Whoo! Been away too long. Last week, when it began, looked like this:

The week itself was a busy one, dog-news-wise. Leona Helmsley’s dog got rich . . .

. . . and then not so rich when a judge decreased little Trouble’s inheritance by much more than I will see in my financial lifetime. In between times he received death threats and his caretaker had to spirit him off to some place “in a nice warm climate” to protect him against kidnapping.

The New York Times reported on the rise in the use of made-for-human-type medicines for canine mental health problems.

The Boston Globe ran a story (and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered discussed it) about people who spend controversial amounts of money on health care for severely ill pets, including a goose whose cancer care has–so far–cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 (the goose, whose name is Boswell, has his own blog).

Please note that I’m not taking sides on any of these issues. Discuss among yourselves.

On the home front here, the big news was yet another swing in the dominant-dog pendulum. Dinah was already 5 when her nephew Crispin came to live with us, and immediately he assumed that she was Boss. She’s kind of dour in temperament–she’s low-key, solid, loving, loyal, and she loves a nice romp in the yard once in a while, but in truth she can be a little grumpy. A little Eyore in there, you know? And she’d much rather snooze under the picnic table than run circles around it. In spite of (or because of?) her charming personality, she is my darling.

Onto the scene pops Crispin, who is the happiest creature on the planet, no matter what–one of his nicknames is “Crispin, the happy trotting elf” (yes, we are Coupling fans).  You can’t help but love Crispin. He’s the velcro dog, our little black and tan satellite, always in our orbit whether we’re going for a walk in the woods or just down the hall to the kitchen. If Dinah likes to mosey gently through her day, his favorite modes of getting from one place to another (and back again and there again and back again and there again and back again, before you can blink) are sprinting, springing, speeding, and scurrying. If we all go out together, she’s ambling and he’s and scrambling.

Lately, he’s decided he’s in charge of several things. Like biscuits, even if they’re given to her first. In fact, a few days ago they had one of those snarling, snapping fights that I’d illustrate for you except that I can’t find an image of one of those cartoon scuffles in which arms and legs and fists sticking out of a little spiky, whirling cloud. Only in this case it would be paws and jaws and short skinny tails and big white tusks teeth.

OOF! POW! SNAP! JAB!

In the end, Dinah got her biscuit back, but she bears the scars from a nasty little nip her nephew gave her. Things are largely copacetic now, but they’re still miffed enough at one another that I could not get them to pose together in a recreation of the portrait with which I began this post–you know, an After to match up with the Before. So here they are in all their (separate) summer glory, transformed from wooly beasts to pretty good looking airedales. That would be Crispin on the porch, looking over his territory for something to chase, and Dinah happily rustling around in the foliage, looking for a cool place to nap:

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