The River Reporter Special Sections Header

Overcast
Overcast
48.2 °F
December 24, 2014
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search

Country dog, lucky dog!

Patrick and Willy
Contributed photo

By John Higgins

When Pip and I moved here last summer, the first thing we both noted is that we don’t need to “walk” our dogs anymore. Nope! Living as we do in the middle of nowhere, it’s as easy as opening the door and letting them roam. Mind you, I keep one eye on them as they walk about the property. NYC had many things but not coyotes or bears (the West Village notwithstanding). It also has subways, and often I would take my dogs to work with me, riding on the subway. Well, that is until I saw that my dog Willy looked so stressed out being on the subway, albeit safely tucked into my oversized attaché. I realized that the sounds, the smells and the crowds of people were overwhelming her. I felt awful. When we left NYC and moved to our country home fulltime, I noticed over the course of the long winter we all endured how much younger my partner Pip looked, and Willy appeared younger and happier, too.

Recently, we added a new sweet dog to our family: Patrick Dennis. He’s two years old, a spaniel like Willy—a Cavalier—whom we rescued from a Pennsylvania puppy mill, where he was relied on to be the “stud” dog. But as it turns out, he really didn’t (ahem) perform, so the clock on his time there was ticking. At the rescue service, they were calling him Raider, but when he came to live with us, we changed his name to that of Auntie Mame’s nephew. It just seemed to make perfect sense.

Patrick Dennis arrived smelling like a carton of cigarettes and something rather sour. Even at 11:30 p.m. when he arrived all the way from Pittsburgh via a dear friend who likes to drive, I immediately took him into the shower with me and soaped him up with a favorite dog shampoo. Why do dogs always look so sweet and pathetic when they’re wet (not unlike Audrey Hepburn at the end of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”)?

When Willy (named after the late great model Wilhelmina, who was my boss at my after-school job in high school) cast eyes on him, we watched her perk up in a way we had not seen in two years since our last sweet hound, Bolo, passed away. (Bolo was a dog I loved so much that he is still my Gmail avatar.)