Nibble, dribble, chew that kibble

WHAT'S SO FUNNY

I know it's the Fourth but I'd appreciate it if you could keep the

noise down because we have a puppy.

Previous visitors to this space may recall that our keeshond Sashi

passed away a few months back. When we were up to starting again, we

asked Katie what kind of dog she'd like to meet her at the door. She

did some research and Patti Jo did some footwork and we are now

looking at a small, solemn Welsh springer spaniel.

Booker was eight weeks old when we brought him home from

Riverside, where he had been living with relatives. He was curious

the first day, homesick the second, cautiously optimistic the third

and cheerful the fourth. Katie stayed with him constantly except when

she went to Spanish immersion class in the morning.

Among the things on this earth that are cuter than puppies are

(long pause). So Booker was an instant hit with everyone who saw him

except our other animals.

On first meeting, Booker tried to make friends with our cats

Topaz, Pearl and Ruby, but they rebuffed him. Their view was, Sashi

was OK but you're not Sashi. In addition, there was a hierarchy in

Katie's affection, which Booker's arrival disrupted. Ruby has always

slept in Katie's room. Now Booker was in there, with newspapers. Ruby

was being replaced by someone who didn't even use a litter box.

Since then the cats have thawed slightly. They don't exactly like

him, but even they can see he's cute.

Although a serious type, he likes people and has invented one

game, called "Bite You," which he'll play with anyone. He's got these

little needle-teeth, and visitors holding him laugh and say, "Awww,

ha-ha-ho-ho-ho-ho-ow!"

We have a little slide outside, and he likes to go down that, we

think. Anyway he climbs back up on it sometimes. We start him in the

middle, not at the top. We're not brutes.

He goes on walks with us, although he can't go very far yet. Loud

noises and big dogs scare him, so when the Akita next door barked at

him the other night he ran for his life, his spaniel ears flying

inside out.

I wasn't sure I'd take to him, remaining, in my heart, loyal to

Sashi. But Booker, or as I sometimes call him, Boodgie Woodgie

Goodgie Moodgie, is a successor, not a replacement. He's got his own

way of walking, even though he hasn't mastered it. He is his own dog

as well as ours. And he's clearly a Kiraly. He has the Kiraly flinch

-- that sudden twist of the head that says, "What the heck was that?"

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