Who’s a Good Boy?

Tam Lin, aka my Tim-Tam-Tommy-O, was a super good dog yesterday, which also happened to be his 16-month-old day. I told him I was going to blog about how wonderful he was, and he said, more or less, “About time! The last time you blogged about me it was because I ran into your head.”

“Well, you did run into my head, and gave me one helluva shiner,” I retorted, a little guiltily, I must admit.

“Your head was on the ground,” he pointed out.

If you need to win all your arguments, don’t argue with a malamute. Besides, the only remaining trace of our collision last month is a little scar under my left eyebrow, and Tam really was a good dog yesterday.

Tam’s annual checkup was scheduled for yesterday morning. He’s been good on previous vet visits, but COVID-19 has altered my vet’s usual practice: owners can’t come in with their pets. (Her office and surgery are in her home.) Tam has separation anxiety, and as we drove into the little parking area, I was having separation anxiety, like was Tam going to have a meltdown once I was out of sight?

I followed the protocol: don my mask while in the car, leash Tam, take him over to the stair post, hook him to the pink leash tied there, unhook his own leash, and withdraw to at least six feet away. When the vet tech came out, Tam looked over at me, then he went into the building with her. I went back to my car to wait, phone lying on the seat beside me, me hoping that it wouldn’t ring with news that Tam was going nuts.

Tick tick tick

It didn’t. When it rang, it was my vet reporting that Tam had been a good boy but that he’d tested positive for both Lyme and anaplasmosis, another tick-borne disease. This being Martha’s Vineyard, I was not surprised. Treatment is the same for both, so Tam is on doxycycline for the next 30 days. I’m happy to report that the 120 capsules I got from my vet were a lot cheaper than the doxy I got from the pharmacy the last time I needed it for myself. Tam disappears the capsules — two with breakfast, two with supper — along with his food. The peanut butter definitely helps.

Tam’s often waiting at the top of the stairs when I come back from the bathroom.

My writers’ group was scheduled to meet at 2 in the afternoon. In pre-COVID days, we met indoors on Sunday evenings, and Tam often came along. These days we’re meeting outside on Monday afternoons, and since there are hens, ducks, guineas, and occasionally turkeys wandering about, Tam has to stay home. He gets vocal when I’m gone, and when I was working the polls on town election day in June, a summer neighbor called my neighbor-landlady to complain about the howling so I had to go home an hour before my shift ended. Now I do understand that an intermittently howling dog can be annoying, but this particular summer neighbor’s place is the source of almost continual landscaping (etc.) noise when he’s not in residence, and I can’t recall anyone else in the neighborhood setting off fireworks and making whoopee in the middle of the night.

Anyhow, I’ve skipped several events I should have attended in order to avoid antagonizing this neighbor, but I was determined to attend my writers’ group meeting; I’d missed the last two owing to looming deadlines. Usually when I go out I leave Tam in his crate, but this time I decided to let him loose in the apartment. In hot weather he likes to sleep at the foot of the inside stairs, where it’s coolest. I closed the windows and door to block as much sound as possible and left Tam inside with his Kong Wobbler and a peanut butter bone.

I also took my phone with me and asked my neighbor-landlady to call if summer neighbor raised a ruckus. If Tam did whine or howl, it wasn’t enough to bother summer neighbor, and when I got home the apartment was just the way I left it.

All the above is to prove to Tam that I blog about him when he’s good as well as when he collides with my head.

Favorite summer snoozing place

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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4 Responses to Who’s a Good Boy?

  1. erbrandon says:

    One of the things my husband finds annoying about working at home now is the neighborhood noises. “Can’t everyone get together and mow on the same morning?” “Seems like a good idea” I respond, “you go talk to them about that”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. I’ve got a summer neighbor who’s put off by Tam’s wailing when I’m away. (He’s got separation anxiety, not so much because he misses me but because he’d rather not be alone.) Summer neighbor called my immediate neighbor/landlady to complain, which meant I had to leave the polls (for town election at the end of June — I’m a poll worker) an hour before my shift was over. Now, I get that Tam’s wailing could be annoying to a summer guy who wants to recline in his hammock (he seemed more concerned about that than about the possibility that the dog was being mistreated), but I also couldn’t help thinking about the continual landscaper noise that comes from this neighbor’s dwelling when he’s not around, not to mention the various times that he or his guests have had loud pool parties and/or shot off fireworks in the middle of the night.


  2. Karen Ann says:

    He is a beautiful dog! I have wondered how the Vineyard feels sans the zillion tourists this year, and admittedly we are a few of your tourists who have stayed home this summer. I would image there are still some, but perhaps not the hoards?


    • There are plenty of people here, though I don’t think as many as usual, and most of the big summer events have been cancelled. Year-rounders are being pretty conscientious in the mask-wearing department. Summer visitors not so much, but the down-island towns have made mask-wearing mandatory when social distancing isn’t possible. Economic uncertainty is huge. So many people are so dependent on summer income, and I doubt it’ll be anywhere close to pre-COVID expectations. The pandemic has brought the whole country (at least the sentient parts of it!) face to face with faultlines that have been around for decades. I wonder if the Vineyard will take a harder look at our dependence on tourism and the second-home market. I hope so, but I’m not optimistic. :-/


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