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Mishegas of A Dog’s Life

Finally, I have a column/blog of my own. I’m Luci, the apricot toy poodle whom many of you have come to know from reading my mom’s “Mishegas of Motherhood” columns over the years. Only this time I’m doing the talking.

My mom and I have been together eight years, every since I was six weeks old, (but who’s counting?). We met when I was the size of a bloated hamster and fit inside the palm of her hand. With my soft curly hair, tiny pink tongue, and stub for a tail, I looked more like a Beanie Baby than a puppy, which made it easy for my mom to tuck me in her t-shirt or tote bag and sneak into Sam’s club, elementary school, and restaurants with hardly anyone noticing. Now I’m full grown, a whole seven pounds, but my mom still carries me over her shoulder and gently pats my back like she did when Jack and Sari were infants. I’ll always be her baby.

“Mama wuvs woo soooo much,” she tells me all day long and kisses my face even though people think that a dog’s mouth is unsanitary. She doesn’t seem to care about germs when it comes to smooching me. I don’t mind being spoiled. When I look at her with my big brown eyes and tilt my head to the side, 10 times out of 10 I get what I want. I don’t ask for much, maybe a peanut butter biscuit, a belly rub, my squeaky rubber hamburger toy stuck under the coffee table. In return I’m always there for my mom. I lay on the chair next to her when she writes at the computer. And I never stray when we venture outside and walk side by side—without a leash—unless I see a rabbit and then my dog instinct kicks in, and I can’t myself. A chase ensues. I don’t intend to hurt the frightened little bunny. I just wanna play.

Anyway, I’m grateful that my mom gave me my own blog called “It’s A Dog’s Life”. My mom’s dream is for me to write my own book. And it’ll happen, as long as she continues to listen, does the typing, and takes me to pet blessings once in a while at temple. (Dog is God spelled backwards, you know). Meanwhile this online diary is good place to start. In fact, I encourage all moms to get inside their dog’s head and heed the advice of the enlightened canine:

• have a little fun everyday
• nap when you’re tired
• eat cookies
• cherish and protect your loved ones
• listen to each other, really listen

Dogs can’t talk like people, but we are excellent nonverbal communicators. And we know how to listen. It’s what we do best. This whole channeling my thoughts idea got started after my mom discovered a whole new literary world of dog books out there, including “Marley and Me”, “Huck”, and “What a Difference a Dog Makes”, not to mention the “The Encyclopedia of Dog”, which is a coffee table book that adorns the round ottoman in the finished basement and, much to mom’s dismay, has become a useful coaster for Jack’s wet plastic drinking cups. Anyway, this big, fat book contains lots of colored photos and descriptions of every kind of dog imaginable, including the poodle, which is known as the most intelligent and most elegant breed in the world, thank you very much. I can’t figure out why people pay big bucks for so-called designer poodles and intentionally mix my superior kind with other breeds like the Airedoodle, Bich-poo, Boxerdoodle, Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Malti-poo, etc. To me, it doesn’t seem natural. If people want the perfect family dog—smart, pretty, friendly, and non allergic—then stick with a poodle, you can’t go wrong.

Currently, my mom is engrossed in Garth Stein’s bestselling novel “The Art of Racing in the Rain” written in the voice of a wise Golden Retriever named Enzo who teaches his owner Denny about life, as most dogs will do when you listen to them.

My mom hasn’t quite mastered the new skill of using her turquoise half spectacles that balance on the bridge of her nose and magnify the words, but it sure makes reading easier on her older, tired eyes. Reading someone else’s words is a good escape for my mom—and me, not that I need an excuse to chill out—because during those special times I get to curl into a ball and lay on top of the cozy copper-colored fleece blanket that blends so nicely with my hair (poodles have hair, not fur, by the way, which is why we don’t shed).

I let out a little growl—never exposing my teeth, of course—every time she flips through another chapter and adjusts her position on the leather couch. Can’t she appreciate how hard I work to fluff up the blanket just so and make a nest for myself in between her legs? I forgive her; I always do. That’s another admirable quality of a dog besides being a good listener. I always forgive and never hold a grudge even when my family is away all day and I’m left at home to wander the rooms, watch Animal Planet on television, and nap wherever I desire, usually on the silky brown comforter in the office so that I have a view out the window.

Back to the book…when my mom comes to a sad part about how Enzo lays by the bedside of Eve who’s suffering from brain cancer (I don’t want to give anything away), I hear her sniffle and notice a big tear plop on the page. That’s when I’m called to duty. I quickly crawl up to my mom and lick the wetness from her face. My kisses turn her sadness into a little smile. That’s another fine quality of a dog, intuitively knowing when someone needs our love. After my task is complete, I return to my resting spot, curl back into the shape of a roly-poly and prop my chin on her knee.

Relaxing comes easy to me, but not for most humans. My mom’s always moving around, in and out, up and down, and, quite frankly, this new habit of texting is getting on my nerves. Every time I hear the phone “ping ping” my ears perk up, and I have to jump off her lap so that she can retrieve her message. I know I’m in trouble when she takes her phone with us on our morning strolls. We have to come to a complete stop on the sidewalk so that she can text somebody who has the nerve to interrupt our special time together. I sit and wait at her feet until she’s done, which brings me to yet another respectable trait for a dog, patience, especially when I have my own business to take care of…tinkling on a tree and sniffing the grass for buried treasures like a potato chip, a chewed up piece of peppermint gum, or a shriveled worm.

Anyway, I’m hoping my mom’s latest summer read, “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, will inspire her in the same way that “Tales from the Appalachian Trail” stirred her creative juices. After reading that popular novel for book club, she wrote a funny column about camping that won a national writing contest and landed her in Hollywood.

I’m keeping my paws crossed for good luck again.

Until next time…woof!…well, I am a dog.