Yikes! I still haven’t blogged about all the things we did last summer. Time to quit procrastinating. Herewith, this mega, meta-post.
Shake your tail feathers
We took Dempsey to Goldzilla, the annual fundraiser for RAGOM: Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, a rescue group for Golden retrievers. Because we've seen firsthand how much dogs do for people, Doreen and I try to give a little something back to those dogs who aren't lucky enough to be service dogs.
One of the things we really like about RAGOM is that they're a bunch of softies. Though they focus on Golden retrievers, they don't turn away dogs that sort of look like Golden retrievers but aren't, or dogs that clearly aren't Golden retrievers, but have Golden personalities. This was pretty obvious at Goldzilla.
Of course, Goldzilla was also a great training opportunity for Dempsey. Though we think he's perfect, Dempsey sometimes gets overexcited when he's on leash and meeting another dog. At Goldzilla, he got lots and lots of practice shaking his tail feathers -- greeting other dogs politely with a butt sniff and a tail wag, without immediately going into play mode.
It wasn't all training, though. Dempsey had a lot of fun, too! There were tons of vendors giving away sample treats, and a demonstration area for canine agility, where Dempsey got to try his paw at agility. Of course, we think he did exceptionally well for his first try. Watch out, Kenya!
The Love Bud
Dempsey had lots of play dates and sleepovers with his friends this summer. Dempsey's newest friend is Bud the Labrador retriever.
Bud was an absolute blast. We were told he would eat his dinner in about 30 seconds, but that was not true. We timed him once, and he took 11.9 seconds. Everything Bud did, he did with exuberance. Here he is pulling one of his pro-wrestling moves on Angel.
Now that we know Bud a little better, Marley and Me seems a lot more believable. Bud is just pure energy. No, actually he's 50% energy, and 50% joy. And 50% love. Yes, that's more than 100%, but that's the magic of Bud.
You don't know me
Dempsey is, of course, the most beautiful dog in the world, though even as his totally, completely objective parents, we have to admit sometimes he has competition. One of his toughest competitors for "best looking" is Jazz.
Every time we see Jazz in class, we're stunned at what a beautiful dog she is. We had assumed her beauty wasn't a natural talent, but the result of her proud parents specially primping her for class. Then we ran into her one night at the Galleria, looking as stunning as ever.
Because the Galleria is one of the fanciest malls in town, I had taken a lot of time to brush Dempsey before our trip, to make sure he looked good. But somehow, in the thirty minutes it had taken us to get there, Dempsey had found time to drool on himself. Aargh! That little beast!
Needless to say, Jazz did not have any drool. She was perfect. I know her parents take very good care of her, but I might have to admit she might naturally be as beautiful as Dempsey.
Rug, rug, goose
We recently hosted Rugby, one of the Dempesy's classmates in "Big Dogs." He's a very lovable little guy who seemed to have a crush on me, following me around everywhere. Alas, having a crush did not make him particularly obedient when I wanted to snap some pictures of him with Dempsey and Jesse.
Fundamentally, I think, the problem has to do with the laws of physics. It's the classic three-body problem, which makes it impossible to predict whether three dogs will be in the same state at the same time. Hence these photos, which all have an odd dog out.
Highway 61, visited
Dempsey took a trip out on Highway 61 (and Hwy 169, and Hwy 1) to Hibbing, Minnesota, birthplace of Robert Zimmerman. (RZ's better-known alter ego, Bob Dylan, was born in Greenwich Village.)
Hibbing is also the birthplace of another American icon: the Greyhound Bus. Dempsey was very excited to see the signs promising "something for everyone" at the Greyhound Museum.
When we got there, Dempsey was disappointed to see a bunch of old busses: "Riding a bus is work!" he said. He was too embarassed to admit it, but I think Dempsey mistakenly thought the Greyhound Bus Museum would have greyhounds riding busses. At any rate, he complained there was nothing for him.
The story of Greyhound is actually kind of interesting. It was founded by Carl Wickman, an unemployed iron miner who decided to change careers and become a car salesman. Unfortunately, instead of picking a Ford or a Chevy franchise, Wickman decided to sell Hupmobiles.
Faced with mounting debt and unable to sell the one Hupmobile he had in inventory, Wickman decided to use his Hupmobile to ferry miners in Hibbing to saloons. He got his really big break when one of the world's largest iron deposits was discovered -- directly under the town of Hibbing. The entire town was picked up and moved, creating more demand for transportation for the miners. The original town site is now the world's largest open-pit iron mine, which is promoted as tourist attraction, the "Grand Canyon of the Upper Midwest."
I have to admit the view is pretty impressive, though it reminds me not so much of Paradise, as John Prine's "Paradise." I suppose with some imagination, you can pretend the huge mounds of tailings in the Iron Range are really cinder cones in New Mexico, but for me I think about the penultimate verse of "Youngstown," the last great song Bruce Springsteen has written, where Bruce gives a shoutout to the Iron Range.
I wonder why there are so many songs about coal miners, and not many about iron miners? I would ponder this more, but someone is reminding me with his Kong squeaker that there are more important things to do right now.