A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cockador Photo

cockadorIt has come to my attention that a fair number of people come to my blog having done a search for "cockador." So I am posting a picture of Taz on the assumption it might be of some interest to those bloggers from all around the world.

Taz was purchased from the Puppy Pen in Palmer, Massachusetts by a family from Ludlow for $200 plus tax. According to the receipt for this purchase, she is a labrador/cocker spaniel mix born on November 5, 2003. My guess is that she was bought in time for Christmas by the B. family, who had two very small children.

Mrs. B. told me she had wanted a dog who would grow up with her children. Unfortunately for both the family and the puppy, Mrs. B. vastly underestimated the amount of time and effort it takes to housebreak and train a dog. Both she and Mr. B. work, and they have an extremely clean and neat newish ranch house. The kind with doorways but few doors, and beige wall-to-wall carpeting in the family room. No way to isolate a puppy in a vinyl-floored kitchen.

So the puppy ended up crated from 8 p.m. (childrens' bedtime) until 6 a.m. (childrens' wake-up time) in the walk-out basement, then immediately taken outside and chained on a run in the spacious, treeless, boring backyard. Despite this schedule and the fact that the crate was right next to the slider, the puppy managed to piddle on the carpets with fair frequency--running outside in the morning, for example, then running distractedly right back inside, piddling on the carpet, and then running out again. Mr. B. seemed to dote on his children but care nothing for the dog, and Mrs. B. was at her wit's end.

Mrs. B. put an offer in the MassMutual News for a free dog just at the time that we were looking for same. After a week or so, the B. family had gotten only one bite on the ad. We went out to see "Sadie" and found her chained in the backyard. Clean, with plenty of food, fresh water, and shade available, but lonely and bored. She was so uncontrollably excited to have visitors, it was pathetic. Love at first sight for Amir, dog, and me. Lady #1 never called back; we powwowed at our house a couple of days, and then the switch was made.

We decided that "Sadie"didn't fit...too generic. We renamed her Taz, as in "Tasmanian Devil." With frequent walks, she was soon housebroken. For a few weeks, Taz and I were locked in a power struggle, but she lost her bid to be alpha dog and settled happily enough for being allowed to sleep under the covers with her head on the pillow.

Taz is the kind of dog that needs to find out for herself that there's no more ice cream left in the carton. For other pictures of her which actually show her head, click on the keyword "cockador" below.


Spider Redux

The Famous History of The Life of King Henry the Eighth, by William Shakespeare
Act I, Scene I

NORFOLK (speaking of Thomas, Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York):

Surely, sir,
There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For, being not propp'd by ancestry, whose grace
Chalks successors their way, nor call'd upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither allied
For eminent assistants; but, spider-like,
Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
A place next to the king.