I am Lexi, a ten-year-old miniature schnauzer. My Mom likes to add, “She is a black and silver, which is one of the three recognized colors by the AKC. The others are salt-and-pepper and all black.” If I weren’t so proud of my beautiful hair I would be embarrassed. I am rarely embarrassed. If I am embarrassed it is usually because of something my stupid brother Riley has done. More on that later. She also goes into this diatribe about how I have hair, not fur, which is what accounts for me being non-allergenic. I believe that means that people don’t sneeze when I am around them, unlike when other dogs with that nasty fur is around them. Then she expounds on the intelligence and faithfulness of the schnauzer breed. At that point it is my job to look at them like I am thinking of something really important, like one treat plus one treat equals one treat, or ground beef comes from the grocery store. Sometimes I think about if it is late enough in the afternoon to start campaigning for supper. But that can cause drooling, which sends the image the wrong direction.
I was lying around on Mom’s bed while she was at work, pondering the meaning of life, as well as what would increase my chances of getting more treats. Then it hit – fame! So I hit upon this idea of Mom telling everyone about my life so that I would be famous and get so many treats that I would never want for treats again. Hmmm. Not so sure that came out right. I will always want treats. What I meant is I would never have a lack of treats – I can already see this writing business can be tricky. Anyhow, I would make a bed out of all those luscious treats and lay in it and eat them whenever I wanted. Mom would keep pouring more in my bed so that I never ran out. Oh, heaven! Fortunately, she has been helping me keep a diary for quite a few years. Unfortunately, she has also helped some of the other dogs in the household keep a diary. That means some of their junk is going to pollute what should be just about me. Eh bien, as my French friend Pierre would say. That’s life, or oh well, or something like that. As long as I get all the treats, I suppose it doesn’t matter.
Me, 8 weeks old
Let’s start with my not-too-humble beginnings. I was born to a pair of properly introduced miniature schnauzers – a planned parenthood, if you will, deep in the heart of Georgia. There were four others in the litter, and not one of them were as active and boisterous as little old me. I stayed awake the longest; I tore up the most newspaper and howled in the middle of the glorious mess; I jumped and bit at the air escaping from the floor registers. In other words, I had the joie de vie that would carry me throughout my life I was already an over-achiever. My Mom had picked out the one she had pre-named “Anna Bell” through a six-week e-mail exchange. I’ll never be sure why she didn’t just grab her and go when she made the three hour drive to where we were all living. Instead, she sat on the floor and watched us for a couple of hours. Then she took a break, probably for food since I know it was at least noon and my stomach was growling for lunch. She returned and sat and watched a spell longer. Pointing at me, she finally declared, “That is the one I want. She is the one who can deal with the big German shepherd dog at home.” So hands were shaken and money exchanged and she left with the promise to return for me in two weeks. Her parting words were, “She’s no Anna Bell. I am going to have to think of a different name.” My passion for food must have been evident quite early, as I ended up being named for a restaurant in North Carolina – Lexington Barbeque. Although I liked the idea of eating all the food in this BBQ joint, it gave me a bit of discomfort when I considered that my name might make some people mistake me for the food. Thankfully, everyone just calls me Lexi.
True to her word, my soon mom-to-be returned with Ara, the big German shepherd dog, in tow, to claim me two weeks later. She said out of all the little puppies, she chose me. We drove and drove and drove for what seemed like forever to someone (me) who had never even seen a car before, until we reached my new home in the state of Tennessee. So you see, I am a Dixie girl at heart, even though I don’t think my bark has much twang. That is probably due to the fact that my Mom moved to Tennessee from Pennsylvania – yep, she’s a Yank. She’s picked up a bit of a southern accent, but it’s mostly southern idioms that, like ya’all,, have crept into her speech. I say this in the way of explanation of my bi-lingualness. Northern and Southern blended into the most beautiful bark, whine, howl and other speech patterns such as “uh-huh.” I came to my new, forever home on the Fourth of July, so you might just say I am an All-American dog.
My head in Ara’s mouth
Once in my new home, I began to assess my situation. There were towels and dog toys around, so one of the first things I did was pull a towel into the middle of the room and pile all the toys on it. I climbed to the top of the pile and lay down so that everyone would understand that this was now my towel and my toys. You have to establish your dominance early, you know. Next I had to figure out how to deal with Ara. It is good that I am fast since in the beginning I had to leap under chairs to avoid being run over by the big oaf. Since he was quite large and I was very small, a good survival plan – along with a dominance plan – was a must. I quickly discovered that one must survive in order to dominate – driven home after I executed the alligator roll on Ara’s lip. Yep, I grabbed that lip with my sharp little puppy teeth, pulled it out as far as it would go and started rolling. Boy, did he scream! I figured I had him now – then my plan went awry. He managed to get loose and put my entire head in his mouth. I guess he had an alligator move or two in his own repertoire. If you think I am kidding, just look at the picture Mom took of just my body sticking out of his mouth. Needless to say, I survived and didn’t try that tactic again. I’m a quick learner, you see.
The next indignity I was to receive didn’t come from Ara. It blind-sided me at the end of what had been an extremely fun day. Mom took me to her little pontoon boat, the Sammy Joe. She said her dog Sammy Joe was her first boat dog, so she named the boat after him. When she told me that, I thought, “She will re-name it after me pretty soon, ‘The Lexi B’” Has a nice ring to it, huh? As we were walking into the house after a great day on the lake she pulls out this horrid bright yellow puppy life vest. She made me put it on to see if it fit and I was horrified. I was even more horrified when out comes the camera again. Now don’t get me wrong – I love having my picture taken. I am a natural, never a bad shot. But why does she have to immortalize these most ignoble moments? I stood frozen to the spot. I couldn’t move. I wouldn’t move. She had to pick me up and set me back down where she wanted me, still standing on my stiff little puppy legs. She must not have understood – could not have understood – as she put it back on me the next time we went out on the boat. Again, I turned into a statue.
I wanted to give you a sense of who I am and why I wrote some of things I did before you get started in my diary. Although I am a complicated dog, some basic tenants always hold true:
1. I love food. Anytime. Anywhere. Anything.
2. I hate clothes. Any kind, anywhere, anytime.
3. I rule, except when there is a much bigger dog that could hurt me.
4. It’s mine. Now. Not his or hers or yours – mine. Now, not later.
Remember these things and my diary will make much more sense to you. I was about a year old when I began notating my life. You will see that I become more mature and sophisticated as time goes by.