Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The second comment....

When I'm walking Bailey through the neighborhood or down at the shaded paths along the Swift River, we happen by puppy admirers. Their first comments are often "Oh, how cute," "His fur is so soft," "What a sweet little pup...." Their second comment is always either, "He's going to be huge" or "Look how big his feet are... he's going to be huge!"

Bernese Mountain Dogs do grow to be large. Bailey's sweet mom Maggie is 75 lbs and his dad is big, though I don't have a weight, I'm guessing from pictures that he's about 110 lbs. Because of their size and health issues, Berners, as they're called, live to be about 8 years old. Some grow older, others not so old. No matter how old, Berners live life richly. They have great personalities, lavish in their meals, and wag their tales with full hip and lower back action when they see a friend ... and these days, everyone's a friend.

Bailey is a happy pup, unless he lets loose on a rug by mistake and I catch him. He knows what's coming next as he galumphs into a corner and, with head bowing, folds himself into the floor. The Procedure that he knows all too well: First, a deodorant to destroy the smell; next, the rug cleaner; and finally, the worst of all, Bitter Apple is sprayed on the wet mark and then on a small piece of paper towel. That doused towel is then fed to Bailey. It's a bad taste--I tried it--and Bailey spits it out immediately. The stuff is supposed to remind him of his mistake. When he sees that little piece of paper towel coming toward his mouth, he doesn't have to be reminded. He curls his lips tight and clamps his jaws set like a two year old who has just learned the word "no." But, being the Alpha here, I always win and Bailey almost always gets a treat for spitting out the towel and to help cleanse that disgusting taste out of his mouth.

I know Bailey's going to be a big boy. He'll take up the back of my car when he reaches maturity and (sorry) his poops will be the size of my first car, a 1973 VW Bug. As I witnessed tonight, he's going to love to get down and dirty in various messes, and that's going to be a pain in my rugs and my precious Brazilian Red Cherry kitchen floor. But, that's OK. I waited 23 years to get a floor like this one, but more for this happy pup. Bailey's a gentle being who loves to give kisses, will roll over with a smile for a tummy rub, and celebrates every meal with grace... always sitting before I put down the bowl of food.

He's going to be a big boy and that's fine by me.

Let me out! Bailey discovers his voice.

Bailey's having none of this gated action. In fact, in the midst of his misery, he discovered his barking voice and enjoyed howling at the injustice. Oh, and thanks to my neighbors, Kate & Gayle, for the loan of the sliding gate. I won't tell the Bailster where the gate came from....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

First Swim with the Michaud kids & Uncle Ian

Bailey met his match with the galvanic Michaud kids, the quite capable dog whisperer of Burt's Point, Rylee Michaud, and the effer- vescent, dog-loving Uncle Ian.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thanks, Brooke! Love Bailey

Our neighbor, the ever-stylish and kind-hearted Brooke Carver, gave Bailey a wonderful collection of chewy toys. Brooke's folks, Debbie & Chris, are both high school teachers and her brother Garrett works at Uncle Dr. Fred's hospital and plays soccer for the high school. The last picture is Bailey protecting his chewy toys!

Minga Chows Down

Bailey and I dropped off Treats to Bark About plus a bone from Uncle Fred's to Bailey's cousins, Bapu and Minga.

Minga headed straight to the bone and had herself a licking field day! Pix by Mom Kate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rich: "My Bad..."

"Oops, nabbed!"

My favorite sister of ever and ever sent Bailey several packages of gourmet doggie treats from Kristen of "Treats to Bark About" (

Naturally, I'm a full-blown idiot and left one box of beautifully packaged treats in a canvas bag on top of Bailey's crate. Now, there were only two treats left, but really, just how mindless can one guy be?

"I didn't do nothin!"

Learning Restraint

Bailey has adjusted well to his crate/den, but the outside tie... Ah well, we're learning.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reading to Bailey

Part of my writing process is to read draft sections aloud to get a sense of the flow. Here, Bailey listens attentively....

*Naturally, I'm not telling the truth. Bailey sleeps through my daily writing and editing; I called his name and he looked up. Ah well, he's a smart dog even so.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bailey Visits Uncle Dr. Fred and Aunt Dr. Nancy at the Countryside Animal Hospital

Like the first day of school for kids, Bailey enjoyed his first day at the Country- side Animal Hospital visiting with several other dogs, including cousin Zellie, and the caring staff at the hospital.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kyara Bartash

The Bartash Family calls this photo, "Kyara as ET."
Phone home, Kyara! Phone home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Third Walk... a gift from The Bartash Family

Our neighbors the Bartash Family have had up to five dogs at one time, They've rescued abused animals and have helped all sorts of different beings. I brought Bailey up the BIG hill to the Bartash's home, just above ours, and Barbara rejoiced, "There is hope! Rich has a dog! Rich has a dog!" She and John also presented Bailey with a collar cask from Switzerland, where Bailey's roots are. Thanks, Barbara & John... Woof-woof.

(Oh, you may recall the story of Bradford the stuffed Bernese MD toy... that was The Bartash Family.)

Second Walk

Yesterday, Bailey's cousins Bapu and Minga taught him how to walk around the neighbor- hood on a leash. It took a bit of modeling on his cousin's part to help the Bailster figure it all out--and Bapu paid the price of having his butt nipped by the little guy. Today, Bailey went solo, up hill and down, for about a mile. He met Ivan the dog up the street and two big barking dogs that sent shivers up his spine. He met an electrician on a ladder and cocked his head from side to side, barking softly, probably, "Do you really want to be way up there? Don't fall! Can I come up?" All in all it was a masterful first solo walk. Smart dog, intelligent dog... who is now crashed on the kitchen floor: smart Rich, intelligent Rich. Time to write.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dog walks neighbors.... "I ain't moving."

My neighbor friends Gayle and Miles took The Bailster down to visit Minga and Bapu. But after half the driveway, Bailey took over the walk. How many friends does it take to walk a dog? Or, how many friends can a dog walk?

Bailey's buddy Miles

Miles lives right next door, and he's a great help with young Master Bailey Tuckermans Kent.

"I'm loving the attention!"

Bailey enjoyed sixteen visitors on the first day at his new home. Rumors are his Grandmother Estelle is visiting this afternoon. Bailey is working hard at look all grown-up to show Gram that he can handle all of these new people, puppies, and experiences. (Rich will try too!)

Bradford the Christmas Dog Leaves the Piano for a Visit

Twenty years ago I was bound and determined to get a dog. My friends had dogs; I had a dog from the day I was born until the day good old Tippy Uzzie Kent ("Uzzie a good dog?") died, too soon for my brother Rob and me, at the age of 13; now, at 36 years old, with a vast experience with dogs, I knew I was a dog person.

So, I visited my brother Fred and told him my plan, then asked, "So what kind of dog should I get?" Fred answered, deadpan, "Stuffed."

When my neighbor Barbara Bartash heard of Fred's suggestion, she came down the next day with Bradford. You see, at the time Barbara and her husband John owned five dogs. They were dog people.

This morning, I introduced Bailey to Bradford. Bailey was tentative at first, but then, with Bradford's warmth, charm, and welcoming demeanor, Bailey warmed up to him.

The Aunties visit

Our neighbors Kate and Gayle came to visit. Bailey doesn't exactly understand what Gayle is saying about the neighbors... Who's Norman again?

Coming to Know Lucky Bennett

Lucky's had the house to herself for three weeks, and now this spunky little cute guy pops into the house, and... well... Lucky's not pleased.

In time, however, Bailey and Lucky become intimate friends... soul mates? Mentor and student?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Night

Puppy hangover.

Finally, Bailey climbed into the crate and slept. I slept next to him on a sleeping bag and sometimes I had to put my hand in through the wires to reassure him. I took him out once during the night. We all got up at 5 am (our house guest Lucky, a 7 year old pup, wasn't too pleased) and Bailey, my intelligent-handsome dog, peed and pooped when we got into the condo's backyard. After breakfast, Bailey played with me for 45 minutes and Lucky retreated to the living room for more sleep.

Now, Bailey is having a running or playing dream while he curls up lovingly...with the gas stove...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gotcha Day! July 10, 2010 (Eight weeks)

After playing, eating, peeing, and you- know- whating, Bailey took a snooze and so did cousin Lucky. For Rich, time to snab a bagel and answer email with thoughts of this evening bounding around. You see, Bailey wasn't all that fond of his crate. He hollered when he was placed in it, and finally---like the book says---rich took him out to the Condo's deck and yard area for nature's call. Rich tried a bit of food in the crate, and Bailey dove right in and sprinted right out after eating up the snacks.

Gotcha Day! July 10, 2010 (Eight weeks)

Friend and neighbor Gayle Sirois (L) came to Estelle and Ralph's home to pick up Bailey. Now, this Gotcha Day expression came from Rich's friend Connie Venskus when she received her son Ian from India. He has one birthday and one Gotcha Day.... Same with Bailey Tuckerman Kent.

Rich has been sitting seven year old Lucky Bennett, family member of the Kathy and Jim Bennett's. The meeting was spectacular with lots of butt sniffing and posturing. Lucky let the Little Guy know who was boss, and after that... fast friends.

June 27, 2010

Bailey and his sisters enjoyed each others company while Mom Maggie kept watch.

(By the way, in the second picture... that's Bailey's butt.)