DRESSING THE DOG
Chapter 1 (Part Two)
I grew up on a small, southern island on the eastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is covered in the most beautiful majestic great oaks, dripping with Spanish moss. Huge Palmetto palms and great Southern pines fill in the carefully tended landscape, with azalea bushes and hydrangeas of every color blooming forth every spring and summer. We live behind a little private park in an upscale, secluded neighborhood. The house is set far off the road with lots of open yard in the front to run and play, and the backyard is bordered by a large creek, sourced by the intra-coastal waterway that almost cuts our little island in half. We love to sit out back in the gazebo that sits perched over the water and watch the boats of all shapes and sizes slowly cruise past… barking our hellos at each one as the occupants waive vigorously to us. Tiny white lights are strung from the rafters and encircle the ceiling, giving off the most romantic light at night. Sofas, chairs and outdoor lamps and tables give the whole thing a cozy feeling, and when the breezy salt air rustles through, you honestly never want to leave. And that is where Mummy spends many afternoons reading and napping with our little furry gang… her little “Yorkshire terrorists” as she likes to call us. She always makes us wear a life jacket when we are near the water… for safety reasons… just in case someone should fall into the creek and be washed away by the strong current. In all the years we have been out there, it has never happened, not once… but Mummy said if we hadn’t worn our jackets, it SURELY WOULD HAVE!
Our little island is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one long side… which has the best beaches for running and spending the day. We are lucky that dogs are allowed to come onto the beach, and although the rules vary from season to season, we can always find time to get down there and play. From Memorial Day until Labor Day there are NO DOGS allowed from 8am until 5pm… then after 5pm they are allowed on a leash. From Labor Day until Memorial Day dogs are allowed on the beach anytime on a leash OR under GOOD VOICE CONTROL… and THIS is our FAVORITE TIME to go because we love running crazy-mad down the flat, hard-packed, dark grey, sandy beach. When Mummy and Daddy clap their hands, we ALWAYS come running back… maybe stopping a few times to smell something interesting in the sand…usually some sort of dead sea-life that MUST be investigated! The other side of the island is made up of mostly marsh and is not good for much of anything that we can tell. Nature lovers will spend all day in kayaks and canoes on that side of the island and it is reported to be very peaceful there. I guess they enjoy watching the birds and the dolphins but there is no beach to run on and no dead stuff buried in the sand, so we don’t see much use for it, actually.
Now, hear me out. Up until my arrival in the family, Mummy had NEVER put a single hair-bow on one of her little dogs, or bought a single t-shirt or harness for one either. In fact, when she THOUGHT about dogs wearing clothes, she thought of that famous picture of the dogs playing poker, and the whole idea of it sort of freaked her out. She said they just looked TOO HUMAN or something, sitting there around that poker table smoking and drinking. I KNOW! If you have ever seen my hair-bow collection and my closet full of harnesses, dresses, sweaters and t-shirts you are in shock about now. And the whole thing got started because of a little collar and a matching leash. Mummy was so happy once she got me home that she decided I must have THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COLLAR AND MATCHING LEASH that the world had ever seen. She searched the local pet stores but couldn’t find “THE COLLAR.” Someone at work suggested that she try the internet but Mummy had NEVER been on the internet. Honestly, she barely knew how to turn on our home computer. “How do you do that?” she asked. “EASY,” they said. “Just type in: DOG COLLAR and watch what happens… then start shopping.” Site after site of doggie boutiques flashed before her eyes. It was like CHRISTMAS!!!
It didn’t take long to find THE MOST ADORABLE pale pink velvet collar with baby pink embroidered flowers and mint green leaves trailing vine-like around the collar. There was a matching leash too. Into the shopping cart they went. Up until that point, she had only searched the COLLARS & LEASHES categories and hadn’t bothered to check out the CLOTHING sections… what with the dogs playing poker image stuck in her head and all. But that day, she decided to just LOOK and see what was in the CLOTHING section… since she was already on the site anyway. The first little t-shirt was full of flouncy ruffles from top to bottom and looked like a baby clown outfit. Mummy said OMGOSH that looks RIDICULOUS! She clicked on the next outfit. HAHAHAHA, what a silly looking shirt!!!! Who would buy that?!?!?! She moved on to the next outfit. And there it was… a sweet little white t-shirt with tiny pink flowers along the bottom edge. Ohhhhh, now that is really cute. That would look SO SWEET on Millie. ADD TO CART. She thought she better get a cute little hair-bow to match the t-shirt, while she was at it. ADD TO CART. And that is how it got started. After a few shopping trips, she had several outfits but NOW needed something to hang them on, so she bought a handy wooden T-stand that would hold 6 outfits and included 6 wooden hangers. It wasn’t long before it was all filled up and she asked Daddy if he could make her 2 more hangers to match the ones that she already had. After-all, she had 8 outfits and only 6 hangers!!! If could say one thing about my Mummy, it’s that she is a perfectionist. Everything has to match… and nothing is out of order. Daddy said, “8 OUTFITS! How many clothes does a little dog need???” That would later be a question that no one in our house would EVER be able to honestly answer, and Daddy finally stopped asking. Since Bebe and Sophie were so much older than I was, Mummy never tried to put them in clothes but she did buy Sophie a few hair-bows. Bebe never cared for the bows and since Mummy kept her hair trimmed back enough where her hair didn’t fall into her eyes, she didn’t really need one. Once hair-bows came into the house, Sophie and I always had a topknot adorned with a bow. Elvis missed out on the clothes AND the bows. He just stood quietly on the sidelines and watched as the world of fashion entered our home. Something had happened here that NO ONE saw coming… Mummy was dressing the dog!
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