"Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war...."
-- Julius Caesar

"Life...is a tale...full of sound and fury...."
-- Macbeth

"No woman can be too rich or too thin."
-- Wallis Simpson

"Let them eat cake."
-- Somebody, but not Marie Antoinette

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


My tail is curly. It looks like a cinnamon bun when it is rolled up tight. It stays rolled up tight when I'm barking furiously at the neighbors who have the nerve to let me see them out the window. It stays rolled up tight when I'm eating my dinner, and when I am sitting at attention. When I want something from you and you are looking my way, I crinkle my forehead to look a little alarmed and a little worried then I twitch my tail, just barely, to indicate my intention. When I am lying down, and you walk toward me, I stay perfectly still while I look up at you with wide, liquid eyes and wag the cinnamon bun side to side in a slightly wider arc. In your peripheral vision my tail wagging looks like a butterfly.

I am only aware of my tail when you try to straighten it. Then I give you a dirty look.

Duncan has no tail awareness. He thumps it, rhythmically and with force, against walls and doors and cabinets. Lying down, he thumps it against the floor in the morning when our daddy asks him if he is hungry. Lying down, he thumps it against the floor when the Ones With the Thumbs talk about him, or say his name, or lean over to rub his tummy. They can pull his tail and he doesn't mind.

His tail is as long as me. When I stand behind him and he's excited, his tail thumps against my face.

Curiously, the Ones With the Thumbs have no tails. I wonder if these phenomena correlate. Does giving up a tail mean getting thumbs? Sort of like the Little Mermaid who got legs but lost her voice. But who wants thumbs when you can use your tail to coerce someone into getting your treat for you?

On Agitation and Alarm

The other day Duncan went outside and no one was there to let him back in. The Ones With the Thumbs were elsewhere in the house, not paying attention. Duncan, who is patient, waited for a long while at the door barked to get back in. Silly, silly Duncan. Doesn't he know that the way to get what you want is to agitate for it? I, Poppy, am often agitated -- many times for no apparent reason.

On this occasion, alarmed by Duncan's exile behind the big, oak door, I began to agitate for his reinstatement back into the house. I began to bark with conviction. "He's outside! He's outside! Someone curtail this disaster! He's outside!" Inspired by my cries for help, Duncan began to bark, too. My Mommy appeared. I looked at her with wide eyes, full of concern that we were inside and Duncan was Out There. I looked at the crack under the door, where I could see the shadow of Duncan's paws. I kept barking. "Look! Do you realize he's out there!"

Oh happy day! She let him in! As he came rushing through the door, I jumped up on him. Standing on my hind legs I put my forepaws up by his face and gave him a kiss. Sweet victory. If it hadn't been for me, I am sure Duncan would have been outside forever.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Garden Fence

My parents have made a place for a garden. They have enclosed it with a small picket fence. I am not sure why they have done this, but it doesn't matter. The little fence is attached to a larger fence, of which several pickets are missing. The little fence is too high to jump over, but I can fit through the spaces in the larger fence. So I just go through and into the garden, where there are little seedlings taking root. My parents have witnessed my cunning and have attempted to barricade the open fence. But the wind helps me, and blows over the barricade.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Doing My Job

Occasionally, it becomes necessary for me to offer assistance that only I can provide. For example, who else around here has a bark like a siren? So when my mommy gets up from her desk to run an errand in another part of the house, I go along to provide an escort, alerting everybody that she's coming and to get out of the way, much like the police in a presidential motorcade. It works. No one can fail to notice her sudden appearance in say, the kitchen or the living room when I announce her arrival.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

On Wanting to Be Fed at 3:30 But the Humans Say it's Too Early

I, Poppy, am frustrated by my empty bowl. Therefore, I kick it around a little, so that it makes an obnoxious scraping sound on the floor. (Actually, it is Duncan's bowl, but it is synonymous with my bowl, so the symbolism still works regardless of which prop I use to stage my drama). Then, I give two, short, high pitched barks. When no one responds appropriately, I repeat the action, but with more urgency. My mommy turns to look at me. I look into her eyes meaningfully. My mouth is set, my forehead furrowed. She must see my desperation. She must be moved by my determination. My exasperation only increases when Mommy ignores my direct order. Such insubordination on the part of one whom I wish to control so thoroughly (she has thumbs and height enough to reach the treat jar -- she is so necessary to my ultimate plan for Total Kitchen Domination) only increases the frequency and pitch of my barking. The creases in my forehead deepen. Then she has the audacity to say, "Dogs don't eat until five around here." She walks out of the room. I, Poppy, remain unfed while some how being fed up.

Friday, April 25, 2008

2:46 p.m. Blues

Oh! Surly we have been abandoned! Where are our humans? Why are they not here to feed us? Lonely, so lonely.

Being Small in a Big World

Last night my daddy came home from a party late, after mommy and I had gone to sleep. My big brother, Duncan, always takes the night shift, so I don't have to do too much guarding after dark. He does not seemed phased by the imminent threat of the schoolchildren who descend upon the schoolyard across the street from our house every day, but I'm there to voice my concerns about them, so his negligence is not so threatening. Anyway, I was startled by this big man coming into the bedroom, so I jumped up and ran to the corner next to the alarm clock, possibly to hide under the bedside table. It is scary having to wonder whether you are going to be stepped on all the time. Even in your sleep.