Full disclosure time: I’m a cat person. With dogs. Go figure. Not just any dogs, Papillons.
Prior to 1999, if you’d asked me what a Papillon was, I would have answered ‘A Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman movie…’ But that year for some reason we watched the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. A six pound bundle of attitude named Kirby (Ch Loteki Supernatural Being) took Best in Show.
He was the first Papillon ever to win at Westminster, and we were hooked. Not by the win, or by Westminster (Movie Must See: ‘Best in Show‘), but by Kirby’s eyes. Okay, eyes and ears. As a card-carrying member of the clown feet and elephant ears club, I appreciate a good pair of pinna. Or is that pinnae?
Well, a few weeks later a tiny bundle of attitude soon to be known as Dragon let my wife know that we had taken our sweet time in finding him:
“Thank you very much you took your sweet time and can I go home now hold on–wait one minute–what is that?”
‘That’ turned out to be Folly, a Silky Terrier no one wanted. He was born with canine epilepsy and something akin to Horner’s syndrome. Like it or not–not–Dragon now had a brother. The era of the Overlords had begun…
Aliases: Mustafa, Mamushka
Powers: Heart, Gallantry, Seeing things we can’t (Cat power, but he has it.)
Voice Actor: Patrick Warburton
Last to ask for love or attention, and the first to give it. Let the others guard outside. Moose owns inside. His hearing is superb, and at the first hint of a new noise he is up and watching. Sometimes a little too ‘watching.’ He will stare off into space, seeing… something? Our first responder, if he wasn’t our assist dog he would fit well into any service dog role. And he is absolutely a Moose, very large for a Papillon. But graceful. And gracious.
Aliases: Baccarat, Bacaroni, Kraken
Powers: Super Leap, Iron Jaw, Calf Herding
Voice Actor: Matthew McConaughey
Bacchus joined us shortly after the Big Move. Suddenly Moose is no longer alone in a new house. Suddenly Moose thinks being alone wasn’t maybe such a bad thing. Especially when Bacchus pulls a Pink Panther-Kato attack on him. Or wakes him from a nap to play. Or…
Aliases: Locust, Lick-key, Louie Louie.
Powers: Wicked Smarts, Buck Attack, Lizard Leap.
Voice Actor: Jeremy Renner
Bacchus’s younger brother from another mother. For real. Loki shares more than just a bloodline with his older brother. He adores Pack Elder Moose, and has developed a puppy taste for whatever toy Bacchus favors. Let the games begin.
Aliases: Rocky Raccoon, Rockstar
Powers: Agility, Jocularity, Snoopy impersonations.
Voice Actor: Neil Patrick Harris
Never met a squirrel or winged critter he couldn’t chase. Rocky was acrobat, dancer, gymnast, and agility dog that I sadly never got into agility training. He had game. Rocky was also our yard guard, a role he inherited from Folly. Gizmo was his avid apprentice until we lost him. Rocky, like us, soldiered on until the same malady that claimed Gizmo claimed him. Thankfully, he (and we) had Moose to help share life’s burdens. And Moose was there for all of us until the very end.
Aliases: Guermo, G-Man
Powers: Boss Mode, Tenderness, 250 pounds of love in a 5 pound sack.
Voice Actor: The Late, Great Robin Williams
A miracle that left us far too early. Gizmo, like his predecessor Dragon, chose my wife and only had eyes for her. I loved watching him watch her. She was his and he was hers. The word ‘Adoration’ can’t contain what his eyes, his frenetic tail conveyed whenever she was in view. It simply isn’t strong enough. And in the end, neither was Gizmo’s body. But his spirit…
Aliases: Follicle, Alpharalfa
Powers: Protectiveness, Intimidation, Loyalty.
Voice Actor: Samuel L. Jackson
Ruler with an Iron Paw (once Dragon passed the Alpha Torch to him.) Showed me my place in his pack by devouring the spine of my first edition copy of Dragon in the Sea. He would randomly bark at a member of the pack and then–once they were suitably cowed–wag his stubby tail and look back at us. He could sense his seizures coming on, and would seek one of us out and curl up in our lap until the seizure had passed. And then he was off again, patrolling his empire.
Aliases: Mr. D. (to his face), Dagron (behind his back).
Powers: Nobility, Fearlessness, Devotion. Super Sneer.
Voice Actor: Jean Dujardin
Some pets you pick. Some pick you. Dragon picked us, and we could not have been more fortunate.
Dragon’s world revolved around two poles: my wife, and Dragon. Everyone and everything else was secondary. Unlike Folly, who knew he wasn’t all that, Dragon knew that he was, in fact, all that. And more. We tolerated each other because of the love we shared for our lady.
The sneer? Oh yes. Only dog I have ever met that could sneer. And just at me, and only when he thought my wife wouldn’t notice. Took her years to admit that she had, in fact noticed.
Miss you, D.