Site Meter Elsie's Space: Me and My Shadow
Location: New England, United States

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Me and My Shadow

My kids were my shadows for a long time. They've both become more independent and seem to need me less and less each day. But I have another "kid," or so it feels sometimes, who is my shadow still.

He seems to need me more and more each day. I can't go anywhere without him. He follows my every move. I stand. He stands. I leave the room. He leaves the room. You get the picture. His name is Hershey, but he's called lots of other things: Poodle Boy, Hersh Man, Dog, Puppy, just to name a few. The kids named him, and I think it's kind of cute (named after their favorite brand of chocolate instead of the usual brown dogs names like Cocoa). He's loveable, but dopey, which is annoying because we got him after lots of research. Poodles were supposed to be so smart. Oh, well. He weighs 85 pounds, which isn't bad, except he thinks he belongs on my lap most of the time.

Woman's best friend. He's been helping me to lose weight. I've lost quite a bit recently :) Hershey's always happy to help finish off a good meal. The problem is that a few people have been commenting on how thin I'm becoming but how fat he's getting. So far, no one has made the connection. I've got to stop feeding him people food, but when he gives me those eyes.... And besides, it helps to skip a couple of bites at each meal.

He's very protective. Once, a couple of years ago, I broke my ankle while walking him. I dropped the leash and he started running (he's the amazing escape artist). I knew something was horribly wrong right away, but was more upset that I'd lose him. I think it must have been the tone of my voice, but when I called, he came streaking back to me. He walked circles around me until I could calmly figure out what to do. It was early evening in the middle of winter, and I was home alone, now outside in the freezing cold, on my butt. How could I get back to the house? Wonder dog let me put my full weight on him and hop all the way back. I would have been outside for hours if not for him. I almost changed his name that day to Lassie.

He's also always been a trouble maker. He's eaten everything you could possibly imagine. He's tall enough to reach anything left anywhere, so now everything must be put away away. No leaving a loaf of bread or a cake on the counter. He easily chows them down in a couple of minutes. He once opened a bottle of kids' tylenol (grape and tasty) and drank the entire thing, causing me great distress and an emergency run to the pharmacy for the ipecac. Spent the next few hours with him in the bathroom while he (it's too gross to write down). You'd have thought I was in danger of losing one of my children if you'd seen how upset that scene made me. I'm pretty sure that's what the pharmacist thought when I came flying in, cutting in front of people in line (not my usual behavior), screaming "Where's the ipecac?"

My favorite Hershman story (unfortunately, I wasn't there to witness it) is when one day my husband and kids took him to City Park. He got loose (just another easy escape) and decided to visit everyone else at the park. That was until he got a whiff of someone's delicious pizza picnic. According to all reports, Hershey went running at full speed toward a nice (thankfully) couple enjoying their lunch at a picnic table. Hershey grabbed the last slice in one fell swoop while running past their table. He never even broke his stride. Just kept right on running while chowing down the last of the nice couple's lunch. The kids said the man seemed a little angry but that the woman "laughed her head off." My husband was left to sheepishly offer to get another pizza, but they politely declined. Only Hershey could pull off that maneuver and still have folks thinking how cute he is.

One of my favorite things about my dopey poodle is that he listens to everything I say. He's generally obedient -- for me, that is. He drives my husband crazy. Hubby will say, "sit." Hershey looks at him as if to say, "are you going to make me?" Then he'll look at me. I will say, "sit," and he can't get his bum to the floor fast enough. Same thing for the commands, "come, stay, down," etc. Just the other night he took off again. I was in the house but could hear the commotion. "COME." "Hershey, COME." Then I hear my daughter say, "Let's just go get mom." Hubby replies, "No, he'll come." Then just a minute or two later hubby says, "Okay, go get mom." I come to the door, call the dog, and he raced into the house as fast as his four legs could carry him. Hubby was pretty mad. I loved it (but that's just another one of my secrets I don't usually share). It's reminiscent of the "baby days" when kids naturally prefer mom to dad (I secretly loved those, too).

I could go on and on about how great, yet stupid, my Hersh Man is. I'll leave that for another day when I'll tell the story of how much our cat, Lily Black, loves that Poodle Boy.

I wish everyone could have a dog as dopey as mine.


Anonymous Winston said...

What a wonderful doggie! I love dogs but generally do not like poodles. But Hershey sounds like one I could take to. The pizza theft story is great - still laughing... Looking forward to hearing the cat stories also. They are such special creatures to allow us to be their servants...

8:00 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

I didn't think I liked poodles either, but then I met one who was the smartest, friendliest, best behaved dog I've ever met. I was hoping for a dog with similar traits but wound up with the dopey Hershman instead. But he's my dope. Some things are just meant to be.

P.S. I think Standards might be a bit less annoying than the little yippers. When they bark it's a big dog's bark, not the brain injuring tiny yap yap that can make you crazy.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:49 AM  
Blogger Peter (the other) said...

My home is surrounded by the little yippers, whose parents leave them home alone, imagining them all quiet while they're gone. When I tell them I can't think from the constant, sharp, hard yipping, they look at me like I am crazy.

I'm a cat guy, but have found standard poodles, perhaps, one of the best. Now, set that poodle loose!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

I always was a cat person myself (still am), but once the kids begged for a dog, well... how could I say no? And now I'm in love.

I think one loose poodle is about all I can handle, so the Hershman must stay in ;) !!

11:38 AM  

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