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Chet Baker, Fashionista

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Today was a momentous day for Chet Baker. Most of it was spent slumbering under down comforters while I shopped in town. But the rustle of Wal-Mart bags brings Chet at a run, because he knows that somewhere in their depths lies a dog toy or two. I'm an apologetic Wal-Mart shopper. I'd love to have the luxury of saying I hate the place, but it's the only place around here that sells roasted peanuts in big cans and lard in big tubs and cornmeal in big bags and Lord knows I need those for this ravenous crew of cardinals, juncos and bluebirds. I go in there for a few such things and before I get out of there, it's as if someone turned me upside down and shook all the money out of my purse and pockets.
Today, I hit a personal best (or worst) for amount spent in a single go, feeding the big smiley yellow monster. I am consumerist slime. Chet cares not how ethically I shop. He prances around me, eyes dancing, and when I set all the bags on the floor he goes hunting.
When he finds the surprise (and it's uncanny how he knows what's a dog toy and what isn't), he races down the hall to chew it on Liam's choo-choo train bed. Only special things get chewed on the bed.

But Chet had another surprise in the mail--a hand-knitted sweater from Sue Robbins of Harvard, Massachusetts. Sue loves animals as much as anyone I've ever met. She and Worth kept Chet for us when we traveled to Boston last June. Chet's first move on entering their home was to tangle dramatically with one of their cats, rolling over and over on the floor. Over the course of his stay he woke the whole household playing musical beds, and took a skein of nice yarn all the way through the house like a demented spider. Being a young thing, he doubtless anointed a carpet or two. But Sue loves him anyway, enough so that she knitted a sweater bearing his name, discovered by measuring that it would be too small, and knitted him another.

This one is smashing. Unlike store-bought dog sweaters, which tend to be harsh and tight around the arms, this one's very soft and warm, and the armholes are big enough not to restrict his motion. Chet saw it and came forward for me to put it on, and frisked and romped when it was on. He didn't tug at it or tuck his hindquarters under the way he does when a sweater is uncomfortable; he just went about his doggly business and seemed genuinely disappointed when I took it off him at bedtime. Chet knows from nice sweaters.
Thank you so much, Sue, for this wonderful gift from the heart. Know that we all appreciate it!


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