I often wish I could take Chet Baker everywhere I go. I have known people who take their dogs everywhere, and I am not one of them. For one thing, I like to eat in restaurants. Americans have a pathological fear of dogs where food is concerned, and one could no more bring a dog into a restaurant than walk in wearing only underwear. What's the big deal? Are dogs dirty? Liable to jump atop the tables and steal the steak? Dangerous? I dunno. Go figure. At home, Baker sits at the table with us, but out in the eating public, he's strictly verboten. So when we travel with Baker during the summer, and it's far too hot to leave him in the car, one of us (guess who) usually sits outside holding Chet on his lead while the others order and eat inside. Ridiculous, but that's how it goes. He oughta be sitting there in that vinyl booth with Mether, sharing the veal parmigiana.
American hotels are slowly getting up to speed on the fact that people love to travel with their pets. Still, in this part of the country, "pet friendly" hotels are not the lavish doggie paradises you always see described in the newspaper, the ones with special beds for the dogs and butlers bearing gourmet dog biscuits. Nope, the pet friendly hotels around here tend to be a little tatty around the edges, and they still charge you extra, and they won't let you leave your dog in the room while you're gone. So you're still reduced to sitting outside the restaurant with a leash in your hand when you have to leave the room. So they're more like "marginally pet-tolerant" hotels.
However. When I get a chance to travel with Chet Baker, I will do almost anything to make it possible. If I have to give up the lavish B&B for the tatty hotel, that's fine with me. He's worth it.
Nina of Nature Remains had written months before my Clermont County visit to offer me lodging in her luxurious and lovely little guest house, and I boldly inquired about bringing The Bacon along. She said that would be fine, and I didn't have to beg. I suspected that Nina would love The Bacon, and that proved true.
On my first night, Clermont Northeastern's science teacher and conservation sparkplug Melody Newman hosted a get-together for 2o or so like-minded teachers, conservationists and friends, a kind of potluck welcome dinner. Since it was in a private facility, Chet Baker was allowed to attend. He spent most of the dinner cadging bits of lasagna from Susan Gets Native, who captured this wonderful shot of me with my Mental Therapy Dog. See how hard he's working to keep me centered? Little dog, BIG job.fabboo photo by Susan K. Williams
I have this long-range plan, when accepting speaking engagements, to become increasingly obtuse and difficult, and to then reveal that, in order to fulfill my obligations, I MUST be accompanied by my Mental Therapy Dog. If Chet Baker is with me, everything will go well. If not, well, then, it's anybody's guess what might happen. Might come to the gig in my Nick and Nora Sugar Skulls PJ's; might speak extemporaneously and off-topic, might have to be carried off stage while reciting Hoosier poetry in dialect. Just let me have my dog with me and everything will go fine. Think it'll work?
Having revealed my Excellent Plan, I will say that prudence prevented me from bringing Chet Baker to CNE Middle School. I knew very well that, should he accompany me into the gymnasium, anything I said would fall on 600 deaf ears. Those kids would be watching the dog, nothing more, and if he so much as twitched his nose, there'd be little whispers: "Look! He twitched his nose!" I would be background noise to the Real Star.
So Nina offered to babysit Chet Baker on her day off, an arrangement Chet thought was grand.
photo by Nina
Nina thought he was missing Mether in this shot, but I think that if you popped open a little door in that skull there would be a picture of a squirrel inside.
Nina and Anton took spectacular care of us, even to the point of sending their beloved (large and exuberant) doggeh to a favorite friend's house while we were there. We rambled around the property, basking in the late autumn sun, wishing we had days together instead of hours.