May birthday – Year recapped

May 9, 2010

It’s been such a busy year!

My birthday was Friday, and I went to St. Paul’ Episcopal Church – where Mom works – to spend the day. We had a party – cupcakes and doggie ice cream for me, people ice cream for everyone else. How many schnauzers do you know who get to have a birthday party at church! I have been there more lately, since our house is up for sale and I go with mom when there is going to be a showing. Everyone loves me (of course) as I play my magic on them. If Mom can’t find me, she just has to look for who has food at their desk. I will be sitting there staring at them. Not long ago I greeted one of my bestest friends, Gail, at the back door, and made her understand I wanted her to follow me. I led her into the work room where I had detected bagels on the table, but couldn’t reach them. I had been sitting staring up at the table until I heard Gail come in and ran to ask for some help. Unfortunately, Gail didn’t give me one.

It has been anotherexciting year for me! Mom and I graduated from three agility classes; then mom put it down for a while. I was doing fine. Mom was having trouble keeping her bearings on the course. So then we moved on to Freestyle with a different group. Pam Moore (with Sophie) was in agility with us, and went on to Freestyle. Sophie has really blossomed with this special attention. She even won some events her first time out at an agility competition! Anyhow, it was mostly just me and Sophie in the Freestyle training with a couple of good teachers (and mom and Pam). They were starting to prepare us to compete in the April event here in Chattanooga. Then another opportunity opened that I couldn’t resist – I was asked to play Toto again at the Colonnade in Ringgold, GA. We had six weeks of rehearsals and two weekends of performance, and it knocked us out of Freestyle training. I figured we could get back into Freestyle, but this opportunity wouldn’t wait. Anyhow, I bonded with my new Dorothy, who Mom couldn’t call Dorothy, because every time she did, I went running off looking for Kim, who played my first Dorothy. So mom just called her by her name, Kandis. The wicked witch, Jan, used to train dogs, so we spent some time at her house with Kandis, too, during which time I also bonded with her…not such a good thing. Read on… The second weekend of the play, during the scene where Miss Gulch (also played by Jan) has lost “that dratted dog” and gone back to the farm looking for me, I got away from a distracted Kandis (who was probably texting, but definitely not watching me) and ran back out on stage to Jan, where I stop and look up at her. Jan looks down at me and cracks up. At that point “Uncle Henry” points at me and says, “There’s that dratted dog!” and, as if on cue, I run back off the stage to Mom. Everyone in the audience roared with laughter. I do love to make people laugh!

I remember my role from 2 1/2 years ago. I picked up old habits, like how I followed the foursome down the yellow brick road. My agility and freestyle training had honed my responsiveness to their movements. And yes, in the opening scene where I run out onto stage at the end of the Rainbow song, ending up in Dorothy’s arms, a collective “awwwwww” still resounded from the audience.

Jennefer (Piper’s mom) and my mom are still good friends. So she came the first night the play opened and sat in the second row. Yeah, not a good idea. Halfway through the second act, I peeped out from behind the curtain, spotted her, and tore across the stage, and down the stairs, leaping into her lap! Jennefer said she felt like such a proud aunt. People started asking her if I was her dog, and she said, no, I am her niece. Now we call her “Auntie Jen.”

The same doggie bakery who made all my healthy treats and “hot dogs” (really dog biscuits) donated them for the play. They remembered me. Who wouldn’t?

A couple of weeks after the play ended, Mom and Dad and I attended the cast party. They played the video of one of the performances, and at the end of the opening credits, it said, in great big letters, “Introducing Lexi as Toto”. Not quite accurate, but pretty neat, nonetheless. I mingled and when dinner was served I sat at the head of one of the tables and ate my salmon and asparagus off a fork (of course Mom cut it up and helped me with the fork). I never, ever, put my head down into the plate when sitting at a table. I to know that would be extremely bad manners.

I go once a month to T.C. Thompson Children’s hospital. Among all my tricks, the best one is putting a big smile on a sick kid’s face. I sit quietly on the bed next to a child to let him/her pet me. I don’t move around the bed or ever step on the child, which is pretty important since many have had surgery. We would both love to go more often, but there are too many dogs who love to do the same thing. Mom is certainly blessed to have a boss who sees the importance in what we do, that she can take off work every month to do this.

I am scheduled to go to an elementary school next week. The children have been reading about service dogs, and they want me to come so they can see a real, live, therapy dog. Mom says I will probably spend the time sniffing under their desks for crumbs!

It’s been such a busy year! I am looking forward to lots more fun in the year ahead.

Ya’ll be good, and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!

Lexi, the birthday girl

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