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Chautauqua Dogs

Monday, August 14, 2006

If there is any place that's fun for dogs and their people, it's Chautauqua. Dogs of every size and stripe pad along beside proud owners. All are well cared for; most are purebred. If you want to see and chat with the owner of a Portuguese water dog or a soft-coated wheaten terrier, a Rhodesian ridgeback or a basenji, that's the place to go. Of course, there are more Labs and golden retrievers than you can throw a stick for, but the wanky breeds are well-represented.
There is a huge outdoor amphitheatre where the major speakers, dance troupes and musical acts perform. There's something going on every morning, afternoon and night there. If you're walking your dog, you can hang out in the dog zone, outside the amphitheatre, but well within earshot and even with a compromised view. This works great for lectures, less well for things you need to see like ballet. But still, it's nice to be able to attend with your pooch, and it's fun to watch them interact.
Baker! Slow down! Ridgebacks were bred to hunt and kill LIONS. Approach with caution!
Baker spots a standard poodle, and stares fixedly at it. I have a death grip on the leash, ready to hoist him out of harm's way should things go bad...and they did.
We've figured out that standard poodles don't like Baker. There's something about him that pisses them off from hello. Maybe it's the Boston's direct, googly-eyed gaze that breaks some kind of snotty French social taboo. We met five, and four of them immediately lunged at him, snapping and snarling. This photo was taken just before the lovely chocolate poodle lunged at Baker, unprovoked. What's with that? It looked suspiciously like racial profiling to me. I'm sure they're wonderful dogs, but gee whiz. All Baker wanted to do was say hello.
The mini poodles were another matter. They were all nice as pie to Baker. Which confused him, naturally.He likes me? Wha??

For a doting Boston owner, it's great fun to take questions from passersby who wonder what kind of nice little dog that is. Here I am, holding forth on the utter perfection of my chosen breed. Liam, in a desperate bid for attention from Bill, who took this photo (which I adore). Of course I'm telling them that Bostons are clean, kind, freakishly intelligent, fun-loving, hilariously funny, maintenance-free, and sensitive. I omit some things, like the farting, the tendency to shred their toys to smithereens, and the apres-nap dead catfish breath. No need to give too much information.


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