Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In praise of Piper

This is Piper:

Piper at rest. Which is adorable. And deceiving. And I fall for the adorable quotient every single time, in love with her sweet mug.  Just to give you an idea, a photo essay of sorts detailing her beguiling cuteness:

Piper: the early days

Moxa deserves sainthood. Piper adores him. As we all should.

With cunning intellect, she has the unique penchant 
for sticking her head
through/between/under narrow spaces. It's a special talent.

She also possesses the gift of climbing into things
(i.e. a trashcan, or in this case an empty box) 
that require special talents to free herself. Special talents that she does not have.

Piper is all kinds of things, and she is nothing like our other two dogs, who basically live to be near us, and hang on our every intonation, every trip up and down the stairs, every room we enter and leave. Moxa is always in the same room as I am. Mia goes wherever there is a lap, but really, namely one lap belonging to Alex. Piper goes...somewhere...depending upon her whims, which are fleeting and have the added bonus of being completely out of left field. The drummer to which she marches has no rhyme, rhythm, or reason. And I'm not entirely convinced that there is a drummer, even.  I am convinced that she spends most of her waking hours trying to relocate her Mother Ship. She isn't what we would dub as "normal" (a good thing) and we wondered for a while whether she was deaf. Nope.  She's just in her own orbit, spinning happily through her carefree life with a casual regard for most things.  This is as vexing as it is endearing. 

Piper bounces through the house as cavalierly as a loose-limbed sailor; flopping on cushions, the rug, your face, your newly folded laundry, the coffee table even (case in point: this morning, when she did a flying leap onto the coffee table, stood in stunned stillness for a millisecond, lapped from my iced coffee, and kept cruising). She is as unaware of her surroundings as anyone could be. She soars full throttle through the cat door, only to find herself fabulously stuck in the process. I watched and laughed for a good few minutes as she barked at the dark basement on her end, her little corkscrew tail indignant and her back legs boinging up and down on mine. She skids around corners. She screeches to stops, sliding on rugs  and biting at the AIR (?!) like Aladdin on an acid trip.

She is nothing if not an adventure of mishaps. And she seems to be totally okay with that fact.  I respect her for it, even.

And though she frustrates me to no end, she is also one of my greatest sources of amusement.

Having a dog who licks the air as she makes her approach to licking you never gets old. And she is absolutely indiscriminate in this regard, assailing her humans, her canine compadres, the couch, the wall, the odd throw pillow, even the cat - with all the audible slopping sounds of a toddler diving into his/her first ice cream cone. Mia, ever so dainty and deliberate in her licks, is horrified when Piper assaults her out of nowhere with the force of a frog hurling its tongue out in an effort to ensnare its nearest snack.

There is absolutely nothing subtle about this dog.

If she's bored, she barks. Or jumps. Or pulls every single toy out of the toy bin.

If she's in pain, she whines like a wee banshee.

If she's frisky, she becomes a whirling dervish of chocolate brown and white, and she whirs around you until you are dizzy.  This happens at least three times a day - five, if you're lucky.

She hassles the other dogs, tugging at their ears, nipping their legs, coaxing them into a game of rough house. Sometimes I feel as though I have landed in the midst of a three-way wrestling match. There are no innocent bystanders when this happens. And for three very different dogs, their "pack" is cemented. They are loving, tolerant, and considerate of one another (Piper even waits for Mia before bounding outside in the morning). It's very warm and fuzzy.

She LOVES children, and will kiss them and wag at them, and want to melt into them with no visible signs of fatigue. This can go on for hours.  Children love her back. My niece calls her "Hyper" (an apt description), and carries her around like a rag doll, while Piper smiles away, limbs loose and trusting, her head cocked sideways looking up at something no one else can see (the Mother Ship perhaps?). She loves effortlessly - not at all earnestly, but with an enthusiastic blunt force that I kind of equate to a bear hug that goes on for too long.

The thing about Piper is that she loves us when she feels like it. It's completely spontaneous, her patterns are for the most part unpredictable, but the end result is always the same. She can chew my favorite sandals, demolish a thumb drive, rip holes in carpets, and leave her nose prints all over the glass door.  She can take the stuffing out of each and every toy and scatter it throughout the house, she can topple trashcans and eat the tissues, and she can ignore me with all the intellectual might of a maggot (though our trainer swears she is brilliant). She can curl up to my side, nuzzle my neck, and fall sound asleep in a nanosecond. She can bat me with her paw when she wants attention, and stare at me wide-eyed and alert, ready for whatever I have to give her. She can sit for treats, and bury her nose in my hair (as she is right now). And in all of these ways, she makes her own Piper-esque mark on our hearts.  Our house without her antics would seem somehow less alive.  Even Moxa and Mia agree:


  1. How I do love dogs and dog stories. Well told, Paige.

  2. new green pillow? perhaps this is why you suggested to think like a dog.