I am 1 years old today and Mum and Daddy say it is my birthday! I try very hard but it is hard to remember when I lived Up North with my little Mother, handsome Father, one sister and two brothers. One brother left before me and my Mother told me we would all go away to far off lands; which I did when I came here to live with Mum and Daddy and old Lily not far from the big city; Minneapolis. Though I had not thought of it before, I wonder where they went; if it is as wonderful as my home at Rose Cottage. . .
It is summer now and hot, hot, hot! We can only go outside a little bit at a time because the air is so heavy and it is hard to breathe; especially if we run. I love to run. I walk out into the yard, almost to the fence, then, wait until Mum calls “Mollllllllllllllllllllllly!” and run as fast as I can back to where she sits with Daddy on the patio by the pond under a big umbrella. It is shady there and Mum sprinkles water from her glass onto my head but I am still hot, hot, hot! Mum’s face and shoulders glisten and I think she looks like a fairy queen made of mist. Pretty soon she sighs and picks up her glass to take us in to the cool house. Daddy sits out a bit longer (he likes the hot) but we spread ourselves out on the cool hardwood floors while Mum collapses into a chair or the sofa.
Mum calls me back from the fence line but it is the gate that I like best. I figured out how to duck my head around a leg and push – and EUREKA; I am out onto the driveway. Twice I only made it to the end before Daddy called me back with the promise of a treat but once, I ran all the way to a neighbor’s house and Daddy had to pick me up and carry me back to Mum’s arms where she was waiting with my halter and leash. It was so exciting to see new places but not so much when I saw the tears in Mum’s eyes and Grandma scolding us all as we walked back to Rose Cottage. I do not understand why Mum cries and screams when I am exploring. She says the yard is more than big enough for me to explore and I need not go out into the cruel world. She says I do not know about cars and other dogs and she cannot protect me when I’m outside the fence. I think I do not need protection when the breeze blows by my ears and I get closer to all the sounds I hear outside the fence but I do not want Mum to cry so I tell myself I must be good; if I can help it.
Mum doesn’t like the way Lily and I play. Lily grabs all the toys from me (they are disappearing fast because Mum says they are no good after I chew their stuffing out). Only Squirrelly and Smokey Bear are left of all the other toys and most of their stuffing is gone but there is still enough to play with so Mum puts them in our toy box for us to take back out and leave them in the middle of the floor. We have two balls, too; an old yellow one for Lily and a new, pink one for me. I like to run and catch the balls when Mum throws them into the kitchen but then Lily takes them away and they eventually end up under the sofa, against the far wall. When I was little I loved going under the sofa to hide and rest but now that I am big; I must squash myself against the floor and drag myself under. I still sometimes do it when Mum is lying on the sofa (I like to hear her breathing above me) but it is not really worth retrieving a ball when Lily will only take it away and send it spinning back against the baseboard.
I am much bigger than old Lily. She seems to get tinier by the day. Mum says she is the size of my Mother – 18 or 19 pounds. I am 30 pounds and slightly taller and longer so I am a big girl. Mum cannot lift me anymore. I am stronger than her, too, so she can’t clip my nails when I wrestle out of her grasp. Lily is old, now, but she still can move fast to take my toys away. I have learned to growl back and bare my teeth like she does. Sometimes I get really mad and jump on top of her, holding her head with my paws and nipping at her ruff. She always fights back – no one gets the best of her! Then Mum reaches over and pulls me off, telling me “No No!” and, if I don’t stop snarling, swats my nose. She says I am too big to land on top of her old girl. I can’t believe she feels sorry for Lily! She usually starts it. Oh well.
The best ‘trick’ I have learned now that I am 1 years old is the get up on the tables and grab whatever I can find. Lily told me once that, when there was something called carpet in the house, she would jump up on the dining room chairs and drink the tea out of Mum’s cup. She said she liked the milk Mum puts into it. When I came, the carpet was gone and we have shiny wood floors all around. Lily doesn’t like the way the chairs move so she does not even try to jump on them anymore. But I have learned to push them across the floor until they are stable against the wall and then I can jump up onto their cushiony seats. Sometimes they don’t move to where I want so I bark, bark, bark at them until I can figure out how to jump up. And, once I was there, they were too far away from anything to do something fun. Daddy always laughs when he sees all four chairs pushed away from the table against the dining room walls but Mum just shakes her head (even though she was smiling, too) and say they had not seen the worst of this trick – and she was right!
One day, Mum picked up my rawhide and put it in a basket on the chest next to the kitchen door. I watched where she put it and tried to stand up against the chest but my nose would just go over the edge; not even close to the basket. I wanted that rawhide more than I could stand it! I jumped up, up, up and stretched my neck as far as I could but I could not reach the basket. I complained with a bark, bark, bark but Mum was unyielding, scolding me to stop such rudeness and to come sit with her in the other room.
When she was settled on the sofa, I stood up and pushed Daddy’s chair up to the chest. Then I jumped right up and it was only a moment before my nose was in the basket and the rawhide was in my teeth. When I came into the living room with it in my mouth, Mum jumped up and grabbed it; then ran into dining room to survey the scene of the crime.
“I think you are a circus dog!” she began to laugh and rolled Daddy’s chair back to its place at the dining room table.
Still, she didn’t give me back the rawhide -- until the next day.
Anyway; today is my First Birthday and it is the most beautiful day. It is not hot, like it’s been and the grass smells sweet and the breeze across my nose is cool. Mum lets me go in and out, in and out and I’ve been doing it all morning until Daddy came in and shut the screen door because, he says, he does not want bugs in the house. Mum says we will wait until tomorrow to get my nails clipped (hooray!) and that I shall have a special T-R-E-A-T (she spells it but I know what those letters, all together, are) after supper.
I hope my brothers and sister have as happy a life as I do, turning one-year old at Rose Cottage!