Rest in Peace, Atticus

Listen: there once was a dog named Atticus. And he was kind and good, as you would hope dogs would be, managed to make this damp and dreary world brighter than it had any right to be.

He passed away this morning. Complications from surgery. I called the vet., spoke to her to make arrangement to put him to sleep. She called me back half a minute later, and he was going.

The impatient, beautiful had waited as long he could, and held out till he got the ok from me.

I don’t want to dwell on that. Dogs deaths are tragedies- it is always too soon- and their lives are magnificent. And I’ve never known as more magnificent dog than my glorious Atticus.

I met him a long time ago, back when I was almost young, in a land far far away from Chicago. Here he is, when you could pick him up with three fingers:


Atticus, being is adorable self, with me looking incredibly awkward.

From the start, he took care of me. He was calm and sweet. Crazy about people and dogs. He just wanted to meet and greet and play with everyone.

Look! Even as a puppy he knew that he was going to caring for me as much as I would be caring for him.

Oh, god he was a cute puppy.

Time passed. He grew up into 60 odds pound black lab mutt, who adored, as always, food, people, and other dogs. We’d take him to the dog park, and he would race around in circles, leading the other dogs. He could run like the wind when he was younger. When I’d run to him, attached with a leash, he would bound, and put up with me struggling behind him.

And god, how he was attached to me. Look at this dog!

Who is ready for a belly rub? Atticus is ready for a belly rub!

One day, we were walking in the forest near our house. And he demanded to go through the undergrowth. I didn’t think there was anything but more prickly undergrowth, but I was wrong.

When we came through the first layer, it opened up. And we found ourselves in a circle of trees, in a grove. It was 20 feet from a busy street, but it was invisible from it. I lived 100 feet away, and I had no idea it was there.

We played in the grove for a while. Eventually, Atticus found a stick, nearly as long as I was. He carried it home with him, balancing it like a balance pole. I was fairly certain it had a little bit of magic in it. I skinned the, really a small branch, and carried it with me in my travels. It’s being used in a production of 12th night that I’m in as a hook. Fair warning to the cast- it has some magic to it, much like Atticus.

The dog in one of his constant play modes. We liked to wrestle.

I’ll tell a few Atticus stories. He was always an optimist with food, even with food he didn’t like. At one point a piece of asparagus fell on the floor, and he scooped it up. He didn’t like the taste of it, so he spat it right out again. A moment later, though, his optimism returned, and he put it in his mouth again. He did this 5 or six times, and the asparagus slowly moved across the floor.

He was a smart dog, too. He knew his way around the old neighborhood. There was a dog store about a mile form our old apartment in the Ukrainian Village. I knew that if I started headed north, he would demand to be taken there to get a pig ear.

He loved people that brought him food. My father was the food bringer. At the office, before I could even hear the front door open a floor away, Atticus would begin barking, knowing that treats were on the way. My friend Christina once brought him a pig ear, and from then one, he loved her. Every time she came over, he would investigate her bag that had once contained the pig ear, to see if it had another.

Food? I would like some food please…

Time passed. He grew in snout, and large in belly. He was my best friend, of course, and I was his. This last week, when he was suffering from complications from surgery, if I moved too far away from his cage, he would attempt to get up and get closer to me.

I remember having to spend a night with him at a friends house, and he needed to be in a cage. He was used to getting to snuggling with me, but I was in a different room on a mattress. So he cried in his cage, till I came over with a blanket, and feel asleep with my hand through the cage on him.

We were close, to put it mildly.

Howl for the Scott in his silly costume.

He was not only sweet, but he was kind and gentle. He wanted to make you happy. On our walks, he loved people on porches or stoops. He would stop and wag his tale at them till they waved him over. And he would make them happy. It’s what he did- he made everyone as happy as he was.

I mean, everyone loved him. He’s Atticus.

I spent a lot of time at the pet ER- at least twice a day, with time in the waiting room with anxious people with sick dogs and cats. They all just wanted their beloved pets to get better.

For a while, Atticus did. Until he didn’t last night, and he never woke up. The staff did everything they could for him, and he needed the surgery. Sometimes you do everything write, you do whatever it takes, and you still end up failing.

You can look at death and shout, “Not Today!”, but sometimes it is today. Sometimes the best of us come to the end of our journey.

Before his the surgery, we took his out for one last Adventure. One last hike to Starved Rock. I was concerned because he hadn’t been doing well. He had a tumor that had to be removed. But he did did great- he hiked nearly seven miles. The key was that Christina was in front of him with a backpack full of dog treats. He’d follow dog treats to hell, I think.

Here he is, on that journey, being that magnificent beast that he was:

God, he was beautiful.

I made him as happy as I could, nearly as happy as he made me. We were paired. If there was any way for him to come back to me, I know that he would have. But our bodies are weak, and can betray us.

All I can do is what I suspect he’d want me to do- keep on living, and be as kind as he would have been. There’s a missing amount of love and kindess in the world that we would have been supplying. It’s up to me to fill the gap, and do his good dog work.

God, I miss him. Rest in peace, Atticus Priz-Mignoni. You were the greatest dog I never knew, and we are all less for not having you around.

Be at peace, my glorious dog.
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Meet Beau!

Meet Beau, wonderful doggie outside of the Morgan library!

Yes, J P Morgan was a cruel and vicious tyrant of a plutocrat, but Beau is the opposite of him!

Zounds, what a doggie! He just wants to jump up and say hello!

Hello!

He had a cone because of stitches from a misunderstanding at a dog park. He is a year old, and just about the friendliest dog I’ve met. Look at this creature!

Such a good boy! 19 out of ten, would pet again!

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Meet Bruno, wonderful doggie of Madison Square Park!

Scott Priz, dog reporter, on assignment in the lower East side of Manhaven.

Meet Bruno, an absolutely beautiful doggie on a slightly rainy day in Manhattan.When I called him over for pets, he happily came over. But first he had a good long scratch.

Oh, such a puppy! A mere 3 years old, and full of puppy joy!

Look!

Oh my! Puppy! He had a little beard, and a happy tail, and oh, such a friendly dog.

Did I pet him? You bet your last dog treat I did!

Such a good doggie! 13 out of 10, would pet again!

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Meet Lux, adorable puppy of Logan’s Square!

Scott Priz, dog reporter, on assignment in Logan’s Square.

Meet Lux, an absolutely adorable German Shepherd puppy dog that I met this evening while wandering The neighborhood.

Lux is this absolutely bundle of puppiness. She would go from me to Lisa, back and forth, getting as many pets as she could.

She was just so interested in things! There she is smelling Lisa! My word! All the sniffs and smells of the world! It’s all so new and interesting!

Sometimes Lux sits and stares, and hopes to get a treat. She usually does, as she is a very good dog!

There’s just so much to see! So much!

All in all, I was very happy I met and got to pet Lux. 14/10, would pet again.

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Why I Can’t Wait to Play Malvolio

Oh man, oh man! I am excited! At the end of June, I will be performing in a production of 12th Night, with my friends at Yes Maam Circus, at the theatre wit!

I’ve been cast as Malvolio, the “villain” of the play, at least as much as that play has a villain. And oh, Malvolio is fun to play! Every line is full of action and a bit of scenery chewing. He dominates the stage is most of the scenes he is in. And..he gets to wear beautiful cross gartered chartreuse pants! (at least in our production.)

Malvolio, courting in his cross gartered Chartreuse tights

Malvolio is not much of a villain, he’s really basically a kill-joy of the play. He doesn’t ever fall into the weirdness and chaos of the rest of the play, he instead tries to institute order upon drunken buffoons. He certainly is pompous, but he has a point- when he bursts in and shouts, “My masters, are you mad? Or what are you? “, he is defending his mourning Countess from being kept up all night by, in our production, a pack of drunken clowns.

He tries to institute order upon the world. He is basically, a puritan. Someone in the vein of Cromwell’s supporters, who would seize power in England a few decades after the play was written.

And he has ambitions that the drunken clowns take advantage of. He wants to rise above his station. Before any funny business happens with a forged letter, he declares that he wants to be Count Malvolio.

He might as well have called himself Lord Protector of England, at least as far as the other characters react to his ambition.

First the convince him that his employer and Countess is in love with him, and that he should make a buffoon of himself. Well, all’s fair in a good bit of clowning. And after he takes the Countess’s rebuffing of his antics as a sign of her love, he is carried off in triumph by the mischief makers, convinced that he will shortly be Count Malvolio.

And then things get very dark, literally. They trap Malvolio in a dark asylum, and attempt to convince him that it is not dark. They try to drive him mad, even going so far as to pretend to be a famous philosopher to make him crazier.

They are gaslighting him, even before gaslight was a thing. They leave him, desperate and confused, in a dark room, alone. And then the Clown sings a merry song, and he is left alone in the dark, questioning his own sanity.

That’s too far. He doesn’t deserve what they do to him. And he doesn’t get any closure. He escapes from the room, and burst into the final, otherwise merry scene of everyone else falling in love. He bursts into the scene, shows his love the letter that tricked him, and the whole plot is revealed.

And nothing happens to the villains. Instead, he storms out with a fantastic final line, “I’ll be revenged upon the whole pack of you.”

And that’s that for Malvolio. He is wronged and abused, and never gets his revenge. I don’t know if Shakespeare just wanted him to be a comical character- to make fun of the Puritans- or how much sympathy he is supposed to arouse in the audience. To my 21st century eyes, he doesn’t deserve that comes his way. But maybe back in the day a puritan wanting to rise above his station- to be Count Malvolio- was something so ridiculous that any measure of revenge is justified. He is a pompous target for the other characters, who are a lot more fun to be around, I imagine.

I certainly sympathize with him. And everything will be viewed through 21st century eyes, so I am going to make that asylum scene as painful as possible.

In the production that I’m part of, it’s a circus version of 12th night. I am going to be up on the trapeze, responding to the cruelties of the clowns, and putting myself into the most awkward looking and painful tricks that I can think of. (Ankle hang; shoulder stand, single and double; unicorn/carousel, spider/gladiator, and so on.) Anyone (but me) can look graceful on the trapeze- only a mad fool would attempt to look like he doesn’t know what he’s doing!

I want the audience to think, wait, that’s too far. Little too much there clowns. Maybe…not put him into such pain and attempt to drive him insane?

I’m not sure how much sympathy Malvolio was supposed to elicit. But during the asylum scene, it’s my goal to make the audience hate the clowns, if but a little.

Consider my way of getting revenge upon the whole pack of them.

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Meet Matilda! And Olivia!

Scott Priz, dog reporter, on assignment in Lincoln Park.

Meet Matilda and , and two curly puppy dogs that I met outside on DePaul’s new music center!

They were incredibly adorable! I asked to pet them, and they bound up to me to say hello!

It was very difficult to get a good picture of them! They just want to say hello so badly, they would not sit still for a photograph!

Here’s a representative photo of my attempts:

So friendly! So happy! We played for a little while, and then, alas, it was time to say goodbye! Goodbye, Olivia! Goodbye Matilda! I shall remember our 30 seconds forever!

Favorite Beatles song: Why don’t we do it in the yard. They love yards!

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Meet Otter!

Scott Priz, dog reporter, on assignment in Chicago.

Meet Otter Smith Miller.

This photograph, taken by a rank amateur, is of a glorious and wonderful dog that I was fortunate enough to run into at a local holiday party.

He is a very happy, excellent doggie. He would run from guest to guest to get as much attention as he could. Perhaps gently ask for a treat, and then get as much attention as he could.

In addition to being adorable, he is also a rank 1 snuggler, who is perfectly happy to join the guests on the couch to get maximum attention.

27 out of ten, will pet again.

Favorite Beatles Song: come together. Come together…in snuggleland!

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