Here's one of my favorite uplifting musical compositions, Petite Symphonie by Charles Gounod, with some beautiful Impressionist scenes to appreciate as you listen. The third movement is where I can picture a pack of basset hounds bounding joyfully through the countryside at a field trial. We saw one once in Fairfield, where people had gathered with the most magnificent hounds to watch them track rabbits (I don't recall that they found any). Never before had I seen this breed so happy to be doing what they were bred to do.
The instruments being played in Petite Symphonie are bassons; note the root of the word, bass, as in basset? Well, of course I know bass means low, but do you suppose the composer could have had baying basset hounds in mind when he wrote this piece of music? Might he have had bassets of his own that inspired him to create it? My own dogs have certainly inspired my creativity.
I often write to music, which sparks my imagination. What does this music bring to mind for you?
Happy Monday! Happy Spring! Carpe Diem!
BOOK SIGNING IN DAVIS
I'll be appearing at Avid Reader, the charming book store in Davis, CA, tomorrow night from 7:30-9:30, where I'll discuss my latest book, Braced for Murder, talk about writing, answer questions, and do a book signing afterward. Hope to see you there!
DO YOU BARK ORDERS AT YOUR DOG?
Do you like having orders barked at you? Probably not! Neither do dogs. Turns out that Barbara Woodhouse's strict training method is all wrong and using a softer voice and gentler approach works better with our pets, according to a study published in The Daily Mail. Her voice was so annoying I'm surprised the dogs didn't bite her. I'm not into dominating my dogs but prefer treating them like the special, devoted companions they are. Are you listening, Cesar?
STRANGE DOG DISEASE IN U.K.
Dogs are dying in England, and no one seems to know why. They develop lesions and will suffer a long, painful death due to kidney failure, forcing their families to make that most difficult of decisions for a beloved pet. Some are likening this outbreak to something called Alabama rot, which was caused by the E. coli bacteria. It makes you wonder if it's something harmful in their food (tainted Chinese imports again?) or if it could somehow be linked to the severe flooding all over the country. It's been a strange year across the pond, for one reason or another. I hope someone discovers the cause of the disease soon before more dogs succumb to it.
ERIN GO BASSET!
I hope you all had a happy St. Patrick's Day and kicked up your heels to some good Irish music. I didn't hear any at The Fox & Goose tonight, where I've been going each year for a very long time. All I heard were screamers and noisemakers. That's not Irish music. I had a good time, anyway, but I had to come home and hear Gaelic Storm on TV to hear some REAL Irish music and see some step dancers. Next year I'm going to an actual Irish pub where I can see some traditional entertainment and hopefully some talented musicians.
HOW TO HELP THE DOGS OF SOCHI
The Olympic games in Russia are over, but the plight of Sochi's stray dogs (and I suspect the Sochi people as well), continues. Two hockey Olympians brought dogs back with them to be adopted, and some improvements, like shelters, are being made since the heartless killings of Sochi's stray dogs captured international attention and earned the scorn of dog lovers everywhere. Here is some information from Care2 on how you can help the dogs of Sochi.
MARCH PETS & THEIR PEOPLE
My latest column is about Paws & The Palette, a charming pet bakery in Midtown Sacramento. Stores like this are what make Midtown so charming and the go-to place for merchandise you won't find at a mall. The owner, Lisa Spurney and her beloved basset hound, Ladybug, are featured.
Years ago, when my first novel was published, Lisa's mom, Jo Wardle, hosted a book signing at what was then Bogy's Barkery. My dear old buddy, Bubba Gump, accompanied me. As always, he was the perfect PR pup, and a photographer took some great shots of him. Those were the glory days with my Bubba.
Lisa has carried on the dog bakery biz along with sundry pet supplies, gifts and pet art. She kindly hosted a book signing/art show for me during the holidays. Copies of "Braced for Murder" and my pet artwork (pastels) will be for sale in her store until the end of March.