Me or Leash Me: 50 Simple Ways to Keep Me a Happy, Healthy and Well
by Anne Bobby
Includes an essay by Michael Cerveris about his beloved dog, Gibson.
As winsome as it is practical, this handy little book-packaged with a colorful nylon leash-offers sound, easy-to-follow advice "straight from the dog's mouth." The color of the leash may vary. Communication between people is hard enough-but how can we better understand our canine friends? In this fresh and adorable book, illustrated with heart-skipping photographs, 50 worldly dogs tell us exactly what they want: how we can most effectively play with them, train them, take care of them and love them.
Here are 50 short, simple tips that will benefit every dog-owner, including fun games to play, secrets for making walks special, easy ways to keep dogs from misbehaving, and the best ways to show your affection. And here, too, are stories of real dogs like Padraic, a formerly stray chow-lab mix who tried to sneak into the St. Patrick's Day parade; and Milla, a French bulldog who immigrated from Russia. Dogs speak to us everyday. Isn't it time we started listening?
Even before she had the shots she needed to brave the streets of New York, my girlfriend at the time would cradle her in the audience at my band's gigs at Sin E, an East Village venue. Often more popular than our set, Gibson didn't seem bothered by the volume (well, it was an acoustic gig) and accepted the adoration of those around her with a quizzical expression and a royal demeanor.
She's never really expressed a great interest in any one particular style of music, though she seems to prefer me playing acoustic guitar to electric. Drums are not big on her list of favorite things. Not much of a singer herself really. I sort of picture her doing trance mixes in the chill out lounge of some ultra hip underground venue. "Tonight at the Laika Lounge: DJ Gib from NY Spinning Sounds Beyond the Range of Human Hearing"--that sort of thing.
Over the years, she's accompanied me almost everywhere--from audition waiting rooms to Broadway dressing rooms. And she seems just as comfortable hanging around filthy rock venues and dodgy off Broadway backstages. She even appeared once ON stage (by invitation), at the last curtain call of the closing night of Tommy in Germany.
I did worry a bit initially that seeing me in a variety of wigs, make up and costumes<BR>might be disturbing or at least confusing for her. I know it was for my family. But neither Mod bowl cut nor full drag seems to ruffle her fur. When I walked into the first Hedwig costume run-through with boots, pink fringed acid washed mini dress and several feet of bleached Farrah curls, Gibson gave me an "Oh Dad..." sort of look and sat back down under her seat.
Under her seat is the way most people that know her probably think of Gibson. She will almost always look for a chair, table or amp case with the lowest possible clearance under which to squeeze while she patiently waits until I've done whatever useless bit of performing (or in the case of auditions, groveling) I need to do before we can go home again. Although, I do have a very vivid mental picture of her sitting in a row of empty red theater seats with the assistant choreographer for Tommy during the technical rehearsals. Their heads were at equal heights as they watched me tumbling through the air on wires, Gibson apparently not entirely trusting the crew to get me down safely in time to feed her.
Through the kindness and indulgence of many directors, stage managers, theater staff and coworkers, Gibson has accompanied me to rehearsals and performances throughout our years together. For the most part, she has been a model of decorum. She generally seeks out the aforementioned under-something or in-a-corner position and is perfectly relaxed and quiet, except in rare occasions when she thinks someone is acting badly or badly acting. She seems non plussed by the whole experience, but she never takes her eyes from me and gets nervous only when she doesn't know where I am. Whether that's because she still harbours a fear of abandonment form her puppyhood or simply fears what mess I'll have gotten myself into without her, I cannot say.
It must be said, however, that she has the generally neurotic disposition of most great artists and she does make people work for her attention and affection. I've often returned to a dressing room at intermission to find crew members or actors lying prone on the floor with a bit of cookie in an outstretched hand pleading softly with her to come out and play. Such persistence does usually pay off and I often think people are sadder to see her go than me when a show ends. Even in the madness of the legendary open-plan Hedwig dressing room (think Brady Bunch on bad acid), Gibson would watch the goings on from her (appropriately) Queenly perch and wait for someone she knew or something involving food to develop. Not that she's easy, mind you....
The most fascinating thing is the way she quickly learns my routine. She figures out which times I'm coming into the dressing room to change, in which case she'll just look at me with an inscrutable expression as if to say, "Tempo was a bit slow wasn't it? We'll never make closing time at this rate." Or if it's intermission, she'll get up and stretch, have a little water, nose around her dry food or toys and stick her nose around the hallway to see what all the other silly humans are doing in their frankly rather smelly costumes that really should have been dry cleaned last week as per oft neglected Equity stipulation. And at the end of the night, she even waits until all my make up is off and everything put away before she stretches and starts to get excited for the walk or occasional cab ride home.
She's a show biz dog,
but seems gracefully unaffected by all the fuss and hoopla. Rock club or
recording studio, Broadway palace or regional dive, she takes it all in
stride. She's been across the country and all over Europe (with the exception
so far of Britain and their cruel/archaic quarantine laws which ludicrously
still exclude vaccinated, healthy North American animals) and she treats
everyone from usher to producer with the same equanimity. In fact, she tends
to give big shots more of a hard time. And she seems particularly distrustful
of directors and producers. THAT I think she gets from me..."
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