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Friday, January 24, 2014


One of my friends, Ali, posted something online yesterday that sent me on a happy voyage down Memory Lane. It was one of those funny "dog-shaming" pictures. You've seen them. A dog with a sign telling what it has done wrong, like eating a whole loaf of bread after mom and dad go to work. The picture was a dog laying tummy-up, wild-eyed, mouth open and looking like it was grinning. On the floor next to it was a handwritten sign that said something like, "It's 2:00 a.m. Let me sing you the song of my people." Of course this made me think of our sweet little Paris. For those of you who might not know, Paris was our sweet poodle. She was not a sissified, pompom-haircut-wearing kind of poodle. She was eight and a half pounds of smart, sassy, tough-playing poodle. She was a fly-five-feet-off-the-bed-and-change-direction-in-midair-to-chase-her-toy kind of poodle. And she was a talker.

Paris was always very expressive. Heck, her first evening in our home, she was laying on her side on the floor, waving her front paws, and talking and grinning. It was something we came to call her Happy Dance. She was smart enough to figure out things like cause and effect. Once, when we were packing for a move, she went to catch a toy and it bounced off her nose and landed on a stack of three boxes. She stopped and looked at the toy, which was slightly over the edge of the top box. She wagged her tail and poked the bottom box with her nose. She took a step back to see what happened, which was that all of the boxes moved a little. So she stepped up, poked the box a bit harder, and again stepped back to watch. A little more movement, and more wagging. One more firm poke, and she had retrieved her toy with no help from us. And the boxes didn't fall down, either!

Paris always had a bowl of kibble available, but sometimes, okay, oftentimes, would get a bowl of canned food as a treat. From time to time, she would decide that treat time had arrived, but that we didn't realize that it had. She would go into the kitchen, lay her front legs down with her bottom up, tail wagging, and start talking in front of the refrigerator. We'd joke that she was telling the refrigerator that she would like a bowl of canned food now, please. But I am pretty sure that she was just making sure that we remembered that there was a can of deliciousness in the fridge. And that she would be more than happy to eat it so that there would be room in there for more.

One night, though, she did wake us up at about 2:00 a.m. by "singing the song of her people." We woke from a deep sleep because she was talking, and quite loudly. She was down at the foot of the bed, posturing and talking like she did in front of the refrigerator. Then she switched to sitting and talking, or sitting up and talking. And she was facing the wall, which was even weirder. Then we turned on a few lights and figured out what was going on. There was a Miller moth sitting high on the wall, and she wasn't happy about it. Even though she woke us in the middle of the night, we had to laugh about it. Here she was, telling the moth that it needed to either vacate the premises, or at least come down a bit lower on the wall so that she could kill it. When she knew that we were awake, she made it clear that she didn't like having the moth up there on the wall where it wasn't supposed to be. So mommy jumped (stumbled) into action and dispatched the moth. Paris supervised the process, keeping an eye on the intruder to make sure that she knew where it was at all times. When she was satisfied that the moth was gone, she curled up and went back to sleep. She had fulfilled her doggy duties and alerted us about the intruder. Mommy and daddy were safe due to her late-night serenade.

While I am sure that the puppy parents whose dog was being "shamed" as a late-night singer were unhappy to be awakened by the noise, I am glad they were able to keep their sense of humor. And I am glad that their sense of humor gave me the joy of remembering some wonderful times with our little girl Paris. Even though she has been gone from us for more than a year now, we still love and miss her. I am glad for moments like this, full of memories of her that make me happy, and make my heart smile.