By Kim Campbell Thornton
May 13, 2011
I had lunch with my friend Susan Hamil earlier this week. We sat out on the patio of a Mexican restaurant overlooking the ocean and ate guacamole and fish tacos. I indulged in a Margarita. We have known each other forever, and often see each other at events or talk on the phone, but we hadnâ€™t just sat down for lunch in years. After we finished slicing and dicing the dog world, we began swapping stories about our old ladies.
Susan has a Pug named Xena, who is 14 years old. Xena was six months old and in need of a new home when Susan ran across her, and theyâ€™ve been good friends ever since. It still makes me laugh when I remember the time one of Susanâ€™s show dog friends commented unfavorably about Xenaâ€™s conformation. â€œXenaâ€™s a performance Pug,â€ Susan haughtily replied.
In their day, both Xena and Bella were athletic little dogs. Xena did the typical Pugtona 500, racing through the house, on and off the furniture, and Bella could jump three feet straight up onto our bed or launch herself perfectly into someoneâ€™s lap. Now their treacherous bodies have betrayed them, and they have trouble getting around. We love them dearly, but itâ€™s hard not to laugh at some of the things they do.
Susan almost fell off her chair when I talked about finding Bella â€œsplattedâ€ on the floor (more, I think, at the use of the word splatted than at poor Bellaâ€™s predicament), and I laughed until I cried at her description of Xenaâ€™s commands when she wants something. On the sofa? â€œGabble gabble gabble.â€ Off the sofa? â€œGabble gabble gabble.â€ Neither Xena nor Bella â€œtalkedâ€ much when they were younger. I can count one two fingers the number of times Iâ€™ve heard Bella bark. But in their old age theyâ€™ve found their voices. Xena gabbles; Bella huffs, trills and moans. The huff is my cue that sheâ€™s standing up and Iâ€™d better stop what Iâ€™m doing and take her outside. The trills and moans are distress signals. She is splatted on the floor or has gotten herself stuck in a corner. Mealtimes donâ€™t require any vocalizations, just walking around me and nudging me until I put the food down.
We had a great time. Now, if I could just get Susan and John to come to the World Dog Show, we could do lunch in Parisâ€¦