Dog Days

After a year of being together, my puppy, Turtle Pie, and I recently reached an impasse. She’s far from the cuddly I-worship-you-Marcia behavior of my old Frenchie, Peach Blossom. Not even close. Though I schlep her to every event in New York and Atlanta in my new gold python Sherrill Ltd. bag, even making it into The New York Times Style column, she has yet to become the dog of my dreams. Earlier this summer, I was headed to London when a friend escorted my chubby, 24-pound Turtle Pie to Birmingham—and to the safety of my mother Jojo’s house. But when I got back to Alabama, Turtle Pie had nary a lick nor a snuggle for me as she jumped through the weed-choked backyard with Momma’s Boston Terrier, Shug. My calls and whistles went ignored. Didn’t she miss me? Didn’t she want to sleep with me in a bed full of garage-sale afghans? No! She glanced off my leg as she hurtled through the den in search of loose Nicorette gum, and then lay panting on some folded clothes rescued from the laundry room and its towers of poly-blend sheets and towels. She chewed a raw steak bone and shot me withering looks.

What is a pet owner to do? I immediately called renowned pet psychic Victoria Love in Lilburn. Love lives on a three-acre compound chock a block with rescue pets; she is herself a piggie adoption broker, rescuing pot-bellied pigs when the craze reached its nadir. So, squealing like one of those pigs, I reached out to her. The divine Ms. Love has been gifted with psychic abilities since the age of 8 or 9, when her grandfather passed and she started having symbolic dreams. Without any prompting, I put Turtle on the phone for some panting. Then Victoria opened the conversation with “Turtle doesn’t understand you. She is not like the white dog I see that will be greeting you when you pass.” White dog? There was my beloved Peach Blossom…waiting for me! Of course Blossom would be waiting! For a moment, I thought that Turtle might be the one to push me over that edge.

I stammered a question: “What am I doing wrong? Turtle just is never affectionate!” Victoria explained that Turtle was a cat in a previous life, that she needed routine and stability. What? I am clearly the wrong person for that kind of reassurance. My daughter Anabelle no doubt feels just like Turtle. Am I a failure? Victoria reassured me by saying “Turtle Pie will be fine. She needs you to give her some comfort, some reassurance. She feels like she is letting you down. She has misgivings and needs you to invest in the relationship.” Yikes! I had invested $1,000 in that dog. Having paid for that love, I thought that issue was settled. She added, “You need to earn her trust. She wants you to carry her everywhere!” What? My back is already a wreck. Ms. Love then gave me sound advice about Turtle Pie concluding with, “It will be fine.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. We were both sad to hang up. Then I remembered that I needed one last solution and raced to call her back. Afterward, I phoned my brother Billy, who was feeling a bit lonesome, with the good news that he didn’t need to buy a Boston Terrier as I was getting him a pig named Wiener Schnitzle. Billy’s pulled-pork barbecue days would now be a thing of the past as would his lonely nights in bed.