26 05 2008

I’m out.  Blessedly, joyfully, incredibly, out. 

The rabbit must have not diedBaby English wild rabbit…that’s how they test for rabies, isn’t it?  Rabbit, rabies.  As in Latin, must be some connection.

Anyway, the bars are gone, the treats are before me and I am back at my Contessa’s side.  She picked me up in a long black car.  CIMG1057The back seat was nearly as big as our terrazzo.  We drove past the walls of Rome and out through the EUR.  Many sheep Sheep!and sunflower fields On The Move_Italywere passed.

Then, she tucked me into a leathery carrier Doggie Carrierand we headed for the airport doors.  The airport!

I love airplanes.  Alitalia Express Embraer ERJ-170-100LR EI-DFK Via Salaria (1273)Get on in one place, Rome and his churchesclose the door for awhile, eat pretzels and slurp a little greco de tufo and, when the doors open, the world has been transformed.  Desert meets the SeaHow is it done?  I wonder.

But, no matter, for I am sprung.  Perhaps the paperwork never came through and we are on the lamb; perhaps we are legit and merely celebrating reunion.

I sip the last of my wine and watch the door.  What world will be revealed as it swings open this time?  I lick the salt from the pretzels and close my eyes and dream.Niger Desert Dog


Non-Conjunctive Visitation

23 05 2008

From the Latin: conjunctus: serving to connect; non: to not.

Seven days and counting. 

Did I mention that when my Contessa visits, I am not allowed to fondle the favorite blue angora sweater she wears?  woman's puppy hanging out of blouseNo nose in the cleavage; no lick behind the ear. 

I am forced to sit behind bars and enjoy only the odor of the day she’s had, tracing her path in an olfactory fashion: the macelleria on her fingers, smoke from the corner bar downwind, a pause to test, with a single touch of her fingernail, the freshness of the day’s catch displayed in Campo di Fiori.Campo di Fiori

It’s like smelling porchetta atop the impossibility of a tall table.  My stomach turns as the ineviability of denial sinks in.  devil dogAnd I hate the postman more. 

The wag in my tail fades into a low poise.  don's tailDreams of a warm hug and tasty treat vanish as my Contessa dabs one eye, bids me “Ciao”, and slips through the door to freedom.

Chow, indeed.

The Trouble I’ve Seen

21 05 2008

I’m in for 21 days, or so my attorney says.  3 Little GirlsI overheard him telling some little girls who poked their fingers through the fence: He’s not for taking home yet.

Certainly, as my representative, he wouldn’t allow me to be adopted out.  Mustn’t my Contessa sign for such a thing?  Signing my way to denmarkAnd, why would she?  It was not her idea to send me here.  In fact, she’s the one who hired the suit to protect me.  So far, the suit has turned out to be immaterial.

No reduced sentence; no privilege; no treats.

It’s penance, I expect.  I’ve been reduced to recalling the particular gluey flavor of the postman’s hand when thinking on the usual afternoon biscuit that never comes.  Soon, all I see when I dream of treats is the postman’s finger slipping through the mail slot , hand dressed in finger puppet “dogbones”.give a dog a bone

The image is doing nothing toward repentance, I might add.  What is incarceration good for if not for ruth?repent sinner


The Comforts of Home

19 05 2008

Did I mention that there are few amenities in the pound?  pound puppyOn the surface, this might seem to be obvious, but there are certain things to which we, as dogs, have become accustomed. 

From the time we saw advantage in approaching man as he sat around the miracle of that first fire, dogs have enjoyed various rewards: Treats, shelter, and a kind hand have followed us ever since.

No dog ever followed man into the pound.  Concrete floors without the pleasure of even a narrow blade of grass shooting from a crackDesert Island; a morning devoid of treats; the only walk is around the circumference of the chain-link that hold us.  No wonder human prisoners will take their tin cup and rattle it along the fenceTin Cup.  Any noise is better than the howl of a lonesome dog.Howl

I have a bed at home, cold and tidy.  My Contessa ordered it from the keyboard on her computer. Dogbeds.com she whispered as she types the site.  The image of sitting upon her lap and letting my eyes wander across the myriad possibilities of a god nights sleep is now but a memory.  The rag in my cell is thin and rank.

My attorney is visiting this afternoon.  suits with military dress shoesPerhaps if I invite him to curl upon this hoax of a cushion, just try it once, he might work harder for my release.  As it is, the discomfort only prompts nasty dreams of that fickle postman whose hand I nipped, and that’s no way to make amends.

The Finger FamilyFingers slipping beyond the boundary of the mail slot will forevermore inspire me to retribution.


Whatta Ya in Fer?

15 05 2008

So, here I am behind bars.  No one here is happy. Gilboa Israel Regional Dog Pound Write the Minister of AgOne square a day and no affection.  The Face - Dog PoundThey slide a dish through a slot in the bars and scrap away anything I might extrude.  Uma the pound dog in Tucson


The The cat next door is in for biting a baby.  Rough, that.  What a dunce the feline is for taking it’s frustration out on a freshly hatched human.  Even I, with little direct knowledge of such a creature, can glean that to bite a small child is the highest offense.

The cat’s mouth is swabbed twice a day.  It spits its way through the deed then chomps onto the stick as though it’s mouse flesh, and growls its way from lunacy to a better mood. 

It’s been here longer than I and I wonder if I’ll end up the same way: mad at the world, mean dogor simply mad, period.


The Mail Game

11 05 2008

Did I mention I have no affinity what-so-ever for anyone who delivers anything to the door?The postmanPlease Mr. Postman

You may wonder why this is such a common bond between dogs.  Odd, you say, that dogs, who generally love man, so, too, can turn their affection on a dime and bite the uniformed hand that might just be delivering exotic treats.Unfortunate Delivery Boy Kyoto

As with everything, the reason is in the details.  It’s not what’s delivered so much as it’s the delivery itself: often rough and noisy, very much like someone trying to break through the door.  cat burgler.jpg

How is a small dog, or a large one for that matter, supposed to know the difference?  To bark and snarl the intruder away is much preferable to waiting to see whether the subject breaks through the door, non e vero?No Burglers Squircle

At any rate, I am trying to justify my biting of the postman yesterday.  The jury is out, but I know charges have been filed because the Count opened a letter this morning and read it aloud in the cucina, eyeing me with a sour gaze as I sat at his feet waiting for my morning biscuit.The Weight of Frontier Justice

I am to be quarantined until they judge me disease free.  May I just say, any illness I may carry is no doubt a direct result of the taste of flesh I sampled, and not the cause. 

Though the tongue may be tainted, my paws are clean.Paws cleaned - ready for diner! Pfoten geputzt - Abendbrooooot!



Sometimes I Wonder

8 05 2008

Even dogs enjoy the beautiful natureDid you ever have that feeling of infinity?

There are times I feel I just don’t know which way is up: when I roll, belly up, on a fresh cut lawn or take an evening walk under the stars in the Tuscan countryside. Stars in the tuscan sky It’s akin to those times I find myself in the multi-mirrored dressing room of my Contessa and a thousand terriers suddenly watch my every move. dog in a mirror

Which one is really me?  And does it matter?  What force, the canine heart in the grand scheme of things?  Perhaps ridiculous issues for a small dog, but issues none-the-less.the small dogs are skeptical

My conclusion: anything that boosts the joy of man is worth it’s weight in treats and the return of a gentle hand.

Is This Dog Cute or What?Dogs rule.



5 05 2008

Trivia: the details of a dog’s day. 

Cigarette stubs in the gutter, gum on a shoe, the tail of another dog, strewn with hair obviously not it’s own…Though the word itself means “something that isn’t important”, any dog knows that the devil’s in the details, non e vero?

But does anyone out there know (without looking it up) where or why the word originated?

Latin, trivium: three roads.Appian061106 Intersection on the Way

In Roman times, messages were posted at the intervals of intersections along the Roman roads.  intersectionThose messages, sometimes very important, became “trivia”…not so insignificant after all.

By the middle ages, trivium had evolved into the road to wisdom through three fields of study: grammar, rhetoric, and dialectics…Latin scholar booka highway forged into the future by such nobles as William F. Buckley.

It was not until 1902 that the word became associated with random information.  Thanks to Logan Pearsall Smith and his little book of random thoughts, Trivia, the word we use today was born.

You may ask how a small Roman dog might come to know all this?small dogs

Trivia, of course. 

Keep your nose to the ground and your mind open.small dog with shadow



2 05 2008

Want inspiration?  Think of the meatball. 

 Spaghetti & Meatballs

Object of poems, songs and humor for years, just say the word and thoughts of Italy are invoked.

Ravello - Country - ItalyCampo di Miracoli (field of Miracles), Pisa, Tuscany, ItalyVenice, Italy

 Yet, meatballs were invented by Americans.American bald eagle

Who else would squeeze meat into the shape of an burly sphere and pair it with long strips of delicate pasta.  I am not against the occasional croquette, mind you, just the hapless pairing of foods.

Italy is nothing if not nuance.  Right down to it’s food.  Every pasta has a raison d’etre, so to speak.  And each is lovingly and carefully paired.The Pasta Loves MeEvery one is shaped to receive and compliment the sauce: Thin spaghetti is best for any sauce made up of oilSpaghetti Aglio e Olio with Arugula…the thicker the pasta, the richer the sauce it can take. 

Meat sauces should be reserved for heartier pastas like rigatoni or conchiglie, whose little shell shapes trap the sauce in bite-size morsels of heaven. Conchiglie

Cream sauces do well with farfalleFarfalle with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peas and Cremini Mushrooms and fusilli, Fusilliwhose broader surface areas provide perfect the perfect canvas.

Grazia is in the kitchen now whipping up tonight’s dinner, Fettuccine Grazia…who could go wrong?

For the Contessa and the Count, with a little left for the dog dish…:

1/3 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon, salt (truffle salt if you’re feeling frisky), 1/2 lb Fettuccine (Italian made, of course), 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of nutmeg. 

In a deep pan, simmer 1/4 cup of the cream and butter together for just a minute until thickened a little.  Boil 3 quarts of water with a handful of salt.  DSC03397Cook fettuccine until al dente, drain and add to the pan with the cream mixture.

Heat over low flame and toss to coat the pasta well.  Add the rest of the cream, the cheese, pepper and nutmeg and serve!Fettucine Alfredo w/fresh ground nutmeg

Dog Dish My bowl first.



The Worm Turns

1 05 2008

Spring!  The Pincio park is covered with the miracle of tiny flowers Pushing towards Springpushing their way up through dark soilWhite and Yellow and my muzzle is covered with dirt.

The spring worm is turning once again.  willy the earthwormLight, earthy and with a hint of grit, like an unfiltered Chianti, they slip down my throat with ease.

And the mining required to find them is an added perk, for digging is the true avocation of any dog.  Dog digging holeDog diggingdigger dogThe precision involved is in avoiding the new flowers.  Return to your people with so much as a young petal on your tongue and cries spew forth as though a fine piece of undergarment had been tattered. 

It is a delicate operation removing the worm from the base of a new bud without harm to the spring color,   but well worth the trouble.  For the worn encapsulates all things of doggish dreams: it's a worm dayslim, filth, writhe and odor, heady after-taste,

the feeling of conquering heroConstantine - By This Sign, Conquer

….champion of the garden of Roman gods.Pincio Gardens, Rome, Italy Chow.

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