Cozy Tales: 18. The Park

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Taking a dog to the park is, to me, part of the great American lifestyle. Taking a big dog to the park, though, is more complicated than just hopping in the car for a ride. There’s the drool on the windows to deal with, not to mention the drool down the back of your neck, on the rearview mirror, and in the cup holders. There’s also the space they consume in any vehicle to contend with. Some people are fine with their dogs on the seats, but we preferred to keep them in the back of the Outback since Cozy wasn’t all that different than any other wild bear with a drooling problem and a textbook case of attention deficit disorder.

With one big dog, the operation was usually pretty straightforward. One dog was happy to be there with their person, and they generally stayed with them. This isn’t always the case, of course. For example, there are dogs that love to run, or puppies with excessive energy that need careful attention. Many dogs, upon the first whiff of fresh park air, just like to sprint from the car as soon as the hatch is opened. Cozy was just such a dog. (more…)

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Cozy Tales: 17. Cherrybrook

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Out in northwestern New Jersey there is a wonderful pet store called Cherrybrook that lets you bring your pets into the store. This was a big deal in the late 90’s, as not many places had started to allow such things yet, so we decided to bring Cozy and Daisy to Cherrybrook, in part to show them off, and in part to help socialize them.

At this point in Cozy’s life she was probably 140-160 pounds, but still very much full of youthful energy. She was a puppy in a huge dog’s body that couldn’t understand why she could no longer fit under the dining room table. Being the intelligent people that we were, neither of us could imagine how anything could possibly go wrong during a simple trip to the store.  (more…)

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Cozy Tales: 16. Ginny

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Dogs, we discovered, are a lot like children; if you have no idea what you’re doing, they become brats. With Cozy being so alpha coupled with the fact that she was incapable of being nice around unknown dogs (earning her the new nickname Cozy-Brat), not to mention the whole Daisy dragging Lauren incident, we decided that it was time to bring in professional help.

We found a local dog-training company and arranged to have someone come to the house to help us. Ginny was tall, thin, attractive, female, and had long curly red hair. I have a thing for women with red hair – especially long curly red hair. I found myself suddenly hoping that Cozy would require lots of extra work. Lauren was not amused.

The part of Ginny the Dog Trainer will be played by Deborah Ann Woll in this tale. You may remember her as the vampire Jessica Hamby from the HBO series True Blood, a show which occurred 15 years after the tale being told, and thus has nothing to do with the story. I must also point out that any similarities in this tale to redheads, vampires, actresses, succubi, dog trainers, or other creatures real, fictional, or imaginary is purely coincidental. And by purely I mean mostly. And by coincidental I mean have you seen Deborah Ann Woll? Damn…
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Cozy Tales: 15. Crazy Daisy

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One day while walking the dogs at the park, we had stopped at the playground so people could fawn over our big black lovable dogs. Since there was a water fountain in the playground, we would often stop there for a drink and some Newfy socialization.

During one such visit, we were standing in the playground when someone walked by with two small dogs. They yapped at Cozy and Daisy the way that small dogs do, and I restrained Cozy the way I always (barely) did. Lauren knelt down next to Daisy and while petting her, told her to relax. That’s when the excitement began. (more…)

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Cozy Tales: 14: Door-to-Door

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Living in rural New Jersey was wonderful, but there were some drawbacks that may not be obvious to those who live in more urban areas. For example, we lived in our house for 12 years before there was a pizza shop that would deliver. We couldn’t walk anywhere since the nearest store was four miles away and there were no sidewalks. Children didn’t walk to school, and many had to sit on the bus for 40 minutes or more every morning and afternoon. The benefits, though, were many; clean air, plenty of trees, and perhaps most important to me, we couldn’t see any of our neighbor’s houses except in the winter when all the leaves had fallen from the trees. This seclusion also seemed to preclude most anyone from visiting unannounced. Usually.  (more…)

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