A Tail of Two Dogs

Yesterday I was walking my dog, Hamish Macbeth by a small dog park in our neighborhood when a dog who looked exactly like Hamish ran up to the fence and started to bark at Hamish.

When I say he looked like Hamish I mean he looked exactly like Hamish- the same smooth rounded brow, the same build ( Hamish is a bit more on the buff side, he’s pretty athletic ) the same dark brown coat with just a touch of a gold reddish tint that only comes out under bright lights.

If they stood side by side you’d have a hard time telling them apart.

The difference was, Hamish’s twin was mean and I’m pretty sure that meanness came from a lack of confidence and fear.

The dog that looked like Hamish tried to jam his muzzle through the fence. He backed up, ran at the fence again and snapped and growled.

I told Hamish to sit. I told him to ” look ” and his eyes went straight to my face.

Hamish’s twin continued to melt down.

” Give us five minutes.” the man with the dog said- he meant that me and Hamish would have to wait for them to finish using the little park. ” My dog won’t back down.”

There was no mistaking it. The man was bragging. He was proud of his dog’s behavior.

His dog was wearing a pinch collar- no judgment, I used the same one until I learned to help Hamish not pull so hard on his leash- he was about a year at the time and we  used it for less then two months.

The other dog’s collar was too tight.

I’m guessing this dog was wearing it because there was handling issues.

Hamish’s old collar and harness were pretty worn out and had gotten loose. He’s good when we are out walking because he knows what to do. The leash just served as a reminder I was there, I guess.

When I was sure I had his full attention I said. ” Hamish. Walk.” And Hamish walked along and the dog followed us snapping and barking the entire length of the fence.

Hamish had his ‘job’ to do so his twin was off of his radar.

I took one more look to make sure- this dog and Hamish had the same exact face. It was uncanny.

But that’s where the resemblance ended.

Hamish’s eyes glow, they shine when he’s happy. That’s how my boy gets away with getting things like cookies and snacks from our visitors when they think I’m not looking, why strangers want pet him and when he used to jump I had a hard time breaking him of that habit because people were likely to laugh at him then to get angry or scared.

It did tug at my heart.

If that dog on the other side of the fence had been raised differently he wouldn’t have acted the way he did at the fence.

When Hamish and I were on the other side of the street the man took his dog out of the fenced area and his dog lunged, barking and snapping at a dog that walked by them. He barked at a ball that rolled down the hill towards them and he started to bark again when a car door slammed.

I looked down at my great dog- his tail was wagging, he was trotting , he knew he had followed his instructions from me to a ” T” and he was enjoying the moment.

Then I had a thought that shook me.

What if that man had somehow ended up with Hamish and I had ended up with his dog?

Hamish would have been on the other side of that fence- angry and scared and intimidating enough that people wouldn’t have wanted to get close to him.

Nobody would have ever known that this kind-hearted, happy go lucky dog was wrapped  up in all of that aggressive behavior.

The world would have been a little less loving and fun without a happy Hamish in it.

My heart broke a little for that dog who looks like my boy because I’m sure he just doesn’t just look like Hamish.

I knew he could have been like him too.

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

Something Wicked This Way Comes

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

I was out walking my dog, Hamish Macbeth,  when I saw him for the first and only time.

He was a homeless man- his shoes didn’t match and there were leaves in his hair and his jeans were too big- or maybe they used to fit him at one time. They looked very old and worn and they were covered in the same grime that clung to his arms and face.

He stopped and yelled – ” I’m going to shoot that dumb animal of yours. Do you hear me? I’m gonna blow that dumb animal’s head off!”

My dog sat and then he crouched- which is what he does before he launches himself into the air. He’s a big dog but Hamish Macbeth has launched himself a good five feet into the air to get on top of rockeries and playground toys with little to no effort.

I gently tugged at his leash and when Hamish stood he looked at the man and then he looked to the man’s left. ” I’m gonna shoot it right between it’s eyes!”

The fur on Hamish’s shoulders and hackles went up and he wagged his tail slowly from side to side and kept looking right past the man just to his left. By nature Hamish is not an aggressive dog- so everything about what he was doing was so out of character that I was more focused on Hamish then the Yelling Man.

I work near a homeless shelter- I see people like the Yelling Man everyday.  I hate to say it, but I’m probably not as cautious as I should be anymore. I’ve just learned to keep one eye opened and move along.

” Stop looking at me! You hear me? Stop your looking at me or I’ll shoot that dumb animal of yours.”

I wasn’t looking at the man. I  was walking and watching him out of the corner of my eye.

Hamish Macbeth  and I walked away and then Hamish swung his head around and did his dog smile and twirled his tail around in a lazy circle and the man yelled and yelled  to stop laughing at him.

” I don’t give you my say so to see me! You hear me? Do it again and I’ll kill that dumb animal of yours! See if I don’t!”

I figured it was better to not let the Yelling Man see where I lived so I walked passed my home and turned the corner. When I felt the time was right I took a peek and he was gone.

When Hamish and I got home and settled in I went back over what had happened.

What really stuck in my mind’s eye was the way Hamish seemed to focus to the  Yelling Man’s side and I wondered if he had something in his hand- what was it I wondered did Hamish see?

Much later- because that’s when the dark events of the day crowd into my head waiting for a nightmare to occupy I suppose- I realized that the man wasn’t talking to me- he was talking to Hamish.

He was telling Hamish to not look at  him, to stop laughing at him, to not ‘see him’ without his say-so.

I was the dumb animal he was threatening to shoot.

And I wondered and I still do what was at the Yelling Man’s side, because I think that whatever it was.

Hamish saw it.



Photo of Hamish Macbeth by A.M. Moscoso

Daily Prompt: Observe

Beware The Termagant

A few years ago right after I turned 50  a friend of mine said,

” Me and you are like a couple of ugly mutts, we’re not like ( hey, no names here ) she’s like a show dog. Not us though. WE are mutts. The kinds that don’t get forever homes”

At the time my so called friend knew I was being treated for severe depression and that I was actually working my way through it. I was taking care of my health. I thought I was actually starting to look a little attractive.

” You know what else?”

I saw my anti-depressants and therapy waving to me from the curb as I was sped away by the crazy talk on wheels my friend was spewing.

I said no. What I wanted to say was shut the hell up you nutter, but I didn’t.

” Now that you’re fifty you can say goodbye to getting a nice seat at restaurants  unless you’re with a man. You’re in the invisible club now. ”

She did say that I was a ‘ Crone ‘ now and that I should embrace that. I should let my hair go gray  and that I should hang out with other Crones too. Oh and when menopause hit, my life was going to be hell.

By the time she shut her Pie Hole I had pretty much decided to never speak to this person again ( which took a couple of  months ).

Me Just After I Turned 50 Four Years Ago.

So why did I tolerate this bitter, selfish, clueless person in my life for another few months? Oh who knows. It wasn’t a single thing I can point to. But then she truly crossed a line and poof- she was gone.

She insulted my dog.

I had just got a puppy and one day she out of the blue said that my puppy wasn’t like her friend’s Lab who was very ” Zen ” and relaxed. We were with another person who apparently knew this ” Zen” dog and she looked as surprised as hell to her it called  a Zen and relaxed dog.

Later  out of the blue she made it clear that my dog was NEVER allowed in her car.

I was confused because I didn’t realize that there were any plans for my pup to be in her car. In fact, the few times Hamish had seen her it was painfully obvious that Hamish didn’t like her.

When she showed up at the house or we saw her on the street he’d pull at his leash and want to get away. He didn’t want her to pet him and when she said his name and tried to get his attention he’d snap his head to the side and look for a bug to eat.

Hamish has two people on his S*&@ list and she was the first one.

When I got Hamish a lot of things changed for me- I got a grip better grip on my depression. I started to get out and socialize more. My self confidence and over all health improved.

My attitude about life changed for the better.

It took me a few years after that to figure out why she hated my dog so much.

Hamish was vibrant and alive. He made me laugh. He made other people laugh. He was fun and goofy. He ate cat poop if he could find it and if you leaned over to tell him he was a sweet little puppy he’d stick his tongue in your ear.

Hamish was no where near giving up on life, he was a Puppy and the world was his Oyster-or Kong Toy.

Every day was a new adventure for Hamish. He wakes up wagging his tail- he started that when he was 12 weeks old and now at almost four he STILL does that.

His zest for life rubbed off on me.

Hamish was the reason this termagant was going to be one friend short on her road to Dullsville. That’s why she hated him.  She saw what he represented and she couldn’t tolerate it.

Photo of Hamish Macbeth by A.M. Moscoso

So my dog is a Purebred Chocolate Labrador Retriever with an  impressive bloodline and he’s registered with the  AKC.

I was a  cur who was running in bad company and he bumped over to another path. He didn’t pull or push or hound me. He sort of said, “Hey, wow…look at this!”

That’s what friends do when they see you falter. They give you that little nudge to help you get on your way. They don’t break your legs so you end up stranded with them on the side of the road where you spend the rest of your life hating people who get to keep exploring our imperfect yet morbidly amusing world.

The next time you feel yourself starting to stall remember Hamish- when you’re feeling threatened eat a bug, chase away the monsters and whatever you do-never get up in the morning without wagging your tail.

Daily Prompt: Cur




A Most Serious Dog

And for his stellar performance in ” A Most Serious Dog”

 the award goes to…

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.Moscoso

The star of:

” No No “

Photo A.M. Moscoso

” Put The Camera Down and Play “

Photo A.M. Moscoso

and the unforgettable:

” Old Side Eye Is Back”


Photo A.M. Moscoso


Photo A.M. Moscoso