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August 2013

Chew on these tales of bad behavior before you add a new member to your family

Through the beveled glass oval of the front door, I could see trouble. My friend and hair-stylist Kathy Burns’ brother was not making a social call. His khaki uniform meant he had come on official business. Dogcatcher business.     The dog in question, Slip Mahoney, wasn’t home. Wherever he was, he had stirred up enough commotion to bring out the dogcatcher.     “He escaped,” I said, holding up my hands in helplessness.

Mark your calendar

Cullen Hunter knows firsthand how to help the furry paws at Calvert Animal Welfare League

What ingredients does it take to make a valuable volunteer for cats waiting for their forever home?     Cullen Hunter, 19, and his grandfather Robert Sigona — both of Dunkirk — know firsthand how to help out the hundreds of furry paws at Calvert Animal Welfare League.     Hunter started volunteering to earn his required 75 service hours at Huntingtown High School. He graduated last year but stayed on at CAWL, logging in hundreds of hours keeping cats company.

    Of course there are some who like it hot. In winter, Scruffy sits on a heat vent to warm his bottom. But in summer, Scruffy and Dewey leave the air-conditioned house and head for the warm and cozy garage. Dewey’s spot is under the car or in front of the garage door, while Scruffy lounges on top of the car or in an old lawn chair. In the garage, the boys search for bugs, lizards and mice to play with and eat — and sometimes bring into the house.

    Calvert County’s feral cat sanctuary is home to many cats who would otherwise have been destroyed, yet there is not a scruffy one among them. All have beautiful thick coats in the winter, and I wondered how each cat would manage the transition to summer.     Turns out, nature provides fallen tree limbs. Branches and still-pliable twigs serve as stationary cat-combs.

Travel Maryland with your pets

You work all week and want to relax on the weekends — get away perhaps? The only thing keeping you on the leash at home is you can’t bear to leave your furry friend behind.     Your problem is solved by Visit Maryland’s new directory of Fido-friendly destinations. The list includes places throughout Maryland where both you and your pet are welcome to visit, stay or play.

Where to find the charity of interspecies connections

Not every human is an animal lover. Slip Mahoney, the subject of one of this week’s dog stories, drove quite a few people to the other side. But he also wiggled into quite a few hearts, even some outside his immediate family. One dog sitter called him Nurse Slip, crediting him with seeing her through an illness compounded by a broken heart.

But brilliant Sirius isn’t to blame

For kids heading back to school, summer has truly gone to the dogs. But neither that nor your canine companion panting on the cold basement floor is why the hottest days of the year are referred to as the Dog Days of summer. The answer shines in the heavens in the form of a star more than 81⁄2 light years away.

Head to a new place, and the fishing gets better

It was in the middle of the week and we had our Norfolk spot for live lining caught by 7am. Jumping up on plane, we headed toward the Bay Bridge. It was already too late. The concrete supports where we had had such great luck a day earlier had two skiffs anchored at each, and our third and fourth choices were being eyeballed by a couple of approaching charter boats.

They’re building strength for a fall assault

Bay Weekly readers are asking me where the stinkbugs are.     Stinkbugs may not have plagued you this summer, but I can assure you that they are building their population.     After my fall, I have not been able to spray my few remaining peach trees or my vegetable garden. Surveying the peach trees, I could not find one peach that had not been infested with stinkbug stings. Every remaining peach was cat-faced from stings, with several stinkbugs actively feeding on them.