After all, she’s such a good little dog

Published 12:50 am Saturday, April 2, 2016

She was sort of squished down on a pillow pushed up against the back of the couch. I patted her head. “Goodbye,” I said. “Be a good girl. I’ll be back soon.” Little Girl gave me “that look” she gets when she knows I am leaving the house. No joyful swishing of her fluffy black and white tail she sports so regally was forth coming. She offered no kiss by her usual “I love you” swipe with her tongue.

As I closed the front door, I smiled, remembering the first time it happened. I had returned home to find that the little dog had upset a wastebasket in the living room. Discarded mail and tissues were strung across the carpet. The aluminum foil wrapper from a Hershey’s kiss I forgot and left on the end table was stripped clean. I learned a lesson that day. As sweet and obedient and smart as Little Girl is, she isn’t perfect. Amused, I scolded her a little and picked up the mess.

Sometimes when I leave and forget to empty the wastebasket in the living room or to close a door of another room, I find that it has happened again. Of course, it is her way of showing me her displeasure. When I return home, open the door and remember I did not take precautions, I expect it.

Recently, things have been off schedule at my house with strangers making repairs, moving furniture in and out, and boxes piled here and there. Sometimes I put Little Girl outside because all this unfamiliar activity confuses her. Other times, I hold her in my arms or close her up in a room until things settle down again.

During the midst of all that, I had been reading a book with selections of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories. I pulled the hard cover book with a nice jacket from the bookshelves my son and I have been stocking in my personal library from his large collection of books. Unlike his daddy who bought even tattered ones just for good stories, most of our son’s books are in very good shape. That was the case with the Miss Marple book. It looked new, and was in tip-top shape, with not one rip on the book sleeve.

Image my dismay when I returned home from a luncheon one day to find the book sleeve torn to pieces and the book with a wet gnawed corner of the cover. I had left it on the coffee table. “What have you done?” I said to Little Girl and pointed to the damage. “Bad dog!” Little Girl tucked her head and slinked into the foyer. She also got a minor scolding from my son.

I blamed the confusion she has experienced lately. I blamed myself for leaving the book where she could find it. As someone told me, “Don’t be too hard on her because she is such a good dog.” She is. I had to agree.


Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper business. Her column appears on Saturdays.