Farewell Mrs. Baby
A Strange & Wonderful Friend
Dec. 2nd, 2001 – April 4th, 2017
April 29th, 2017
Mrs. Baby on North Kinsman, NH – an Internet Sensation
(Google Mrs. Baby images – see what turns up)
Mrs. Baby joined our lives at LaGuardia Airport, straight from Ashe’s Mystical Poodles in Las Vegas, complete with gold painted toenails and a basket of neuroses that would make a Las Vegas show girl proud. At the time, our family was still in NY, and I was commuting to Hanover NH for work. The original intention was for her to be my traveling companion for the time away from home. Her terminal cuteness and acute motion sickness combined to make her difficult to separate from the family, and a malodorous traveling companion.
Martha & Friends on the Dartmouth Skiway
Perhaps most importantly, she and Martha imprinted into each other’s psyches’, beginning one of the great, lady-and-her-dog stories – a heretofore ignored genre. Baby morphed effortlessly between three personalities – depending on the situation, opportunity and needs of those around her. For Martha, she was everywhere and always the bird with the broken wing – a skinny, pigeon-toed weakling with a bad appetite. Baby tugged at the heart strings with this act and reaped the benefits of homemade dogfood, down filled dog beds and unlimited access to any sofa in the house. Who says crime doesn’t pay!
Baby and Kate submitting to Martha’s Yuletide torment
For me, Baby was a tireless and enormously talented climbing companion. Belying her role as the pathetic waif, every time I put on hiking boots, she became a manic climber, fearless and relentless. In the middle of a class 3 scramble, she could jump 5 feet in the air from a standing start, land on a sloping ledge and then look back at the rest of us earthbound mortals with haughty contempt – she really was that good.
The team headed up Tuckerman Ravine for a day of dog skiing
Finally, was a brilliant malevolent presence with other dogs. Like any neurotic showgirl, Baby had a difficult relationship with food, which made her a truly unique dog, and gave her a mighty tool for tormenting her better adjusted species mates. Baby would go days without eating, driving Martha to distraction – turning up her nose to all offerings, including Martha’s signature hamburger birthday cakes. She would then decide to start eating, typically based more on entertainment value more than motivations of hunger or sustenance.
Stealing food from the other dogs on Black Mountain, NH
Baby was incredibly smart, and a wicked imitator. Watching us eat at a table, she one day decided to only eat at a table herself. From that day forward, she would pick up 3-4 kernels of dog food from her bowl, carry it to the ottoman, place them on top, arrange them to her liking and then eat them one piece at a time. This would go on for hours.
A cool hike on Bigelow Mt., ME
She was the runt of the litter, and was used to being denied food. This defined the third leg of her personality stool – intra-species rivalry. To avenge herself of this puppyhood deprecation, she would torment visiting dogs – which were many and frequent, by stealing their treats then putting hers out in plain view as a temptation to food larceny. When the temptation was too much, and the other dogs began a stealth approach to her biscuit, she went full doggie-berserker – biting, barking, pushing and shoving. This invariably sent her unsuspecting victims into full retreat – and left Baby gloating over her purloined prize.
A frosty Baby on Moosilauke
A warm Thanksgiving hike on Mt. Moosilauke, NH
We witnessed the apogee of Baby’s food neuroses on a spring hike on East Kennabago Mountain, ME. For some reason, moose love to make their winter yards on the top of remote, forested mountains in NW Maine. East Kennabago fits this profile perfectly, and we found the summit awash in a winter’s accumulation of moose manure. Receiving her summiting dog treat, Baby promptly lay down in the biggest pile, placed her treat in front of her, and began to dine. You can imagine the simultaneous temptation and revulsion of the other dogs, and the hilarity for the humans. She did get a penitential bath before the 4.5-hour ride back to Hanover in the truck.
Eating lunch on pile of moose poop on East Kennabago mountain, ME
Baby (left) on Osceola with Kate
Baby flourished in the move to Nashville, finding delight in the wonders of Percy Warner Park. She loved her new home, and found the pool to be a new venue to torment visiting dogs.
Baby & Martha in Percy Warner Park, Nashville
The inevitable ravages of time, and the passing of her life-mate Mrs. Katie, sent Baby into a deep and rapid decline. She didn’t eat for weeks, waiting for her old friend to return, and it was not to be. Despite a newly discovered diet consisting of 1 box of Wheat thins per meal, she continued to get smaller, softer and after a last temptation of hamburger cake, was gone.
Baby & Kimball on Mt. Pierce, NH
It is said that humans and dogs are co-evolved species – that we are, in part, a creation of each other. It is for that reason that people and dogs bond so deeply and naturally – we were literally made for each other. Based on this hypothesis, Martha asserts that Mrs. Baby is the most highly evolved of all dogs. I don’t know what that says about the state of humanity, but based on how we all bonded to Mrs. Baby, I suspect that it might be true.
Adios Mrs. Baby, Franconia Ridge, NH