Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dog Tale 7: William's Great Expectations

William always remembers the kindness of strangers--and friends, too--especially when it comes to food. In the case of treats offered to him in shops on Warren Street, William's memory can be embarrassingly long. If William has gotten a treat somewhere, he will forever after expect that, whenever we pass the shop, he can go in and get another. 

Hudson Wine Merchants is one of the places William always wants to enter, and he is never disappointed. Michael Albin and his staff--especially Erin and Kathleen--always seem gratifyingly happy to see William and are generous with the treats, even though William's visits are almost daily, and my wine purchases are not quite as frequent.

In the first summers of Lick, when Charlie Ferussi was the scoopologist who seemed to be there most often, William got in the habit of expecting treats at Lick, too. When Charlie moved on to greater things, Avery carried on the tradition of indulging William. But last summer, not everyone on the Lick staff was familiar with William and his expectations. 

One summer evening, I tried to steer William past Lick's open door but failed. He bolted in and pulled me in after him. The young woman behind the counter that night was unknown to us and we to her. I wasn't planning to buy ice cream that night and had no money with me, so when she asked what I wanted, I had to explain that I was there because my dog wanted a biscuit. She went to the cupboard, took a Milk Bone out of the box, and handed it to me. Not the experience William was looking for . . . or I either for that matter.

William's longest memory of treats, however, involves the Columbia County Council on the Arts. In the summer of 2008, after the first Walking the dogWALK, the dried venison treats left over from the goodie bags given to participating dogs (in the dog show that followed the walk, William was named "Most Handsome Wolf") ended up at CCCA. I can't remember if human business brought us there the first time, or if William, sniffing out the venison treats, pulled me through an open door, but he got a treat from Tricia, who worked there then, and that started a routine. When the venison treats ran out, they were replaced by dog biscuits; when Tricia was no longer there, Sue Chiafullo took up the task of indulging William. 

It's been a couple of years now since William has gotten a treat at CCCA, but sometimes when we pass by, he still stops at the door and presses his nose expectantly against the spot where he knows it opens.

The photo of WalkingthedogWALK is by Dan Region. 

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