That dapper little gentleman to the left is our dog, Petey. Petey is almost fourteen, and every day he wears a bandanna from his large collection. He loves pig ears. He will wade with great caution into the lake if he can a) see the bottom clearly and b) only up to his chest, at which point he will c) bow his head so that he can take a few sips before d) retreating. When his hair gets too Rasta we take him to Royal Pet and get him a puppy cut, which a) makes him look as if he’s lost ten pounds and b) prompts our neighbor Kathie to look askance and say, “I see you got him that rat cut again.”
Petey is indifferent to most dog food but he loves our cat Hobbes’ food and was known, up until a year or so ago, to leap in a catlike manner onto the counter in search of it. He is very fond of fresh-baked goods and once a) snatched an entire pound cake off its cooling rack and gobbled half of it before I ran screeching into the kitchen and b) another time somehow managed to paw two cooling racks full of oatmeal scotchies from the very back of the counter onto the kitchen floor and gobble them all down.
In his early years I took him to the dog park once or twice a day, where he used to meet up with his buddies, including the fabulous Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, a basset hound who had spent her first five years living in hell, trapped in a crate so small her tail broke, and whose rescue human used to paint her toenails and lavish her with love and affection in an attempt to make up for those lost years.
Petey’s great love, back in the dog park days, was his tennis ball. He loved to play catch with me, a game which involved me throwing the ball for him, him racing to retrieve it, and then him spending the next half hour refusing to drop the ball. Petey’s obsessive love/addiction/compulsive hoarding of tennis balls, and the zealotry with which he would guard any that came his way, was the inspiration for Percy, Dog of Destiny, a new picture book that comes out this month, illustrated by the wonderful Jennifer K. Mann. What ho!
In celebration of Percy, Dog of Destiny, I’d love to feature photos of your dogs and their favorite toys. Please send them to me! And spread the word – there can never be too many photos of dogs and their beloveds.