Mad & Plaid

Collecting Dogs Part V – Meet Mad

Hello, I am back!  I have missed writing.  I don’t know why I stopped but I am sure it had to be due to the next dog I will introduce you to.  The unexpected passing of your first dog as a married couple is one of the hardest lessons to face.  I just wasn’t coping with the grief.  St. Hubert’s Shelter in Madison, NJ held grief counseling classes for people dealing with either a death of their pet or one with a terminal illness.  The crazy thing was that I had to walk through the kennels to get to the back conference room for the sessions.  I wonder in hindsight if that was their plan all along.  I remember sitting next to an older gentleman who just wept about his cat who was battling and losing the cancer fight.  We all held pictures of our beloved pets in our hands.

Each week I went, all the dogs had signs on their cages saying “I’m Adopted”.  All but one.  She always had her back to me and was sleeping.  She was a chunkier version of her sister next door who had been adopted.  I think everyone thought she was sick.  She wasn’t.  She just loved to sleep.  Like me.  I love a good sleep.  I couldn’t handle seeing her be the only one not wanted, so as I left that last night of therapy, I went to the front desk and said I’ll take her.  Here begins the story of Maddy.

Fast forward a few months in and I was dealing with a wild thing.  We never knew how old Maddy was but we guessed about 8 months old.  She was nothing like our first dog who could do no wrong.  She got into everything like destroying an upholstered recliner right down to the frame in a matter of hours to almost setting the house on fire.  Really.  I arrived home just as the Fire Chief pulled in and there was Maddy looking out our kitchen door in a cloud of smoke wagging her tail.

We planned a trip with the kids, and I dropped Maddy off to the boarding facility near our home.  As I turned her over to the owner, I said I am afraid I made a very big mistake adopting her.  I was crying and tired and wanted my old dog back.  The owner was so caring and said to me “one day, you will say to yourself, this is the best dog I have ever had”.  And she was.  For the next 14 years she was my constant companion, love of my life Mad-dog.

Its All About Plaid

My earliest memory for my love of plaid, especially tartan plaid, was when I was very young. My Aunt Linda and Uncle Tom Breen owned a restaurant/ski lodge at the base of the Catamount Mountains in Upstate New York called The Swiss Hutte. My uncle was a trained chef and friends with the famous Chef Jacques Pepin. My uncle introduced me to my first grilled lambchop and my first chocolate mousse. He was a phenomenal chef. I can remember so many details about the lodge. Beautiful wood paneling throughout that brought warmth to the entire building. The bar was so large and above it held mugs with frequent visitors/guests with their names on them. My Aunt Linda was German and her accent was just beautiful. She was the perfect hostess. I loved watching her write out the menu for the dining room each evening.

I never met a dog I didn’t like

My family (The Fogarty’s) along with our cousins, The Breens, spent a Thanksgiving at the Inn. There was one particular room that I can remember like it was yesterday. Picture a small room off the main dining area with red tartain plaid wall to wall carpet, couches on either side and warm lamp lighting. There were two separate staircases off the room. The Breens to the right and the Fogarty’s to left. My cousin and I would meet in the middle room and just play on that rug. I remember feeling so welcome and excited to be there all together as a family. So that feeling of warmth and plaid has been with me almost my entire life. Wherever I live, I will always have a room with plaid.

MacKenzie Childs

I am an avid MacKenzie Childs fan and one of their older patterns was called The Maclachlan series. It pays homage to the creator’s Scottish roots. The purple and green roping on the dishes represent the Scottish thistle of the highlands. This china fits nicely with my tartan collection in my library. I am still tempted to get wall to wall red tartan carpet but just haven’t pushed the button! Maybe soon.

I love the warm woods of old antique furniture, dings and all
Peel & stick tartan wallpaper for my bookshelves. It was about an inch short on each side so I used vintage leather belts along the sides to create a one of a kinds look.
I just had to create my own version of a MacKenzie chess set. Tedious work but so worth it in the end. Chess anyone?

If you have time, please look up the The Swiss Hutte which is still in operation. The photos are wonderful and many things have not changed. I contacted the owners and look forward to visiting and reliving some wonderful memories.

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