Saturday, March 29, 2008
I saw her little face on Petfinder, and still have the printed page in my handbag. I fell in love. She was in Lake Orion, Michigan, in a foster home. She was named Piccolo by the foster mother's husband, an orchestra conductor. I couldn't imagine another name. It's so playful and musical to say. Thinking that this would be a short trip, I made arrangements to meet Piccolo. I found out after that it wasn't a short journey, like St. Joseph or Allegan, but that Lake Orion was a suburb of Detroit. Almost to Canada to get her. Penny had died about a month before, and I still had Gidget. Age and blindness made Gidget a less interactive pet. Gidget could, however, find her way to the kitchen and under my feet if something was cooking. Gidget was my companion as I made the six hour trip. My understanding of Piccolo's history is that she was in the home of a hoarder, with many other pets. The hoarder ended up in a nursing home, and the house was beyond rehabilitation. This surprises me, because Piccolo really doesn't know how to act with other dogs. She's initially inquisitive, then afraid. Piccolo is also afraid of most people. This is why she will never accompany me at shows. She wants me or the Man, and that's it. She'll tolerate Sandy, her groomer. I give a pep talk before grooming, and tell her how much Sandy loves her. Piccolo was afraid of me those first few days in 2003. It took a lot of coaxing to get her into my car to drive home, where she spent most of her time hiding under the sofa.
I credit Piccolo for ending a miserable time in my life. I had lost Penny, my residence, and my Man. Piccolo worked her magic on the Man, and he came back to us. She may be eight or nine years old by now, and has mellowed a bit, but she is still playful. She's our little love object, our cuddle companion. The Man spends almost as much time cuddling her as I do. Piccolo loves to supervise my knitting projects, loves to spread herself over them, and spends a lot of time just looking at me as if I'm nuts. And Piccolo can wear a sweater like no other dog. When I was sizing sweaters for the book, I always started with her size, and then went up or down in proportion as needed for the others.
Her little snoot smells like Chinese food, and her feet, like buttered popcorn.