a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Famous Last Words

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Famous Last Words

SUMMARY: Stop me if you've heard this one before:

"I don't need to charge my camera's battery before heading out for a day in Montréal; I'm pretty sure I charged it recently."

Welllll OK, I got in a nice 6.5-mile (10.5 km) walk and took 170 photos--but the battery gave up when I was about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the hotel with Important Landmarks still unviewed. Oh, well, I'd gone walkabout for about 5 hours by then, so I took it as a hint to rehotelify* myself and get to work sorting and labeling the day's photos.

*I'm a professional writer. Don't try words like this unsupervised at home.

Made it to the top of Mont Royal--trivial compared to the usual Wednesday Night hikes, but oh! what a view! And what a perfect day.

Montréal est une ville des chiens!

Montréal is a city of dogs! They were everywhere, strolling with their people. Today's weather couldn't have been more perfect for perambulation, and perambulate they all did. I saw canines from Great Danes to Yorkshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers to Afghan Hounds, and everything in between, plus mixed breeds galore. Small dogs far outnumbered larger dogs--it is, after all, a city. I saw no herding breeds (so different from our agility weekends where they're 90% herding breeds!) except one overweight Australian Shepherd near the end of my trek.

I can't decide whether this beautiful nine-month-old Lab/Shepherd mix ("Liha"?) looks more like Johann the Dog or like Pacco de Mongrel.

I tried taking photos of most of them, but they were a hard lot to get right.

I particularly enjoyed this one:

I tried to take a photo of this little gal (Lilu? Apparently I wasn't pronouncing it well) at her level, but she wasn't into paparazzi. So her person scooped her up for a family shot, and then we got to talking. He's Claude G., a reviewer of classical music for the French-language paper here, and he had apparently just been perusing his latest column--reviewing three Chopin recordings--for typos or egregious copyediting sins.

Dogs everywhere on the café/bistro mecca, Rue Prince Arthur.

He invited me to sit for a bit, which I did, and we chatted. Well--he chatted more than I did. He knew almost everyone walking by and introduced them. He talked about the musical arts in Montréal--I've seldom felt less adequate about my opera and classical music knowledge, especially for someone who once had aspirations to be a music major! He had to inform me about a recently performed opera that took place during the California Gold Rush at the "base of the Cloudy Mountains," written in Italian by an American. 'O sole Sutter's Fort--dude? Sounds interesting, though.

I had to work hard to convince him that San José is not part of San Francisco, nor its suburb, nor is it a smaller town nearby. I began to sense the frustration of the city's chamber of commerce--we're 20% larger by population and--despite wikipedia's numbers--with our suburb communities making up Silicon Valley, larger in land area, as well. (I'm curious what's included in those numbers. No time to research, though.) Climate's very different. Business focus is very different. Lifestyle's fairly different. I guess we'd better get MORE SPORTS TEAMS, huh city council?? (No no I'm kidding...)

In case you want to know how to say "keep your dog on a leash and pick up his sh**" en francais.

I have beaucoup plus de photos, which I'm trying to upload to my photo site. Will post a link when (between my slow laptop, the shared network at the hotel, and who knows what) they're posted and labeled. Thought it would be this evening, but--quel désastre! (En englias: What a disaster! Catching on yet?) Maybe it's just as well that the battery died when it did.


  1. Very lovely picture of Claude G and pup...

  2. that black pup definately looks prettier than me do...8)

  3. I think that black pup just may be a JoPac? New mixed breed - a little JoJo a little Pacco - wacky, barky thing, likes to jump a lot.

    Great pics, you are really getting some awesome shots. Love seeing all the dogs.

  4. I think Pacco is quite the handsome boy!

    As for what kind of dog--owners said lab/shepherd mix, and this dog is easily big enough to be at least a border collie mix. Pretty tall for 9 months. I'd guess 20" at the shoulder at least.

  5. the black dog is most likely a border collie.

    1. The owner said lab/shepherd. I don't remember after 5 years whether he gave me any more details about where he got the dog or what he actually knew about the breed (like, did he know who the mother was). It does look border collie-ish, doesn't it!

  6. Anon & Elf, i have a female black lab/Australian Shepherd mix that looks very much like this. (The wind is blowing his hair so it is possible it is Border Collie - hard to tell). Wonderful wonderful mix. Smart, sensitive, attentive. i got mine from a friend who had bred her. I think they can also be called Shepadors or something like that. i would love to get another but they are hard to find with papers like we have. As puppies they might tear up things quite a bit, but they grow out of it with a few tricks. Be a good leader with this dog, too.

    1. This one definitely looks smart and attentive. Your mix sounds excellent.