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No, not the kind Crispin left in the yard (at 4:20 a.m. and again at 5:30 a.m.–yawn) after he stole and hastily consumed some yummy leftovers we brought home from a holiday dinner with dear friends last night.

No, this is the advice kind. Something important they think you need to keep in mind if you are the type who hangs out with dogs.

Especially airedales.

Enjoy. And do, in the coming year, remember to follow the motto that serves as our blog’s header.

With love and holiday greetings from Dinah, Crispin, and their people.

Mind Control.

Happy holidays from Dinah and Crispin

Happy holidays from Dinah and Crispin

In the November 1997 issue of Food & Wine is a charming holiday reminiscence by Julia Child. She tells of growing up in a comfortably well-off home in which her mother (with the help of the “upstairs maid”) pulled out all the stops when it came to setting the Thanksgiving dinner table.

At a last-minute pre-dinner inspection of the silver and damask and elegant place settings, Child’s mother noticed that the 18 individual silver butter plates were all empty of the perfect curls of butter she expected to see.  Erna, the maid, was also mystified.

“But I rolled them myself, using the chilled wooden paddle, the way you showed me,” the maid said. “I put them on the plates just a few minutes ago.”

Child goes on to say:

“Suddenly, Mother roared, ‘Where’s Eric?’ our dearly beloved old airedale. . . . Eric lumbered in and sat beside her with an attentive, ‘Who, me?’ expression.”

Case closed.

Crispin prefers to take his purloined butter by the stick. I think if he ever entered a room filled with soft lights and snowy linen, and found 18 plates of butter–unguarded butter!–he might simply faint dead away on the spot.

After he’d carefully cleaned all those plates, of course.

We had our first snow of the season here yesterday, and the dogs had a high old time romping and playing in the great fluffy depth–all of, perhaps, three-quarters of an inch of the white stuff.

I think they’d be very envious of this dog:

Many thanks to my friend Marie for sending this my way.

Back in the day, before I was a dog person (in other words, before the Pack Leader confessed that all that was lacking in his life was a dog and we ended up with Dinah), there were two dogs I loved: Shep, a border collie who lives with my friend Leslie, and my friend Sandi’s golden, Jordie.  Whenever we saw either of them, I would pet them and love them and talk with them.

And the Pack Leader would say, “See, you are a dog person.”

And I would say, “No, I’m just a Jordie and Shep person. I don’t like dogs.”

Both of these dogs, as dogs and all things do, have gotten on in years. This week Jordie’s people did the difficult and compassionate thing and gently released him from a long wonderful life that has recently been full of pain and confusion. You can read about his life and his last days at Sandi’s blog–warning, bring tissues because you will cry, but you’ll laugh, too–rarely has a dog been so loved.

I hope Sandi will forgive me if I tell my favorite Jordie story (and I hope I don’t mangle it). One day she and her daughter were sitting in the floor playing cards, one of those games that involves putting cards down on the floor between the two players. Jordie sat and watched them for a long time, then got up and trotted off deliberately to another part of the house. Before long he returned, holding a business card in his teeth, and gently laid it on the growing pile of discards.

Sandi says the business card had been in a wastebasket in another room. Which, as I see it, means that Jordie knew about it, remembered it, grasped that it was needed, retrieved it (as retrievers are wont to do) and dealt himself in. This complicated little bit of behavior blew me away. A dog could do such a thing? I was astonished. And just a little bit won over.

Goodbye, Jordie–lover of carrots, player of cards, prince of longevity, friend (and so much more to his family who is missing him).

Shep, you hang in there, okay, buddy?

My daughter came running to tell me on Sunday, “Mom, Mom! There’s an airedale on tv!” and though I missed it then, I finally saw it yesterday. It’s an ad for our state’s lottery, featuring a man and a woman sitting in a car. She has obviously been doing her holiday shopping, and starts pulling from her shopping bag the presents she’s bought “for everyone!”–all, of course, are lottery tickets–“One for mom, and one for your sister and one for . . .” and so on until she holds up the last one teasingly, saying, “And one for . . . ”

At which point a large and lovely airedale pokes its head up over the back of the front seat and steals the card. Very funny. Very airedale. Very scary–the notion of an airedale with disposable income.

Id buy mom a new tinfoil hat!

I'd buy mom a new tinfoil hat!

A whole case of Kongs, so Mom can always find one when we need it!

A whole case of Kongs, so Mom can always find one when we need it!

What would your dogs buy if they won the lottery?

He is so shaggy. People are amazed when he gets up and they suddenly realize they have been talking to the wrong end. --Elizabeth Jones
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Nancy Hall ©2009
December 2008