I woof you so much it hurts

For many of us, loving a pet comes with many rewards but understanding our pets can be sometimes challenging – unless you have a dog like my Violet Von Schhnorkenheimer. This now-12lb bundle of joy has no issues communicating with me, or anyone else for that matter.

For example, last week Violet went to visit my dear friend Jeanne who is doing extremely well – recovering from surgery – and sat quietly on her bed. Until the moment a specific woman entered the room. (Let’s call her Madame X.) Violet had a thing for Madame X and let everyone know it: each time she entered the room Violet would stand up and be not one bit friendly to her, barking and barking. Later we would understand why Violet had such issues with her: that night Madame X was caught rifling through Jeanne’s drawers in search of her valuables! Luckily enough Jeanne was advised when she checked in not leave anything of value in the room. Once Jeanne called me and told me about this, I took Violet in my lap and looked right at her cute brown and white face and said, “You were trying to tell us something yesterday, you’re a good girl”. Violet did not trust this person one bit and her behavior proved it. Now I know. As for Jeanne, well she was relocated to another facility the next day. Better meals, and private rooms with the most amazing staff.

That said, having Violet since she was nine weeks old I found this continuous new type of barking and display rather odd, as she is always excited to meet new people, but not Madam X as somehow she knew she could not be trusted.

When friends come over Violet is filled with joy to see her friends and to be taken out. She is the perfect lady and if Daddy can’t go along she is happy to go with her girlfriends. Barbara, when sleeping over, loves to cuddle with her as she dozes off, but then Violet wanders to my room in the middle of the night to give her Daddy some love and to check in. But wait – she then returns to Barbara before the morning light so she’s there to wake up with her. (Sneaky, but still adorable!)

Paul arrives and Violet begins a dance of excitement and has even been known to leak a couple of pee-pee drops as a way to say, “Oh my god, I love you sooo much it hurts and I’ve missed you so much I just had to go, did I get your shoes?” She has also started to add a high-pitched whine of longing when someone she loves has arrived but is not yet close enough to touch; it’s honestly the most heart-rending, despair-filled whimper you’ve ever heard. Talk about loving you so much it hurts!

Geri visits me – or is she only here to see Violet? – and again Violet does her dance, but with Geri she goes for a nibble on her nose each and every time – I guess because, well, she can. The UPS Driver or anyone else coming to the door for the first time is always greeted with a barking frenzy, and she will only stop when you drop what you are doing and say hello and pet her properly. Only then she will she decide, “OK, you are clear for entry” or “Nope I don’t like the way this looks, I’ll bark some more until you leave my house!” And can you believe it she gets it right, every time.

Truth be told, Violet loves everyone who takes the time to say hello and introduces themselves to her. Together we are welcomed to many homes and public places, but every once in a while there is one person who is not accommodating. Last Wednesday, at my lecture in Rhode Island, I was told over the phone that Violet was welcome, but when I arrived in person they refused to let her in. In the end, I refused to put Violet in the car and she did what she had done all along – stayed in her carrying case until she wanted to get some attention, and popped out to say “Can we talk about how pretty I am?” And she is.

Almost 9 months old and Violet is becoming a true lady. She has many friends that take her places, she loves to wear the finest jewels and enjoys traveling and meeting new people in fun places. Just like us she also has a keen sense of awareness that we (us humans) sometimes miss – we do not always trust our own gut instincts, but with Miss Violet by my side, I cannot dismiss that perhaps she knows something I don’t know. The truth hurts – she does!