LP had always been a big dog person.That doesn't mean she didn't like small dogs.She loves all animals.Period.Large,small, medium and every species , breed or non breed, in between.It's not that.You know when you're young , you have this idea of who or what you are going to be when you grow up.You actually believe you can control the entire outcome of your life, down to what your home, children or non-children, job and bank account will look like. Well during that (delusional) time of her life, LP had always been a big dog person.She liked really big dogs like Irish Wolfhounds,and Grey hounds,Great Danes,and Standard Poodles.Or she could settle for what she then considered to be medium sized dogs like a Chesapeake retriever,or a Portuguese water dog,a Golden retriever, or a Husky.She also liked dogs that had all sorts of breeds in them and ended up looking like wolves or bears or lions.Or looking like something really, really, big-but not an elephant.
LP didn't grow up in a family of animal lovers and as hard as she tried to bring home pets (that she lured or abducted) other than two guinea pigs,she remained almost pet free during her entire childhood.So when she finally reached a point when she felt settled enough to bring home a dog(she had already had a cat named Tamus but that is another story), to share her life with, she knew what she wanted.Yes, you guessed it. A BIG dog.But at that time in her life, LP had fallen in love with a human and that human wanted a cock-a-poo.Cock-a-poos (and LP who had never heard of these dogs could barely say cock-a-poo without feeling slightly uncomfortable and vaguely dirty), were a far cry from Irish Wolfhounds.But you know what they say, young love is dumbest or maybe that should be blind(est) and LP went along with the human and adopted Masala,a cock-a-poo.The human relationship would end, Masala would stay to live eighteen glorious years with LP, and life with Masala the cock-a-poo was sweet and good.But onward with our present story.
When LP went back to school for her second degree she lived with a family who bought a maltese puppy during her year with them.The maltese, Allegra,whom LP ironically named, bonded almost exclusively with Masala and LP. The family encouraged LP to take Allegra with her when she moved and so of course LP did.Isadora, fell into LP's life at a mere four months of age when a family couldn't keep her. Duffy came to stay after a friend who owned him suddenly died.That's four small dogs that circumstantially found their way into LP's heart but never once did her dreamy, large dog ever come knocking at her garden gate. These days LP is not sure she will ever have a large dog or if it is even necessary.She has experienced BIG love in her small dogs and is happy with that.
Twenty-two years ago when Masala first came into LP's life you never saw people out and about with their small dogs-especially not in forests or on hikes.Small dogs were kept almost exclusively in backyards and in people's homes. LP was determined she would always treat her small dog like a dog and made certain to provide Masala with adventures and a variety of smells every day of her life.She did the same for Allegra and now also treats Issa and Duffy that way.
Small dogs have just as much energy as large dogs and just as much stamina if introduced to activity from puppyhood but unlike most large dogs, they can get chilled during colder weather.Enter the small dog wardrobe.It's a must if you intend to keep them outdoors for long periods of time during the winter months.LP has always been sensible about the dogs' winter wardrobes.Good solid coats that are rainproof or sweaters that are well made.Nothing frivolour, fancy, cutsie or impractical and absolutely no pink.They were small dogs but deserved to maintain their dignity.It was easy with Masala-she simply wouldn't tolerate any coat or sweater on her at all and at nearly twenty pounds,she was on the large side of a small dog.Allegra allowed LP to put on her sweater and coat during the cold months but would scrape against carpets, chairs, anything, if groomers put ribbons in her fur, until she eventually rubbed them off.
Allegra(12 yrs.old) on an adventure wearing her winter coat.
Issa absolutely loves pretty things.She never tries to protest any ribbons or sweaters that she dones and she loves to strike poses and remind you how incredibly delicious she looks.Duffy is tolerant and seems to realize he will keep warmer in the end if he wears the coat.His fur is naturally scruffy so any ribbons grooomers put on him quickly fall off.
Issa loves pretty things but in actuality she has very few pretty things.She is LP's third small dog and as such, she has received many hand me downs from the other dogs over the years.Mostly collars and sweaters that were too small but bought for the others,or which they wore or used as puppies.Isadora is now nine years old and everything changed for her when she came home from the groomer's last week.And with that LP will put down her pen before she lulls you to sleep!
Our story will continue tomorrow.
See you then.
the critters in The Cottage