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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Belle of the Ball, Shoe and Bra


Several other unfortunate incidents made me consider, with angst-ridden guilt, returning my willful pup to her North Carolina kennel. Bella, as if reading my mind, turned nice immediately. She became obedient, polite, calm, and devoted overnight. Night turned into day. Puppy love resumed.

YOUNG ADULT: She has replaced nips and bites with kisses. The word "kiss" is one of her 200 word-vocabulary favorites and she kisses on command. We never intended to show Bella, but don't tell her that. Her presence and commanding strut are far more seductive than any supermodel's.

Previously on walks she would tug on her leash while simultaneously tripping me and shredding my trousers. Now my little champ obediently heels all along the length of the Carl Schurz Park promenade. Her elegant gait, soulful eyes, alert erect head, stretched out tail , floppy golden ears and feathers gently blowing in the wind are an arresting sight. Everybody stops to admire her. She looks up at me if she wants to say hello to them. I give her permission to "break" the "heel" and she greets them enthusiastically. She looks at me again seeking permission to kiss them.

She has replaced her systematic destruction of shoes and underwear with careful and thoughtful management of these items. At night she secretes them in her den (which is under our bed). There they are safeguarded with her own most treasured possession, her tennis ball. In the morning she returns them to us. In addition, she has elevated herself from cat bad-deed instigator to cat monitor. If Blossom, our cat, starts manicuring her nails on our furniture or rugs, Bella officiously chases her away.

Bella has also taken responsibility for guarding the house. Foxglove Cottage is secluded and surrounded by woods and lake. Whenever anyone approaches the house via the long steep stone steps, Bella rushes the intruder and actually holds him at bay on the stairs, barking, growling and lunging. She has never hurt anyone but our visitors don't know that and are afraid to move. The only way she will let the visitor pass is if I put my hand on their shoulder or shake hands with them. It is our "safe" gesture. I did not teach her that. Indeed, she taught it to me.

SENIOR: Bella is sweeter and more affectionate than ever. Though she is quite lame, she keeps up with her self-assigned work. She does not have as acute a sense of order as she once did, so now we might find our socks, shoes or underwear in a neighbor's house or outside or not at all. Also, when she brings them to us now, they might be mismatched. Still, she guards the house when she is not in too deep a slumber to hear suspicious noises. She can no longer make it up the stone stairs without great difficulty. However, she now sits under an old three-trunk birch tree with a perfect view of the stairs. She will bark to alert me whenever she sees a car or person approaching. She still keeps the squirrels in line. She also swims many times every day, rolling in the grass to dry herself before returning to her post under the tree.

Now that it is spring, when I brush her, I leave the removed tufts of her hair on the lawn so birds can use them for building their nests. While reaching for my garden hose today, I startled a bird who was busy making her nest in a nook between our cottage's roof and drain pipe. I was startled as well. She flew down and landed on a branch about an inch away from my nose. There we stood beak to nose. Neither of us budged. It was among the prettiest sights I have ever seen. In her beak she had a bundle of Bella's hair, which she was using in the construction of her nest. It was also the prettiest sentiment. Bella has made a complete turnabout. In her dotage she has gone from birdivore to bird-adore -- benefactor of birds.


  1. In addition to a 200 word vocabulary,Bella also has a theasaurus,an encyclopedia and a book of puns;All of which have helped Bella in the development of her vast communication skills Empire.
    Before she retired to her Shire,she was the only dog known to have been hired to give lectures to other dogs internationally, to help them with their communication,hunting and feeding skills. What a Beast!
    She will be appearing on Dancing with the Stars in the Fall of 2011.
    Look for it.

  2. All that is true anonymous, but I cannot include all her accomplishments--the posts would have been too long. As I write,Bella is already practicing her moves for dancing with the stars and analyzing the stock market. Woof

  3. I have observed Bella obey the command "Bring Shoe" followed by "Bring other shoe"--and always ends up being a matched pair of footwear!