Karen’s Blog

Thoughts on a changing profession and life

Archive for June 2011

Maine Media Workshop

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Editing work with students during the 2010 Maine workshop.

From July 31 to August 6 I’ll be teaching a class at the Maine Media Workshop on Developing the Narrative Project. This will be the seventh year my husband and I will teach at the Workshops. I’m always excited by the talent, energy and enthusiasm of my students and the excellence of the Workshop staff.  You can learn more about my class here. Rockport is wonderful at this time of year. Hope to see you in Maine!

Written by kasmauski

June 23, 2011 at 2:00 am

Its A Puppy!

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Leo, ready for a new day, fresh adventures, and more things to chew.

It’s been while since I posted my last blog. I wish I could say I was away on a challenging assignment.  Instead I’ve been doing some almost as taxing—trying to raise a new puppy.

As my children began college, I wondered if my loyal dog Kobe might need a friend. The house was getting quiet. No one threw him balls or ran around the yard with him. Kobe is a good dog. He doesn’t dig holes in the yard, is even-tempered and very loyal. He is also cool, aloof and perfectly content to sit by himself for hours, looking elegant in his thick black fur coat.  Only when Leo arrived did I realize that Kobe is actually a cat, disguised as a dog.

I decided to get another dog like Kobe. He is a Norwegian Buhund.  They’re small herding dogs, from the Spitz family, with fox-like faces and curly tails—very cute.  There are a few breeders in the United States. I contacted one and found that a wheat-colored male was going to be available. The breeder sent us photos of the little guy, including one where he was hugging a toy mouse as he slept.

Leo as an infant, clutching his mouse toy. When I saw this picture I knew we were getting another dog.

That did it—my husband and I were hooked. In April we picked up him up.  The wheat-colored fur made him look a bit like a lion, so we decided to call him Leo—he looked so small and felt fragile.

Looks can be deceiving.

Two-month-old Leo immediately swarmed all over nine-year-old Kobe, treating him like a fellow puppy.  Seeing Leo get into the car, Kobe threw me a mournful look of betrayal. “Aren’t I a good dog?” he seemed to say. “Why are you doing this to me?”

In hindsight I realized that Kobe did not need or want another dog.  He watched warily as Leo expanded, a bit like a monster child. After just two months, Leo is no longer small or fragile. In fact, he is now Kobe’s size and still growing.  Rapidly.

Kobe contemplates the arrival of Leo, probably thinking something like, “Should I push him down the sewer or into the traffic?”

They couldn’t be more different. If both were human, elegant Kobe would probably sip fine cognac and watch Masterpiece Theater. Leo, on the other hand, is Joe Sixpack, a party dog who would grab a brewski and head to a stock car race.

They fight like two teenage boys brimming with testosterone.  Leo jumps all over Kobe, chomping on his collar like a shark snagging a baby seal.  When guests visit, they merge into a single ball of fur, rolling from room to room, yapping, whining and growling so loudly that all else stops.  Of course, as soon as guests leave, the fighting stops.  It’s all about attention.

Leo loves to dig holes and chew. I spend my time trying to keep this energetic puppy from enthusiastically destroying my home. We’ve already lost three shoes, countless chew toys, several rugs (I have removed all rugs from the first floor), three pillows, two baseboards and one wooden window sill. Leaving Leo without human supervision is inviting more destruction.  It’s like having a toddler running amok in the house. Without a diaper.

But when caught, Leo looks at me with wide brown eyes.  He starts whimpering and burying his head in my lap or under my knee. Then he climbs up on my lap and lays his head on my shoulder. How did he learn that trick? It works all the time. Yelling at him does nothing but make me feel guilty for yelling at him.  Did I mention how cute he is?

So, over the last two months my work has ground almost to a halt. But actually, I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t trade Leo in for anything.  Even Kobe is starting to tolerate him.

Sort of.

Leo and Kobe in a rare moment of peace

Written by kasmauski

June 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

Posted in Photography and Life

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