Her muzzle is grizzled, her age is showing, but she still has a puppy shining through her eyes. I remember the day I first held her; she slumped wearily into my lap, and quivered in fear. She was easily the saddest little creature I had ever seen. She must have been the runt of her litter.We will never know for sure, because she was found, in the animal shelter parking lot, where someone had dumped her, at about three months of age. We had gone to the shelter looking for a dog about a year old, and already housebroken, but the sight of this little thing broke our hearts. We couldn’t leave her there.
Like one at the bottom of the totem pole, she still waits by her food bowl, after it is filled, to be sure no one else wants it first, and even when hungry, she has to be encouraged, many times, to eat. That habit has not kept her from gaining weight, and she is a big fan of treats, even though she knows the rule: “NO EAT, NO TREAT!” She will try to con us, telling us she has finished eating and is ready for a treat, but when you tell her that you have to check her bowl first, if she has been fibbing, she will hang her head and tuck her tail in shame. She would happily spend her entire day being skritched on the rump, but she is not quite that spoiled – it can be exhausting!
But she has spoiled me. As most of my day is spent in bed, she spends her days in the bed with me. She is very warm in winter, and even warmer in the summer, but I am the only one that bothers – but not so much that I force her off the bed. I just maneuver myself on the bed to avoid her heat. She often ends up taking up about 75% of the available space, leaving me all bunched up in a corner. But, in spite of all, and most of all, she makes me laugh. A lot.
The jewel on her crown gave her her name. It says nothing about her “commoner” behavior. She can be a noisy handful, especially when she wants your attention and you are not able to give it to her undivided. She is clever, and can be wily, but she is also stubborn. She wasn’t especially interested in being housebroken – a task that we originally had hoped to avoid by getting an older dog. But she did finally learn; however, in the learning process she brought new meaning to “Princess and the Pea, er Pee.”
She warns us, loudly, with persistence, of all comers, or even if a leaf blows by the window. But any burglar would be soundly licked to death, just after she showed him where all the good stuff is hidden. She will prostrate herself before anyone who will give her a good skritch.
She is our Princess. She is not at all the sort of dog we thought we would have. She is exactly the dog that we need. She helped to keep me going last November when I broke my leg, and laid outside in the snow for almost three hours. You can read that story about her here, and a poeticized account of her dream of chasing bunnies here. I will tell some more Princess stores in the future, but for now, this is enough. . .