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Babysitting Baker

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

photo by Nina of Nature Remains

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.

Nina's beautiful place has Squirtles (two species!) and Chiptymunks, more than any Boston terrier could even dream of seeing. He spent most of the day watching and some of it chasing. It was heaven. Not only that, but Nina is every bit as graceful and beautiful as her writing, and Chet Baker gravitated toward her.

photo by Nina

She took some pictures of His Bakerness while Mether was away. This is Baker's Blue period.

And here he is in gold. 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.
Thank you, Nina, for hosting us, for gathering Kathi and Susan to your lovely home on Sunday night, and for the gorgeous blog you give us each day.


Wow! A favorite blog twofer!!!

Dudes. I just got in from catching a 10' female black caiman. That's about as big as they get. I got pitchers. Need some rum punch now. Guyana ROCKS and you are going to see it all.

You certainly DO take a good picture.
Oh. And you do too, Julie.

: )

Squirtles and Chiptymunks. I love Bacon speak.

A few years ago, we stayed in a pet-friendly hotel in Charlotte that was quite nice. C & B stayed behind for a few hours while we settled on our house - with a warning posted on their bedroom door, of course. Restaurants with C & B? Makes me laugh!!!

Yes, Nina's wonderful :o)


I'm like you--wishing there were days instead of hours to ramble.
It was such a treat to have you with us (and Bacon)!
Maybe if the school visits catch on, you'll be back.
Hope so.

Next time, Julie, days.

Oh my - Chet does look h-a-p-p-y. So nice to have a place such as Nina's to care for Chet B while you charm students with red bats.

Hey, you could be one of those people who demands the bowls of M&M's with all the brown ones removed. I'd say just needing to have Baker there is an easy request, esp. since he is your good luck charm. ;c) How sweet of Ms Nina to host you all and babysit Baker for the day. Bloggers rock!

What a great story and pictures! I hope you schedule an engagement in Minnesota someday so I can dogsit Chet Baker at my house (of course you and family are welcome too). Not many squirtles or chiptymunks in my yard, but we make up for that with bunnehs.

great post! I too love Bacon speak, too funny!!
Well, you could put a little harness on Chet and say he was your seeing-eye dog......then he could come into restaurants with you. Yes??

I've traveled quite frequently with my dogs for many years, and my perspective is a bit different. Rather than hotels slowly catching on that folks like to travel with their pets, it seems to me that fewer and fewer hotels in the states allow pets as the years go by. Most of the time when a hotel I have stayed at with my dogs previously changes their policy and no longer allows pets, the reason they give is that people don't clean up after their pets. We are always meticulous about picking up poop and not leaving dog hair all over the hotel room. Also, we never leave our dogs alone in a hotel room, even crated - they don't generally bark when crated, but even so, if they should bark and disturb other guests while we are out, it's another strike against that hotel continuing to allow pets.

Baker is such a beautiful dog.

I often wondered why dogs are not allowed in restaurants...wherein the same restaurants allow people to plop their toddlers with poopy diapers on tables, counters, etc.


Dogs are way cleaner than toddlers.

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