This week, I interviewed Lucy Venuto, a Spanish Water Dog, or Perro De Agua Espanol, which sounds wa-ay cooler, right? So I got out my “Spanish for Spaniels” paperback. I had already dog-eared several pages and made notes on Key Phrases such as “where is the fire hydrant?” (dónde está la boca de incendios?)
Cuz I always try to do my homework so I don’t seem like a Doof, I Googled “Perro De Agua Espanol.” Lucy’s breed is, like, 1,000 people years old, which is, um, like, 7,000 dog years, for Lassie’s Sake. In Spanish seaports, her ancestors used to help moor ships and boats by diving into the ocean and towing a buoy tied to the end of a rope, to the human deck hands. Nowadays, they just do a lot of herding stuff.
Turns out I didn’t need my Spanish, cuz Lucy’s an all-American girl, didn’t even have an accent, and she was very outgoing. Trotting right up for the Wag-and-Sniff, she said, “This is my mommy, Ann, and my daddy, George. I’m Lucy. I’m 8. And this is my little brother Harley, he’s a Shih-Poo, he’s gonna be 5. We’re pleased to meet you, Mr. Bonzo.”
Woof, was she a cutie-petootie! Medium size, tons of tight curls head to toe. Her color was sorta like a chocolate latte and she had these really unusual, orangy-amber eyes. I fluffed my ears and reminded myself to stand up straight. “Get a grip, Bonz,” I muttered to myself. “You’re on the Job, not on a Play Date.”
To Lucy I said, “Likewise, Miss Lucy. You’re an unusual breed. Tell me how you met your Mom and Dad.”
“OK,” she said, smiling. I could tell her eyes were all sparkly, peeking out from under her curls.
“Mommy and Daddy wanted a medium-sized, non-shedding dog, so they did some Research and discovered my breed which, not to brag, is pretty rare. We’ve only been registered with the AKC since 2014, and there’re only 100 of us registered. But back then, we weren’t. I was born up in Amish country. Mommy and Daddy visited the breeder to meet me and my litter. We looked like fluffy, chocolate-colored baseballs, and all the humans who came to see us just went all boogly. Mommy and Daddy did, too. Well, me and my brothers and sisters came up to check ‘em out, then went off to play. But, for some reason, I came right back to Mommy and Daddy. Mommy says we just clicked. And I’ve been with ‘em ever since. We moved down to North Carolina, then to here.”
“It was meant to be,” I said.
She nodded. “Yes, it really was. Didn’t need any time to adjust. I’ve always been friendly with dogs and humans, specially Mommy and Daddy’s grandkids. I’m even thinkin’ about going to school to be a Service Dog, maybe visit nursing homes. Mommy says I’m smart enough, and I do love people. Well, full disclosure, I’d have to say I prefer female humans. I’m a Mommy’s Girl. I’m really loyal and protective, too, but not in a scary way. But if a Bad Guy tried anything, he’d be Real Sorry. I may look like a creampuff, but I can be Ferocious!”
To illustrate, she scrunched up her face and scowled. I thought it made her look even more adorable, but I kept that to myself.
“Being a water dog, you must like to swim,” I commented.
“You bet! That’s why a pool was a Must-Have when we were house-hunting. When Mommy puts her suit on, I get all excited and go get our towels. I LOVE the water. But only pool water. I’m probly wet more than I’m dry, so I have to keep my hair cut, or it’d be nothing but long dreadlocks stem to stern. They’d NEVER dry. But the dreads I had when I was a puppy were Super Cool Kibbles!
“Anyway, I know the usual pooch drill: sit up, down, shake, roll over, high five’s. I have my own bed, too, but I ushully jump in with Mommy in the morning and give her Nose Kisses so she doesn’t oversleep. Me and Harley go for walks, of course, and we have a great backyard to tear around in. I get going so fast in the corners, I’m almost on my side, like those motorcycle racers.
“I love havin’ a little brother! See, Mommy had this fish tank and she went to the pet store to get a fish for it and happened to notice the puppy section, and there Harley was: a champagne-colored, 3-pound furball. She introduced me, and we hit it off! So he came home with us. I don’t remember if she got the fish.”
Lucy lowered her voice. “He doesn’t like to swim like me. He just looks at the pool, ‘cept once he accidently fell in and found out he can do the Dog Paddle. We both love to go fishing out in the ocean. We even have our own life jackets. I lick every fish Daddy catches, but I never try to eat ‘em. And we got toys, too, but they don’t last ‘cept for the Kongs, when Momma put treats in ‘em. My total favorites are Cookies. Momma can’t even say the word or I just go goofy. I can’t help it. So now she spells it.”
The time had rushed by. Heading home, I was hoping my assistant had kept Lucy’s number, so maybe my Mom could set up a play date. Maybe go swimmin’. Or to a movie. She was some kinda pooch.
Till next time,