it earlier and that the kids hadn’t pointed it out.
In 2007 when we moved into this 4 story house we kind of made the ground floor the family floor and made the hallway into a kid-friendly area. Painted the walls a magnetic, chalkboard black so that they could draw on the wall and maybe even hang light magnetic stuff. I also put two huge cork boards up so that we can pin pictures of interest.
The largest of the two cork boards face you as you go down the stairs. It has an eclectic mix of pictures from Obama to to popes, along with family pictures and what the kids used to refer to as the ‘statue with its pee-pee showing’. The artwork was to give them an appreciation of what is great.
I now remember this Beagle winning Westminster 2008. We liked him. Doubt whether Braxton will be anything like that. But, obviously, in 2008 we thought enough of Beagles to give them pride of place on the cork board. Enough said. I wasn’t been totally irrational. We must have agreed that Beagles were an acceptable replacement for Goldens though I doubt whether I will ever be without a Golden.
.by Anura Guruge
Deanna kind of had a hunch that I would not wait too long before I got another puppy. I did the same last time around when we tragically lost our dear Monty. I said I didn’t want to get another puppy but within 24 hours I was all over the Web desperately looking for another Golden puppy. That is how we got Maya. We checked out maybe 8 litters, in person, all around NH, in 2 days! It was the best thing I could have done. It was cathartic. Everybody stopped mopping around though Monty was never forgotten.
With Ulysses it was different. We knew it was coming. We had talked about ‘life after Ulysses’. The plan was always that we would get another dog. The only question was when.
A new puppy will be good. Deanna misses Ulysses and I still can’t get used to the house without my ‘Boy‘. I am so used to calling or talking to ‘the Boy‘ as I mostly referred to him. It was ‘The Boy‘ and ‘The Girl‘ — and they knew those terms too. So I needed a new Boy.
Yes, I violated most of my precepts BUT I am noted for being able to turn on a dime. I am very much a dyed in the wool Golden person. Maya was my 6th. I like Golden. They fit my personality. But, I do have a Golden, Maya — and she does go running with me.
Though I got my first Golden, a huge, hulking, very alpha example who was named ‘Shamrock‘ at the shelter, I am not known to be partial to rescue dogs. I like them as young as possible. We got Maya the day she turned 8 weeks. So, I am violating that rule too.
Wednesday and Thursday I was IDLY looking through PetFinder.com for Goldens and other BIG dogs. I was also seriously considering an Australian Shepherd. I check with Deanna but she wants me to pick the dog because she will have any of them or all of them. I also saw a white border collie. I have had a border collie before. I would have got that. Then I saw this litter of beagles. I called Deanna over. She was more than happy. So, I called. I was going to get a GIRL because that was the first one of the litter that I saw. See, I am flexible when it comes to dogs.
The lady, Janice, as nice as can be (and in love with my accent) asked me IF I wanted a BOY. Only one answer to that. She then pointed me to ‘Benny‘ — and then immediately told me that he was adopted!
I immediately liked Benny. To me there is only one Benny and that is ‘Benny Hill‘. A dog named after Benny Hill appealed to me though Deanna had already decided years ago that the next boy will be ‘Braxton’, though I no know Braxtons and have no idea if there were any famous Braxtons. But, it meets a naming requirement. We have been told that dogs are more receptive to names that have ‘Y’, ‘O’ and ‘X’ — hence Ulysses and Maya.
I dragged the story out of her. She had been taken BUT had not been paid for. The person was actually late. I pointed out that I will pay over the phone. She said she will contact the ‘pending’, give him a deadline, and then get back to me. The deadline was supposed to be this morning. I called. She said that he still hadn’t send her the funds via PayPal. Then to my chagrin she said she was going to give him till ‘tonight’. I wasn’t happy with that. She agreed that that was not fair since he was already more than 48 hours behind due. So she was going to give him till 4 pm today.
At 2:38 she had called and left a message (we were at an audition) that Benny was ours!
I had the funds to her within 15 minutes of getting home.
We are supposed to pick him up from Kittery, Maine next Saturday — at noon.
Suffice to say the kids are delighted. Deanna is happy. I will have a new puppy to call ‘Boy’ and play with.
Not sure how he will do on the running front. That could be an issue. My dogs have to run! That is our thing.
You know that you will be hearing more about Braxton and the pictures will flow.
.by Anura Guruge
We started going to Pembroke, despite the distance, in February. We have been very impressed and happy and our respect and gratitude continues to grow.
They had helped Deanna out on the phone a number of times.
Then this last Monday, Deanna had to make ‘the call’ regarding our ‘Ulysses‘. Though Ulysses loved his drives and would always hop into the van (though getting him out was not as easy over the last 3 weeks), even doing so on Sunday, I was not willing to drive him to a vets (and even worse drive him back).
I wanted him to be at home without any stress.
When Deanna explained our needs they obliged. They had one vet, Dr. Peck, who does make house calls.
Dr. Donna Peck arrived — a few minutes ahead of the ‘noon to 2’ timeframe we had been given.
She was beyond wonderful; an obvious dog lover (who has a lot of dogs).
She immediately sat on the floor and Ulysses, always a ladies man, immediately schooched over to her and put his head on her lap.
Though she must have had a busy schedule she did not rush us. She gave us all the time we needed. She just sat on the floor with Ulysses right there.
She checked him out and assured us, multiple times, that the time was right. He had to leave when he still had some dignity left.
She was so gentle and caring. It was very peaceful. There was no drama, no trauma.
I am so glad we did what we did, at home, with Dr. Peck. We feel good that Ulysses, as was invariably the case, got the best that we could provide him.
We have nothing but good to say about Dr. Peck and the Pembroke Animal Hospital.
Glad we switched to them in February.
The house call wasn’t expensive. Very reasonable given the distance and time involved.
IF you are ever in the situation we were in on Monday, and you like around here, you should DEFINITELY call Pembroke at 603-227-1199 and ask whether Dr. Peck could help you. She is the vet that makes house calls. As we now know she will come to Alton.
.by Anura Guruge
March 11, 2011 to September 16, 2013.
He was one heck of a dog. A golden’s golden; the quintessential ‘everybody loves me and I love everybody’, no-care-in-the-world, tail wagging, tongue lolling, friendly as can be ‘show’ golden.
I have had him just as he was turning 8 weeks. The breeder, from whom I had bought two previous goldens, called me up the day he got his last tests, last shots and got a certificate of release from the vet. I drove to Surry, NH, right away to pick him up. I happened to get him in the only (albeit brief) period of my adult life, i.e., since I was 18, when I was encumbered and living by myself. So it was just Ulysses, named after ‘Grant‘, and me in this big house, by the water on Winnipesaukee. As I still do now, I was running six days a week then. Ulysses started running with me the next day though he only managed about 100 yards. I carried him back. But, he ran again that afternoon. Within three months he could do the whole 2.5 mile loop with me, around Varney Point, Gilford, along with the elevation. He loved to run. To be fair he didn’t know any other life. Running with me, in the mornings, was what he did. suffice to say he was one heck of a fit dog, especially as I would also walk him in the evenings and take him swimming. He ran with me, without fail, until I he was 10. Then Deanna started walking him and he became Deanna’s dog.
All that running did him well. He never had any hip problems. Even yesterday, when he came with us to the dump and was slowly walking around, people were admiring him and were hard pressed to believe that he was 12.5 years old. Yesterday we knew.
I had known for about 3 weeks. Deanna did not, understandably, want to let go and he was still happy though in discomfort and rapidly losing strength. His appetite, and he always took after me, was healthy till the very end. He had two slices of cheese and as a treat macaroni and cheese right before the end. He associated me with food and treats. If I was in the kitchen he assumed he would get a treat. So even this morning, though we tried to stop him, when he saw me in the kitchen, he got up, painfully, and ambled over, tail slowly wagging, waiting for a treat. I gave him more cheese than I normally do. The macaroni cheese, left over from Devanee, was a bonus. Over the last three weeks he had trouble dealing with rawhide treats or anything too hard. So I would give him soft treats while Maya had the rawhide and pig’s ears.
We were ‘lucky’. The Pembroke Animal Hospital, our new vet, yet again did us proud and impressed us no end (and I will write about that later). They sent an OUTSTANDING vet, Dr. Donna Peck, for a house call! That was good. We wanted Ulysses to be at home. We did not want to drag him to a vet’s office. She was amazing. We really lucked out. She spent over an hour with us, seated on the floor, with Ulysses. She assured us that we were doing the right thing. This morning he couldn’t stand up to begin with, though he overcame that once the pain medication we were giving him kicked in. But, he was not doing well. He had a lot of growths and his spine was bothering him though he never cried.
He had a good life. He was a happy dog. No cares in the world. He knew that he would be fed (and get treats from me) and that somebody would walk him whenever he wanted to go out. I think he missed his runs. He would watch me going running with Maya. He didn’t try to come though a few times he would trot with me — just like the old days.
He was an elegant, stately trotter. Just like a show horse. No running. He would trot. It was very precise.
We will miss him. Before I met Deanna I used to say that he, indubitably, was the best blonde I had ever had. He was my fourth golden.
Click to ENLARGE.
…by Anura Guruge
1/ Pictures From Keene Pumpkin Festival — Oct. 21, 2012.
2/ Pumpkin Festival In Keene, NH, Saturday, October 20, 2012 From Noon Till 8:30 PM
—— Oct. 16, 2012.
3/ Keene (NH): Pumpkin Festival Saturday, October 20, 2012 From Noon —
—PARKING, $15/car — Oct. 19, 2012.
5/ Keene Pumpkin Festival: HGTV ‘Pumpkin Wars’ & Another World Record Attempt
—– Oct. 19, 2012.
Click on ANY image to ENLARGE it to FULL SIZE.
It was a BLAST. I had a great time. I got to do my Granite State Ambassador (GSA) ‘meet-and-greet’ stuff and that is always fun. This time around, in the evening, I got to hand out lighters and candles to folks so that they could participate in the lightning. Being handed a lighter just lit up the faces of so many.
The food prices were exceptional — in that they were CHEAP. Cheeseburgers and burgers were $3. Hot dogs were $2. Water or soda was $1! French fries was $3. Three shrimps on a stick was $3. Compared to the exploitation at this years Highland Games in Loon, this was a pleasant respite. Well done the food vendors. They were, obviously, working on the ‘cheap gas’ model — make up for the difference in price through volume. Seemed to work. I spent $30 on food, whereas I, on principle, refused to spend a cent on food at Loon (instead eating the food we had taken with us).
I am so proud of Keene. I am in awe of Keene. I have known Keene for 25 years. Keene always seemed ebullient. Yesterday, it outdid itself. Yes, having a ‘youthful’ university, Keene State, in town helps, but it was more than that. Laconia, Gilford and Wolfeboro look and feel like ghost towns compared to Keene! What gives. I am formulating a theory that the towns on the western side of our State (Hanover another example) do better because of the influence from Vt. I wish Laconia, Gilford or Wolfeboro had the gumption to do something world class like this pumpkin festival. Alton has no chance. We can’t even get our semaphore painted!
We were at the festival from 11:20 am till 7:20 pm, bar 1 hour when we went to pay a surprise visit to our favorite dog breeder, Golden Retrievers, of course, in Surry, NH. Though ‘Deb’ didn’t know we were coming she graciously invited us to come and play with her latest batch; 3 weeks old and related to our 11 year old Ulysses.
All the above said, yesterday’s organization was not optimal. To be fair all the necessary logistics were not in place till around 2:30 pm, though the Festival officially opened at noon. At 2pm the main merchandizing tent still was unable to SELL their T-shirts, though they had been on display for an hour, for reasons that were never apparent. Yes, I had folks coming to me and complaining. The tickets for the Ferris Wheel etc. nor the necessary signs went up, much before 2pm. It was a small Ferris wheel. Line was huge. I heard that the wait times were over an hour. Yes, I heard folks bitching. The carving station wasn’t open on time. More folks moaned. So, it wasn’t perfect. It was actually a bit of a mess, BUT people still had a good time.
I never did see the $15 parking. We parked for free twice. Yes, you can park on the streets and walk. When we got back from Surry, at 5:30, we managed to park within 1/2 mile of the Festival WITHOUT any trouble. We walked. Took about 15 minutes.
Though the collection of donations was haphazard, somebody made a LOT of money yesterday. Yes, I can see that there are some expenses. The stands for the pumpkins, publicity, entertainment, the TOWER etc. etc. Hhhmmm.
But, definitely that we enjoyed, though Deanna was beyond mad about having to walk to-and-fro waiting for the carving station to finally open.
The weather. It was TOO HOT! Wow. Folks in shorts.
Lots of amazing costumes.