Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Hamish Macdougal Mcduff
May 19, 2005- May 1, 2018

In Conclusion

I gave up years ago trying to express my distaste for kibble.  It is not so much that it is bad… rather it is simply boring, like chewing through a dish of styrofoam peanuts. Styrofoam peanuts of course have their own merits, but that is not a matter for the pallet!  It is something or other related to texture and a gentle gum massage. The actual ingestion of the peanuts is a byproduct. One which causes great concern and consternation among the humans.  Some unsolicited advice to any young pups reading, it is totally worth it….Eat some of the packing peanuts.

Back to kibble of course.  It is sometimes better to bend in a stiff wind than to try to shoulder uphill into it. The permanent addition of wet food to our diet seemed a substantial victory all those years ago, so I just tolerated the kibble all that time.  Nessarose never thanked me for that triumph, but alas, we all have our failings.
April 30th
Ironic I know, that at the end of things the gourmand should have opted onto the path of anorexia. It should not surprise really, being in lockstep with my other stubborn tendencies these many years.
I have spent my last days like royalty.  Lifted about, carried on my litter, fed the choicest morsels, and bathed by gentle hands.
She told me today, tearfully, "it's okay to let go..." 
But this is not the way of the terrier.
We don’t back down. We never give in. We won’t let go. We are steadfast.  We are fierce. We are sentinels. We are the light in dark places.
I woke up on the other side. Light mist, but warm, there were butterflies dancing over lush meadow. I felt the blood and strength in my hips and my hamhocks (No idea what a hamhock is really, but she was fond of grabbing hold of my drumstick hind legs and exclaiming, “Look at your little hamhocks, Hammie” punctuated by a small squeal of joy.)

I stretched vigorously, with accompanying grunting sounds before indulging in an aggressive, massaging roll, beginning at the sides of the snout, ploughing forward through the grass and allowing for some chest and shoulder, before flipping onto my back and giving it a very good grind whilst snorting and sneezing appropriately.  
April 30th. Very Scottish weather.
She should like to know, there are many of us here, Canine and others as well.  The bridge is visible at the edge of the meadow, dissolving into mist. It is not a rainbow by the way, though it arches as one would expect of something named the “Rainbow Bridge”.  It is more like mother of pearl, luminous in the ever-changing mist and sun, like milk poured solid then infused with glitter.
We may cross at anytime, but only with another traveler, of any species.  But most here are waiting. We are unencumbered by expectation, and for my own part, I don’t really give a damn about any Heavenly Host. 

Duty calls even from afar.  

A dog waits.  

Each place I mark instantly sprouts little flowers of aquamarine and yellow.  Faeries harvest nectar from these gemstone flora, though no one knows what they do with it.  Theories abound. My personal opinion is that they are inebriated on it 24/7, as their behavior is erratic and often careless. There are frequent faerie collisions, though never fatalities, this being the afterlife after all. I wonder at their purpose, though they mostly go about their own business, it seems a strange flaw in the ecosystem.  Like fleas. Only they are much prettier. And also not itchy.

We graze for morsels hiding in the grass.  They are abundant and always fresh. No two taste or smell exactly the same: manna from heaven.

Seems woodchucks get to heaven also, which is excellent good luck, because in truth, it would be a long wait with no battles or onslaughts or chases. If I could find a tiny dragon or two I would be elated, as that would lead to great sport.  I have not seen any yet, although a giant fat cat told me that he has seen a small flock of dragons recently and they are excellent good fun to rile up and run after. But his brain seemed a little addled and I wonder if he has confused dragons with a small flock of canaries congregating in the area.
The sun is never too warm.  The rain is never too cold. I can change the length of my coat at will, a neat trick.  Today I am shaggy, as it was misting and cool.

I am so full! Full of joy, full of food, full of something there are no words for in your mortal spaces.
From here I see the weights humans carry with renewed clarity.   Some like small packages or handbags, others like boulders, giant boxes, heavy backpacks.  Some pull carts laden with the weight of their living.
I can see that Hers is heavier today. Of course it must be, I am not there to help her carry it, though Nessarose tries her hardest. But there are many furry angels on earth, and when one leaves for the bridge others are duty bound to step into the breach. I am jealous as I am grateful.

I am full: full of incandescent memory.  I fear I am radioactive I glow so brightly from within.  She will see. She will know. I am brighter than the stars, more constant.

Love love love love love love love love. Someone said that once on television, I never caught his name...

I have only one regret.  I hope that spring will not forever be for Her a season of sadness.

“Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die. “ - Mary Elizabeth Frye

Monday, January 18, 2016



On the possible chance, it is not painfully obvious to all of you,  I have been bathed, shaved, and unceremoniously dressed in an argyle sweater with matching rubbery booties ( sort of doggie wellies if you will). To add insult to injury, I was taken to a Petco store for grooming services!  A PETCO STORE!!  Not even my usual private stylist! Hideous... I look completely ridiculous.  My ears are all wrong, not to mention only a few days later the weather turned positively arctic, and of course there is the obvious problem of stinking of tangerines and oatmeal.  
Thankfully,  we travelled back to New Jersey the following weekend and I was let free to frolic on the farm.  There I was able to pick up some suitable odors to mask the smell of shampoo and fruit and begin the ever arduous task of starting a new patina YET AGAIN.  It is so tiresome.  Grandma has installed a Febreze air freshener in our Binghamton bedroom, and the aroma of "fresh linen" is so overpowering it almost makes one light headed. Nessarose and I are doing our very best to rectify this olfactory offense with our own "horse manure" scent.  One more trip home to the farm and I think we may have achieved our goal. 
On the bright side, we have received an abundance of cookies.  Grandma and Pop-pop are never sure if we have been sufficiently treated, so they are quick to feed us another morsel.  We have even conned them once or twice into an entire extra meal, one not knowing that the other has fed us.  
I am simply unable to keep up with all of my security concerns at the farm in the short hours we have to spend there on weekends.  It seems we are to be spending weekends there for the immediate future, and returning to Binghamton during the week. 
One day bleeds into the next, and I lose track of where we are at during the week.  I confess to a certain growing restlessness with regard to our current situation.  I thought this slower pace of life might suit, but a certain ennui consumes me, and I long for bright cold days at the farm from dark to dark.  I can hear the crows and the hawks, the weather lately just mild enough to offer an endless supply of mud to roll in. My human is assured of a light at the end of the tunnel and an impending return to our former lifestyle.  Myself I look forward to it longingly.  Humans simply cannot comprehend the difficulty and shamefulness of being forced to poop at the end of a leash ( whilst clad in an argyle sweater and matching rubbery booties). It is not sustainable in the long term. 
Nessarose expresses her frustrations by eating the bathroom garbage and trying to burrow into the shoes. Myself, 
I sallied forth and slew a dragon.  Then I feasted on its innards and took a nap.
A well-deserved rest

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Dear readers, followers, and adoring fans: I have every faith you will forgive my overlong silence upon hearing my tale. At my last communication I was mournfully resigned to dying of a broken heart. Hindsight however can bring fresh clarity and recent events have exposed my self indulgence and ingratitude.
It took sometime for Nessarose and I to uncover the reality of our situation. So typical of humans to think we cannot handle the truth. Alas the duty of devotion is often hindered and delayed by such misguided human concern over our canine mental health. Nevertheless we were certain something was afoot as soon as we were moved to Cheyenne's camper. My human had gone MIA( Missing in Aberdeenshire).
Though we were comfortable in Cheyenne's world, I was forced to suffer the indignity of 3 more dogs in addition to the sad simple behavior of my sister, Nessarose.  Though I did get an inordinate amount of bromantic time with Angus,  it was somewhat tarnished by the deranged behavior of his dog Emily.  I would often linger outside,  gazing at the stars, secure in my belief that:
"Somewhere, Out there
beneath the pale moonlight, 
someone's thinking of me, 
and loving me tonight..."-Fievel the mouse
But where?

There were only three legitimate possibilities:
1)  Her aircraft was destroyed by Dragon attack, and she was likely dead.
(This seemed improbable since Dragons large enough to destroy a large aircraft have not been seen in epochs.  However, had this been the case it would have made for an excellent "I told you so" moment, since I am in fact a dragon-slayer, and she had elected to leave me at home.)

2)She had been involved in some sort of terrible accident, was still alive, but unable to return to us.  
(Possible, but unlikely, since if she was indeed alive, she would certainly have tried to make contact with us, Hamish and Nessarose, her beloved pets. )

3) She had been transformed into a Scotsman, by aliens in the shape of custard desserts known as "blancmanges".  Hailing from the planet Skyrock in the galaxy of Andromeda they had come to earth to turn everyone into Scotsmen in a desperate bid to win Wimbledon. In which case we could all move to Scotland and live happily ever-after.  (See the link below for further clarification.)
( This option seems the most likely, however the season was all wrong for Wimbledon, it being mid-Autumn. )

I confess to being somewhat stumped.  I simply did not have enough information to proceed. Luckily my mystification was quickly resolved by simply eavesdropping upon Cheyenne's telephone conversations.  
Sadly,  my human had not been transformed into a Scotsman, and happily eve-rafter would have to wait as she had been in a terrible accident and mostly died. 
Cheyenne assured us not to worry.  As Scotland is a magical land full of mists, dragons, and miracles, they had immediately taken her to a Miracle Max and after the careful administration of four miracle pills she was successfully revived. 
We were ecstatic to receive this news, and were shortly moved to Washington DC to stay with our excellent Aunt Danielle.  She has no other dogs to share with, but she does not live in the country so we were leash bound for the duration. We anxiously awaited news of our Human's progress.  Nessarose usually hid among the shoes, and I made myself at home on Danielle's furniture. Finally the word came.  She was coming home to Binghamton, not New Jersey, but we would be transported immediately to her side. 
Six weeks after the accident,  we were reunited. There was no fanfare and very little rejoicing. Actually our reunion was strangely anti-climactic.  

I do not wish to make light of it, She was no longer mostly dead, but not at all our usual bouncy human. The miracle house had saved her life, but she was weak and depleted with a long road to recovery. Some miracle. As usual Nessarose and I would have to take matters into our own hands. So with the excellent help of Her parents Pop-pop and Grandma, we began rehabilitation together.  Thankfully we were here. Old habits die hard and Nessarose and I immediately took on our familiar roles.  I set a security perimeter.  Nessarose is hyper vigilant about the squirrels (nasty beasts) and the kitty cats.  Nessa is as always an attention hog and I often have to forcibly remove her from the ottoman so that I may have appropriate canoodle time with my human.  I remain the major motivating force in Her life. She pushes herself daily to build enough strength for picking me up and carrying me around. We are not quite there yet, though she can lift me successfully from the ottoman into her lap. 
Conditioning is very important.  As I have finally discovered the root cause of this terrible event, and our one chance at a silver lining:
Leah's ill-fated car wreck was fatefully brought to the attention of none other than my Scottish brother in arms: Gerard Butler. 
So whilst Nessarose and I were suffering in grief, nursing broken hearts, unsure if our human would ever be found....she was holding court with movie stars, telling tall tales of dragons and magic, rubbing shoulders with greatness...
For all of my pontificating about her ridiculous fantasies and obsessions, her absurd plotting and scheming, it seems that her trip was serendipitous. She has in fact met Gerard Butler.  Well at least she has spoken to him on the phone. AND she met his mother!! None of this has really brought me any closer to discussing my future with the man.  I remain frustrated at only being able to put my musings on paper.  I feel a certain depth of feeling is lost without the resounding richness of a Scottish brogue to animate the words...alas... I felt certain our inherent Scottishness and inevitable greatness would draw us together but as with most good stories, it appears to be a simple chance happening that has realigned our stars ( and the efforts of a very tenacious reporter, whose name I will protect at all costs). Gerard certainly has to meet me now. I feel a new collar may be in order. 

And so two months have passed here in Binghamton.  We have had two visits to the farm in New Jersey.  It is not nearly enough to maintain the security protocols there.  I will have a lot of work cut out for me upon my return, though Uncle Ed has done his best to patch things together in my absence.
Jessica is much too busy with the horses to worry about security.  So far there have been no serious breaches. 
Things go smoothly in Binghamton. Pop-pop and I patrol the perimeter every morning while discussing philosophy. We all of us read the NY Times over breakfast, and Nessarose intimidates the company with her awkward staring disorder. Leah advances daily, though she will require the administration of one final miracle pill later this season. We are all safely snuggled for the holidays.  

So I will leave you all with a promise to write more often and well wishes for a Merry Christmas to All!  And to all a Good Night!!

 Finally, I cannot help but note the similarities... 

What handsome devils we are.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Loch Lomond

Today is the saddest day of my life.  I shall surely die of a broken heart, my tail never to wag again.  Yesterday my  human was furiously busy house cleaning.   A most unusual pursuit for her.  Then it happened.  The suitcase was laid open and many items began to fill it.  I stayed close to her, watching her every move. Today she did not go to work.  The suitcase and other bags were packed into the car and I was handed this note:
15 September, 2015
My Dearest Hamish,
The thought of telling you in person was too unbearable.  I am so sorry to do it this way, but I couldn't face the tragedy behind your eyes were I to give you the news in person.  I am flying to Scotland this evening.  And I will be away for the next 12 days.
See I tried so hard to get you a visa, but the shots and expense required were too great.  Instead I am taking the cut-out in your glorious kilted image, to share your rugged scruffiness with the Scots as best I can.  I will write often and take many pictures.
Judy is coming later to look after you and your sister.  She has many extra treats.  It breaks my heart also that we cannot take this trip together but I know in your heart you will find  a way to forgive me. 
Look after Nessarose.  She is simple minded and she does not understand.  Look for me the afternoon of the 27th. I love you always.
Yours in absentia,
What could I do but bay mournfully at the heavens.  My heart ripped from my body and bloodied all over the kitchen floor.  I had no choice but to suck my feet vigorously and hide under the sofa.  Alas....She is really gone.
This photograph arrived not 1 hour ago
I await my demise.  Farewell to all my adoring fans. May I live long in your memories
"You take the High Road and I'll take the Low...
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love shall never meet again
on the Bonnie Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond...."

Friday, July 31, 2015

Leather and Wool

Allow me to be perfectly clear: I love my human unconditionally. MOST of the time.  However, OCCASIONALLY, it is necessary to stop loving her for a period of hours or even days.  It is the only way to maintain any kind of discipline as she willfully will respond to nothing else. These are the sorts of offenses that can lead to the temporary withdrawal of unconditional love and affections:
-Touching me with her foot
-Bathing and grooming.
-Kibble with no meat or milk added.
-ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY going away without me, leaving me under the care and supervision of other ridiculous humans, or causing me to believe I may be left behind, even though in the end I am not.
-Permitting anyone else to ride shotgun.
-Tying me to the trailer hitch all day long at the horse show.
-Enduring her singing on long road trips.

I know it sounds like too much to endure but these things have all happened to me.  Though I find that if I stop loving her for a short time she immediately repents her thoughtless ways and then things are better for some time.  I have read in magazines that this constitutes a cycle of abuse.  There was something about addiction and codependency as well.  Also denial and self loathing.  These sound like normal people problems, not the sorts of things brilliant intellectual hounds and their human caretakers would struggle with.  
We have a way of dealing with things,  it works for us, no one else needs to understand it.  I am not a victim.

But nevermind all that.  Most recently I was introduced to Melaina.  Having never met Melaina, having no knowledge whatsoever of her qualifications, Nessarose and I were surreptitiously dropped at her house and with hardly a kiss or a cuddle simply left for 48 hours. Lest you worry allow me to assure my adoring fans that Melaina's is a veritable palace,  a palace of magnificent smells and creatures.  There were cats. Other dogs. And CHICKENS. A never ending buffet of scents and tastes with too many corners to count for marking.  We got to go for walks and watch television and all in all it was a very pleasant little sojourn, replete with single malt and cuban cigars.   However none of this matters, since my human deposited us there with no knowledge of these things.  It could as well have been the Bates Hotel.  No due diligence whatsoever. It's quite shocking.  
It should be understandable to you all that a shunning was therefore very much in order.  I greeted her upon her return with the same perfunctory-ness with witch she had abandoned us two days prior.  Upon arriving home I immediately retired to the human's pillow on the bed and feigned the deepest depression I could muster. I showed little interest in kibble and treats and I made sure to sleep on the far corner of the bed out of her reach. 
The impact was substantial.  Before bed she had already text messaged several friends her concern that I no longer loved her.  HA! 
I was given many extra treats and after a swim and a frolic at the farm the next morning I had all but forgotten the injustice.  Things have generally returned to normal.  
I had an optimum poop in the bush beside the arena this morning and I was able to shadow my human most of the day.  It was very hot, and she raised no fuss whatsoever when I trenched a shallow hole beside a jump to cool my belly and keep a close watch.  I am only rarely shut into the clubhouse these days, and usually it is by my own choice when it is too hot to remain out of doors.   

#soontobe : The Younger Woman

I have added a group of photos to my #soontobe series. I believe it to be some of my best work.  Our infatuation/fascination with Gerard Butler waxes and wanes.  Leah is recently driven to compulsions over some medieval love affair from the 12th century.  French of course.  Some lovers called Lard and Loise or some such nonsense.  She has begun to speak as though she is translating Latin or maybe middle French, neither of which she can actually speak.  It is affecting my writing. 

I did receive an extra special gift of a particularly attractive pouch in which to store my tablet.  it is made of wool and leather and though I would ordinarily object to its equestrian theme, the deep pine green of the wool is quite lovely and the whole thing quite suits my tastes.  It houses my tablet perfectly and is a great improvement over the sad, cheap case my human picked up at walmart.  I consider it an excellent consolation gift and I am once again totally and unconditionally in love with her. 
Changing gears, I had an exciting photo shoot in my formal wear (kilt and bowtie) this past weekend.  Jade took some excellent pictures and the lighting highlighted my glorious bearded grizzliness to perfection.  I must say I look terribly fierce.  These photos are locked in a small flash drive device I do not understand, so I will need to decipher it in order to post them but I fully intend to share them.  The shoot was complete with action sequences as well as stills and poses.  Something to look forward to.

One might say we are very much in the dog days of summer. I have no complaints at this time.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!

Security breaches are rare due to our excellent emergency protocols and my extreme vigilance.  There is however no accounting for human errors and thoughtlessness.  They are a careless species and no amount of training and counter-measurement will eliminate incidences altogether.

I blame my human mostly.  She stood right there as the horse "Paganini" pushed his door open with his nose and sauntered out slowly.  It took her several moments to react.  I remain baffled at the human lack of reflexes.   They are so slow to respond to anything.  Suddenly Paganini was walking briskly down the aisleway. He paused for a few mouthfuls of hay at the edge of the barn before trotting exuberantly into the parking lot and then exploding around the trailers.  By now all the humans were following him with halters and leads in hand.  I hung back knowing full well he couldn't be captured in this way.  To no avail, the humans sent him bounding across the rocky swale and though he hesitated for a moment he crossed through a breach in the tree line into the neighboring farmer's field at a flying trot.

"Houston we have a problem!"  Jack and Jade were now flying full tilt after him on their long legs.  Now completely beyond the farms boundaries there was no telling where he might go.  My legs may be short, but my low center of gravity means I can handle the uneven pasture terrain with ease.  I bolted straight after Jack who was in the lead closest to the horse.

Into the Breach!  Tail erect and ready, eyes keen, legs pumping furiously, chase, chase, chase! Nessarose
You won't like me angry
was ready at the front line with me.  I started howling instructions in my native scotch terrier dialect, to my human's great shock and horror.  She says my "yodeling" is offensive to the ear.  I say so is her damned singing.  Nevertheless I am a faithful dog, As Jack sprinted into the woods after Paganini's footprints I was forced to come to my human's plaintive worried call.

"Hamish you will get lost out there!" And so both Nessarose and myself were abruptly shut into the office as the humans continued to flail around in search of the horse.  Strange that creatures with slow reflexes and almost no sense of smell whatsoever should undertake the tracking of an escaped fugitive without the assistance of the dogs. (Can you hear me frowning?)

Nevertheless, as is usually the case the horse managed to get stuck in a thicket.  At which point the slow moving humans were easily able to catch up and capture him.  He was returned without further incident. Since there can be no help for their slow reaction times, clearly the humans must learn to latch the stall door, so that the horse cannot simply let himself out.  It is the humans not us dogs who would benefit from electric shock training.  They say with age comes wisdom and I have learned not to waste energy on those things beyond my control.

On a brighter note:  I overheard her say the tickets for Scotland have been purchased.  Ha! Sept. 15th. This is really happening.  I have never flown on an airplane before.  I understand it is very dangerous as they are often attacked by giant dragons and destroyed.  Being a dragon slayer myself I am reasonably confident this shouldn't be a problem on our particular flight.  Friends and colleagues keep asking if I am excited.  Of course I am excited to finally see my native land, though I must admit a certain sense of the inevitable to it.  As I have stated on previous occasions,  Scotland and Scottish individuals are cosmically drawn together by some greater power beyond our understanding.
On that note....I have decided that sometimes it is best to bend with a strong wind rather than against it.
Gerard Butler.  Alas since I cannot convince my human to stop embarrassing herself it seems I might as well embrace the cause.  Possessed now of my own tablet equipped with camera,  I have decided to begin a photographic series titled:
"Soon to Be"

The first installment is loosely inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers."  Please follow me on instagram @hamishwagsthedog. Here it is:

Sunflowers in gallery

I will also be further expanding my self portraiture series:
"The Writer's Lens. Self Portraits of a Scruffian"

My human reminds me now that I must also return to my children's manuscript.  So much to do.  So little bacon. And I have not been provided with a meatball of any kind in ages.  I understand it's good to have goals.

Finally.  Paganini's mood has been repentant since his escape. But he cannot be trusted.  There is a devil in him for sure.  A handsome one.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Birthday wishes

Scotsmen are great adventurers.  Myself I am descended from a long line of explorers, adventurers and all around swashbucklers.  My earliest ancestors battled dragons.
painting by Margaryta Yermolayeva http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/margaryta-yermolayeva.html
These days the beasts are hard to come by, so few of the modern day Macdonish Hamwalders have ever even seen one.  I am mostly plagued by catawampi.  Slippery devils, they are very difficult to track, though easily dispatched upon their discovery as they often fall into long protracted sleeps.

Gandalf the Grey
My stars appear to be aligning.  This seems appropriate since my birthday is approaching.  It is a major milestone.  10 years old for a dog is beyond the middle of life for most of us.  I confess I do not feel middleaged.  Only wiser.  Perhaps I shall become a wizard and live in bearded magical immortal glory. Just like Gandalf.

I admit to spying on my Human.  My industry has paid dividends, since I do believe I have discovered my birthday present. She has been pouring over books about Scotland for several weeks.  She has purchased a number of new woolen items of clothing, and my kilt and bow tie have been got down from the closet.
Therefore I deduce:  We are going to Scotland.

In light of this I am completely at a loss for words.  Nevertheless I must try...

SCOTLAND!  my native land!  The place of my ancestors. Place of mist, mountains....and D R A G O N S
If I am lucky enough to catch one I will bring it home and display it as a full- mount trophy.  Obviously.
My human shall receive a Cleopatra-collar style necklace of its claws.  And I will feast upon its liver!!
I have never flown on an airplane before.  Only because I have heretofore refused to endure the indignity of riding beneath the seat in a pet caddy.  However I will all too gladly suffer this humiliation in order to visit my ancestral lands.  It will be a great homecoming.  I fully intend to elope with some strapping Scotsman.  It is my destiny.  

PS.  Dear Human:  I also know about the tablet.  Thank you. Now please set up my instagram account immediately.  I have a lot of catching up to do. 
Ready?  I was born ready.