Sailor Simon was our best 4-legged friend for 15 memorable years. This was his first effort at writing about life from his point of view.
People would look at us all day and comment on how cute we were. You know how it is. Even though we were not purebreds we had appeal. A very nice and caring man in a white lab coat brought my siblings and me to his booth in a local Flea Market and put up a “Special” sign. I’m not sure what “Special” meant but I know my price tag was $300.00. There were four of us in the litter and we’re called “Shipoos”. Our real Mother was a Shitzu and our real Father was a Toy Poodle. The nice man said over and over we would make wonderful companions (not pets). Finally it happened. This woman came by and cradled me in her arms and a bond was formed. We interacted on a bench for almost 4 hours. Many people stopped and commented on the wonderful match and their history with the nice man. Any doubts were erased and we set off for my new home. Before we left we picked up a goodly supply of whatever my Mom (I instinctively sensed that’s who she was) thought I would need for my comfort and health…. cage, pillow, food and water dishes, a squeeze toy, stuffed animal and supply of recommended food, basic and treats. Of course there was also a color coordinated collar and leash. Then … she put me in her purse and off we went.
When we arrived at my new home, I got the impression that my Dad-to-be was a little surprised. He just stared and said in a rather loud voice something like “now what have you done?” He patted my head and grudgingly acknowledged I was cute.
“I hope you know what you’ve committed to – it’s a lot of work having a pet and you’ll be the one doing it.” Right away I knew proving myself would be important.
Next step was a name. What were they going to call me? A number of possibilities were bandied about but nothing seemed fitting. Back in Mom’s purse and we were off to visit a couple of her friends. I was a hit and the discussion on names continued. There were many considered: Henri, Pepi, Casey, and more. Finally it was decided – my name would be Simon. My Mom mentioned this choice because of a character called Simon Potter in a book she was reading but everyone immediately said it was a perfect name for me.
Those first months were pretty neat. I adapted well to my new life, made ground with Dad and enjoyed lots of traveling about. Mom took me almost every time she went out – in her purse. We went shopping, to the bank, the library, one trip to the airport and even to a garden wedding. I slept most of the time but every so often, just to remind her I was there I’d poke my head up and out. There was always a treat in the bottom of the purse so that would keep me occupied for a time.
I said almost every time because there were a few times she left me. The first time she placed a container of cat litter in my little space – I suppose so there wouldn’t be any accidents. It was fun to play in but quite a mess by the time she returned. The second time she left some smelly pads spread out – I guess for the same reason. Shredding them was again great fun but she was not pleased. Since I had been “trained” very quickly my morning walks were a sure thing with no further alternatives offered.
When summer came we went sailing. It was quite an experience and Mom hung me in her purse in the gangway where I felt safe and comfortable. Since I was still small and young I don’t remember much about that first voyage except my life jacket. Whenever I was out and about I had to wear this read puffy thing that had a handle on it’s top. I tried to eat it off and squirm out of it but all to no avail. Mom or Dad would simply grab the handle and lift me into the dingy, onto docks or over lifelines. It didn’t hurt but I imagine I looked rather funny, dangling helplessly from this contraption. They also installed a ramp so I could make it from the salon to the cockpit. The stairs were too steep for me.
In the winter I learned about clothes. When I first saw snow I thought it was wonderful and really enjoyed running about in the fluffy stuff. I didn’t like ice. When we went for a walk on an icy day my paws were really cold. Sometimes they stuck to the ice. Before I knew it I had boots, red rubber ones, a winter coat and a turtle neck sweater. When we walked downtown people would always look at me and smile. The older people laughed, but even I knew it was in good spirits.
In the early days I slept at night in my cage downstairs. It had a nice warm towel to curl up on and actually I was fairly comfortable. As time went by though, I realized it was pretty lonely so far away from my folks so I started to resist being shut away. It didn’t take long before my cage was moved upstairs beside the big bed. That was more cozy and I was content to go to my own space to sleep, at least for awhile. Then one night my Dad was away and my Mom let me sleep on the bed. Wow! That was the end of the cage. Now I find my space somewhere on the bed every night. I always know when someone gets up and it’s nice to slide into their warm spot, but it never lasts. That’s probably the only time I get pushed away and the only time I growl to let them know it hurts – being pushed away I mean.
At six months my Mom and I went to College. The nice man in the white coat gave classes in obedience training. The commands he was teaching were very easy to learn but obeying was not exactly part of my personality. I won an award for the most social student and my Mom got a certificate for attending.
In my second year we had an accident on the boat. The only one hurt was Mom and she was a mess. I didn’t even see her for over a week. Well, Dad really came through and we had a chance to bond on a different plane. It was lucky because I would have been in duck soup if he hadn’t. When Mom came home from the hospital she was covered in casts. It created a real problem for me. Where to sleep? My first loyalty was to Mom but she slept downstairs on a high bed surrounded by pillows. I tried but there wasn’t much room for me and she seemed real worried if I so much as moved an inch. I would head back upstairs with Dad but every night I made two or three trips down to see if things had improved. It took a long time but was I ever relieved the first night we all went upstairs to bed together.
It took awhile to get my diet in line. Mom’s initial commitment was to “dog food” only. Thankfully that didn’t last too long. We finally got an acceptable routine. I got a mix of dry and “Cesar’s gourmet food” for small dogs. It was okay but somehow I sensed what the adults were eating was somewhat more tasty. I tried begging but that seemed to get me in trouble. A compromise was in order. Now I get my mixture, eat half and when they serve their food I get my share mixed in my bowl. Although lots of people criticize my diet my weight is good and my Vet. says I’m a perfect specimen. The only time my diet varies is when we visit Grandmothers. They both feed me whatever I want and whenever they eat. I really miss them when we leave and I have to settle for my bowl.
Although people say I’m still a puppy, at 3 years of age, I feel my hard work and dedication to personal comfort has really paid off and life after all is what you make it.
I love my life.