This week I had a blast interviewing a charming German Shepherd who is part of a blended family in an All-Girl Household.
Becca Stewart is a real outgoing pooch with a cheerful, puppy-ish personality, even though she’s 6. When me and my assistant drove up, Becca was standing in her shady, fenced-in yard with her Mom, wagging to beat the band. She had the most beautiful ears: huge, standing straight up, flicking side-to-side, big, furry audio receivers. I bet she could pick up messages from Sirius (the Dog Star).
“Hi, Mr. Bonzo. I couldn’t wait for you to get here! Did you find my house OK? This is my Mom, Sharon.”
After the Wag-and-Sniff, she trotted over to my assistant for a couple of welcoming nose-bumps.
“Come’on in and meet my sisters,” she said, heading though the door and over to a tall cage by the window. “Mr. Bonzo, THIS is my sister Piper. She’s a Conure. Piper, say hello to Mr. Bonzo.”
I approached cautiously, remembering a previous encounter with a feathered friend who nipped my nose, then said it was how birds say hello. But I caught him snickering behind his wing. Standing just beyond nose-reach, all I could see at first were a lotta toys. Then I spotted a smallish parrot, with beautiful, bright-colored feathers, side-stepping across her perch toward me.
“Happy to meet you, Miss Piper,” I said, in my best Bird. I hadn’t spoken it in a while and hoped I hadn’t just ordered a shoe with cheese.
I’m pretty sure she was laughing when she said, “Don’t be afraid to come closer. I’ll bet you fell for that ‘nose nip is how we say hello’ routine, right?”
I nodded, blushing.
“Me and my other sister, Lucy, are Besties,” said Becca. “She’s a Tabby Cat. Real nervous around dogs, except me, of course. She’s probly under the bed.”
“Wow,” I thought. “A German Shepherd who’s best pals with a CAT. That is SO 21st Century.” I turned to Becca. “So, how long have you been with your Mom and sisters?”
“Mom got me from a nice kennel, Sable Rocks, in Wisconsin where its Super Cold. Dad – his name was Sandy – was working in Ocala. (He was a doctor. He’s in Heaven now.)” She wiped her nose with her paw. “Mom was down here learning how to fly. So, when I was just a tiny pup, I got to fly, ALL BY MYSELF ON A BIG PLANE, all the way to Orlando where Mom picked me up. I wasn’t scared or anything!
“I’ve been with Mom my whole life. I used to nip her a lot, like me and my littermates always did, just in fun. But Mom doesn’t have fluffy fur like us, so she hadda use a lot of Band-Aids. I grew outta that, tho. Now I don’t chew anything I’m not ‘spose to, just my Wubba.”
She ran off, then returned with a mouthful of what looked like two rubber balls wrapped in purple canvas.
“My Wubba! You should try one. It used to squeak, but I chewed the squeak right out of it. Anyway, me and Mom’re real close. She calls me Girlfriend. And I take care of her, too. Like this one time, it was 2 a.m. and my ears picked up a Suspicious Sound. I barked and barked and woke Mom up. She peeked out and saw a Strange Car parked in our driveway. She turned on the light and they took off. She says I am better than any ol’ insurance policy any day.
“When she goes to work, I stay on the porch, or inside if it’s too hot. Sometimes me and Lucy pretend we’re fearless hunters in the jungle, and try to sneak up on Piper. We crawl on our tummies over to her cage, but she just thinks we’re silly. We don’t speak Bird that well, but Piper says Dad was good at it.
“Me and Mom go to visit my human brother and sister, Brad and Kyrie, in Tallahassee. They’re nurses. And my best dog buddy, Rugby, he’s a Rottweiler, he lives in that state that sounds like a sneeze. I can’t pronounce it.
“When Mom’s home, I play in the yard. Everybody knows me! I bark hello to all our neighbors, and the Mail Person. She likes me now that she knows I’m just bein’ friendly. I also love to chase squirrels. Rabbits, too. Can’t help myself. I even ate one once. But just that one time. Took me weeks to get the fluff outta my mouth. I use to go out on the river in our flats boat with Mom and Dad. We’d go over to the island and I’d run all over the place.”
“All that exercise sure keeps you in great shape,” I observed. “Whaddya eat?”
“I’m a Vegan,” she replied.
“Er, I thought you were a German Shepherd,” I said.
“Oh, no, silly. That means I don’t eat meat. Only veggie kibbles. My favorite treats are broccoli and carrots.”
“Ah, yes, of course,” I said, feeling like a Doof.
Then it was time to go. Becca and her Mom were playing Fetch-the-Wubba as we drove away.
Till next time,