animal, animals, apprentice, apprenticeship, arthur conan doyle, car, car repair, car restoration, cars, dog, dog blog, fiction, FinderDog, German Shepherd, humor, Humphrey, Jaguar, learning, lesson, man, MG, MGB, narrative, pet, photo, photography, photos, quote, quotes, restoration, Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, vehicle, vintage car, welding
‘My mind,’ he said, ‘rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.’
I have not told you, dear reader, about one of my hobbies. I have engaged in a lengthy apprenticeship with Man, who loves working on cars. Since he was a boy, he has worked on old cars, most notably a Jaguar XJ6L and the MGB you see before you.
I have felt very grown up and responsible, now that Man has allowed me to assist him in his technical labors. I oversee all his work, and sometimes provide moral support or distraction, which are important parts of the process.
I have learned a lot about how these metal beasts function, and would pit my knowledge against that of any other canine. I am invigorated by the scent of the oils and the heat of the welding. I love the mental exercise of problem-solving with Man to create the ultimate vehicle, which might even run faster than I can on my own mortal legs.
My only complaint is that the MGB is a little small for a dog of my–majesty. I can’t sit comfortably on the floor or the seat. As a passenger, I prefer the family SUV, though as a connoisseur and mechanic-in-training, I share Man’s passion for vintage cars. Best of all, I love the Man-dog time we spend together, which has deepened our relationship.
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I have had the good fortune to meet a new friend, Murphy. Sadly, Murphy lives many hours away, but his people are Woman’s cousin and her boyfriend, so I am certain that our paths will cross again.
Murphy and I had much in common, in particular our passion for ball chasing and catching, as well as for good, old-fashioned running.
Murphy is quite young, at nearly a year old. I was impressed by the way his paws seemed barely to touch the ground as he ran and pranced gracefully in play.
I quite enjoyed meeting Murphy, who seemed a sensible and skillful dog whose company I look forward to enjoying again. I think I’ll give up tennis, though. The pavement of the court was a bit rough on my pads.
animal, animals, bridge, canine, Charles Dickens, coyote, coyotes, Dickens, dog, dog blog, Edgar, elizabeth gaskell, fiction, FinderDog, fire hydrant, friend, friends, Gaskell, German Shepherd, human, Humphrey, hydrant, man, Mary Barton, Master Humphrey's Clock, meet, mystery, narrative, Nature, neighborhood, park, pet, photo, photography, photos, plan, puppy, quest, quotes, sniff, visit, woman
Friendless I can never be, for all [dog]kind are my kindred, and I am on ill terms with no one member of my great family.
-Charles Dickens, Master Humphrey’s Clock, courtesy of litquotes.com
While I endeavor to develop a suitable plan or to hear from Edgar–or both, I have decided that it cannot be ill to befriend additional local canines. To this end, I’ve convinced Man and Woman to take me further afield, to other neighborhood parks to meet other dogs.
I am a most congenial animal and get along with every dog I should happen to meet, so long as she or he is largely free of character defects, as I am. I do like to play with all the toys at once, so of course, friends of mine must take this into consideration and accept their roles in Nature’s hierarchy. I am as I was made. I do love to have other dogs chase me, and occasionally I meet a worthy opponent who can beat me to a ball when it is thrown or who can manage to relieve me of the ball once it is in my jaws. At other times, I love for my canine companions to chase me and to strive to take the ball, even if they strive in vain.
But I ramble…
I only met a few dogs this morning, and do not have photographs to share, but I will keep a careful record of those I meet here, to aid my recollections when I speak to Edgar. It may be that we can share our mission with worthy dogs who can help us to overcome the coyotes.
In that spirit:
I met a young pup who looked to me to be a beagle. He was very friendly, though a bit intimidated by my size and noble bearing. We sniffed one another quite politely, but were not able to engage in a very meaningful conversation.
Other dogs I hallooed from afar, including a charming Airedale Terrier and another German Shepherd, like myself.
The park was quite lovely. I found many new scents and paused a moment to view the hydrant in the midst of the trees and clover–an object dear to human and canine set strangely in nature’s glorious flora.
Near the end of my stroll with Woman and Man, we stood for a moment on a bridge. I looked out between the railings and mused once more on the strange combination of human industry and bucolic landscape which I could see before me. Just so are humans and dogs combined, are they not? Mostly, they can coexist quite peacefully, yet there is an important balance which must be maintained.
There are some fields near Manchester, well known to the inhabitants as “Green Heys Fields,” through which runs a public footpath to a little village about two miles distant. In spite of these fields being flat, and low, nay, in spite of the want of wood (the great and usual recommendation of level tracts of land), there is a charm about them which strikes even the inhabitant of a mountainous district, who sees and feels the effect of contrast in these commonplace but thoroughly rural fields, with the busy, bustling manufacturing town he left but half-an-hour ago. Here and there an old black and white farmhouse, with its rambling outbuildings, speaks of other times and other occupations than those which now absorb the population of the neighbourhood.
-Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton
Dear Reader, I know that I have not been as diligent in my scribblings (or typing) of late. There has been much to see and do, and our apartment has been busy with the comings and goings of Man and Woman.
Yesterday, Man and Woman took me to the beach. We had not been there for some time, as the weather had been rainy and quite cold, but this weekend brought sun and milder temperatures, and we ventured forth.
Woman and Man helped in my training by hiding rocks and letting me sniff them out and find them. I am certain that this skill will be vital in the times to come. I hone it now so that I may be useful to Edgar and the cause.
animal, conspiracy, dog, dog blog, enemy, fiction, FinderDog, German Shepherd, Hardy, humor, Humphrey, hydrant, mystery, narrative, ocean, pet, photo, photography, photos, quest, quotes, sick, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy, vacuum, walk, woman
[H]e made close acquaintance with phenomena which he had before known but darkly–the seasons in their moods, morning and evening, night and noon, winds in their different tempers, trees, waters and mists, shades and silences, and the voices of inanimate things.
-Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Woman has been home from work this week. We have spent some lovely bonding time together, though my old nemesis, Vacuum, has reappeared, which created a rough patch in an otherwise serene few days.
The vacuum careened through the apartment, creating havoc from my comfortable chaos. I barked, and Woman seemed to feel my reaction meant that I needed to be “conditioned” to the Vacuum once more, and instead of putting it away in the closet, she’s left it out. It watches me, but I watch it. Edgar hasn’t mentioned it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Vacuum was involved in the conspiracy in some way.
Then, Woman became sick. This was not fun at all. Instead of playing all day long doing endless running, jumping, chasing, and fetch, she just lay there and occasionally said, “No, Humphrey” when I stuck my nose in her face to see why she was still lying there and if she felt ready to get up.
This afternoon, Woman was feeling better and the weather was very fine, so we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood.
I felt my usual exhilaration to be out in the world, encountering what fate brings me, whether I chance to meet new dogs, fight coyotes, or protect Woman. In fact, today I did meet a charming black labrador retriever who lives around the corner from me. He and I exchanged pleasantries before he had to go to help his family bring luggage into the house (they had been on holiday).
Woman and I continued perambulating together, perfect companions, enjoying a day with more than a hint of spring in it. I participated in the traditions of countless canines before me, sniffing and peeing on a hydrant, and felt quite in my element.
Our route took us to the ocean and a cornucopia of smells. Woman walked slowly or sat on a bench while I read what their was to read with my sensitive muzzle. I read about lost love, happy puppyhood, gentle old age strolling familiar sidewalks, frustrated dogs longing to sprint away from it all…
When I had had my fill, I joined Woman and we watched the ducks and sea gulls in the water.