Just as there are always several factors that cause a disaster, it also takes far more than one to achieve success. That’s certainly been true in my case. This is my account of how I became the absolutely best dog ever.
To begin with, I had the right roots; a background from a prize-winning lineage, the best breed for the purpose of being best pet ever. Don’t expect a dachshund to win a race, nor a chihuahua to herd sheep, nor a Newfoundland to fit into an Austin Mini.
An American Eskimo miniature, my ancestral roots were in the Spitz breed. I had gorgeous long, thick white fur, cute pointed ears, twinkly black eyes and black muzzle, with a dense insulating undercoat and a feathery up-curled tail that rested on my back. An American Eskimo sheds only once a year, starting January 1, ending December 31. The most endearing feature to my human was my famous American Eskimo smile, which showed my sweet disposition. The only justification for calling me an ‘American Eskimo’ is that I looked much like an Arctic fox, but I have German heritage, definitely not American.
To land in the right home, you need a perceptive and active human agent. This is how Joyce Pal sidled up to Nick after he had done an interview with another breeder.
“I also have a very special dog.”
In response, Nick teased her, “Well isn’t that nice! My last dog died recently, so I just might be interested.”
This was her winning spiel: “From your weekly columns, I know that you travel, you canoe, go flying and meet many people. As soon as you take this little girl home, you’ll have to do those things with her.” His interest was piqued, so off he went to see me. It was love at first sight, one that lasted all twelve of our years together.
My ancestors became famous for their amazing agility with the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1930s. I became rather famous for my ability to differentiate between vowels and consonants.
This is how our routine went. Nick would place a tasty morsel right in front of me, saying, “We’re going to do the Vowel-Consonant Thing. Only if you hear a vowel can you have it.” Then he’d saunter to the opposite side of the room. I just stared, drooling, and listened.
He’d slowly utter, “B…R…F…T…Z…E” Instantly, I’d devour my reward. Nobody could ever understand this. I was not given any training. No gestures were given as prompts. I just did it: A, E, I, O and U.