Charles Schultz said it right: ‘Happiness is a Warm Puppy’. I am guessing he was a dog lover because that phrase alone truly sums it up. I have never known anything as pure and beautiful as the love I felt for and from my little dog, Canoli. People who haven’t had the chance to have a beautiful animal in their lives to love and cherish, truly are robbed of something unbelievably special.
When you really get to know a dog, you can look into their eyes and see their heart. You and your puppy learn to understand each other, and read each other’s actions, expressions, and words to the extent that you actually communicate together. I have to say, Canoli was my best teacher. I learned the most about life, the universe, humanity and ultimately myself after sharing my life with him for almost 15 years. And today, August 10th, is his birthday. And to honor and celebrate him, I decide to share a story with you.
He had many nicknames over the course of his life: Canoles, Canoliolio, Tasmanian Devil Dog, Baby Dog, Stinky, Stinker Winker, Canoli Monster-dog….and he merited and earned each and every one. The following story really shows the little Devil Dog in him!
FLASHBACK …to the days of the Canoli the Tasmanian Devil Dog
It was a Thursday night. I was heading out for what would be a long night of clubbing with my friends. I always felt bad about leaving him as I was gone all day at work, and in the evenings he would sulk when he saw that I was going out. It would tear at my heart, and he knew it did, so he sulked even more.
I walked him a couple of miles so he was tired before I went out at night, and I always tried to leave a lot of fun snacks, so he wouldn’t be bored and would amuse himself until he fell asleep from the long evening walk. Canoli’s ideas of snacks were different than most dogs. Of course he did like doggy cookies, but what he really loved most – other than Mac and Cheese and Hamburgers – were….Vegetables. He would go nuts for Romaine Lettuce and Purple Cabbage but what he couldn’t resist, what made him howl like a wolf until I caved and I gave him some, was Celery.
So on this night, thinking I was leaving a nice little surprise in his doggie bowl, I cut up 9 small pieces of celery and ran out the door. Hours later, I came home, it was 2 am and I was expecting to see him passed out as usual of the top of the sofa. I had a large beautiful L-shaped sofa. Canoli used to nuzzle himself in the soft cushions at the top of the sofa at the place nearest the window where he could watch the world and see when I came home. Normally, I found a passed out puppy, one that only woke up when I carried him down to the curb for his evening piddle.
But on this night when I returned home, Canoli wasn’t on top of the sofa….he was soundly sleeping in front of it. It seemed weird, and I started to call his name, worried he was ill or injured or something. As I walked towards the sofa, I noticed that something seemed to be sticking up from the cushion closest to me. As I got closer I recognized it was a piece of celery, and before I could get much closer Canoli woke up. Instead of coming towards me for a cuddle, he started to growl like a grizzly bear, and ran along the length of the sofa back and forth back and forth and growling like a crazy dog at me. For a moment I thought he might have gotten Mad Cow disease from a Jack in the Box hamburger or something. Then I detected that each cushion appeared to have a piece of celery on it; worse, upon closer inspection, the pieces weren’t lying on the cushions, he had buried one piece in the center of each cushion. Dug with his little paws placing a piece of celery in the hole so that just the tip of the celery was sticking up.
I was mortified. Three of the nine pieces of celery he ate, and six he buried for later…in my sofa…the one nice thing I had in my apartment…..in the center of the cushion – dead center I will add, his aim was damn good. I screamed bloody murder! I yelled his name! I called him a little Fucker! I called him bad dog! For the next 15 minutes he woofed and growled and continued to protected his prey. I was furious and finally gave in and went to bed. Canoli, stayed to watch over his loot. He didn’t get to go outside to pee and we did not share a bed that night.
When I got a look in the morning, while he was happily comping on his morning breakfast, I noticed that the sofa was basically ruined. I could turn some of the pillows over, but the ones on each end were fucked. And he wouldn’t let me take the celery out; he tried to bite me when I did. I had to wait, until he was hungry enough and went and dug himself out a little snack. Little by little the celery disappeared.
The sofa cushions that could be saved were turned over. I bought a large needle and some thick thread and tried to repair the holes. It looked awful. I bought pillows and throw blankets to hide the spots. But at the end of the day, it was ruined. At that point it kind of became Canoli’s indoor run, and I had to release it to the universe and just let go.
FLASH FORWARD TO TODAY……
You know, the funny thing about this story is that I was so upset and mad at the time, and sad that something that I loved was basically ruined. But at the end of the day it was my fault and I knew it. I had left him a snack to amuse himself with, and boy did him find something new to do – other than eat.
And now, it is a funny, warm, fond memory. And I would give anything to have him for another day and make another memory with him. So on this day, when you think of things, people, and circumstances that are driving you crazy, filling your mind with all sorts of negative energy, remember….this too shall pass. The memories that are the strongest usually stem from our most difficult or most amazing life experiences. Our minds tend to forget the mundane. So from great pain, great frustration, great heartache, great loss, or great goodness come our best memories….
Enjoy the beauty that the world has, the lessons we learn, the gifts we are given, the people and creatures that make our days brighter.
Happy Birthday Baby Dog…I miss you, Mommy.