Pippa, my little Westie, has lived with me for two months. I can say without any exaggeration at all, that she is the sweetest little dog in the world. She is a joy!
She lives up to her title too: Senior Scout. She takes searching out annoying chipmunks and squirrels very very seriously. She leaves no leaves unturned, no dark hole unsearched, no scurrying in the underbrush uninvestigated.
Evenings, she stares fixedly at the corner of my old dry sink to tell me it’s time to play fetch with her favorite toy. No matter that the raggedy purple thing doesn’t live there. No matter if that very toy is right next to her on the floor, it’s my job to get up, pick it up and toss it for her to capture and kill. And kill she does, growling and shaking it as if she were a wild animal. Sweet little Pippa Joy is a ferocious beast who has removed squeakers, ears, and tails from two wart hogs, a whale, and a rhinoceros. She is fearless.
Now for all her tough behavior she is very fussy about going out at night. She does not like to step in wet grass to perform her before-bed rituals, so I’ve learned I must take her outside before the dew settles. She’s a princess.
I think she’s disgruntled that I’m an “early to bed, early to rise” person. Her foster mom was the opposite. When I say “Bedtime,” she pokes along, hides under something if she can get away with it, then finally climbs the stairs head down, dragging her feet. I have a feeling she rolls her eyes behind my back.
Duffy and Lily, Pippa’s Westie “cousins”, sent a gift to welcome her to the family. Pippa took a shine to Lamb Chop, a squeaky toy almost as big as she is. She totes it around and lugs it, with difficulty, up to bed. When I walked into the bedroom the first night of Lamb Chop’s residency, Pippa was nowhere to be seen, but there was a telltale bright pink foot visible under the bed. Carefully, I bent to grab it, but that little lamb was pulled back quicker than I could say ba-a-a. Just as I was ready to climb into bed, I saw Lamb Chop’s foot sticking out again. I tried, but—swoosh—she disappeared. I laughed and laughed. A rascal, my Pippa.
Say “walk” and she’s a dervish, spinning happily until I put her harness and leash on. She’s keen to get out the door, but her first choice is to go in the car. Still, she trots along when I remind her we’re going to walk. Occasionally she decides she doesn’t want to go very far. I’ve learned to pick up a dead leaf or pine cone and toss it a a few feet ahead of us. She fetches it and, after a couple more tosses, she walks along contentedly. What an imp.
She’s 18.4 pounds of imp, princess, scamp, rascal and love, my fearless Senior Scout Pippa Joy.
2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist.