One of the highlights of my travels has been meeting the various cats and dogs into whose little worlds I stepped. I was always excited to learn from my hosts that I would soon have the pleasure of meeting these new, funny four legged friends.
I haven’t owned a pet since I was a child. Her name was Twinkle (like the song about the star), and we got her when I was 2 years old (we were the same age – it was destiny). In my mom’s usual style…we brought home Twinkle and her sister Apricot to “try them out.” Twinkle “won” and became our new family member. She was a white cocker spaniel-poodle mix (often horribly abbreviated to “cocka-poo”). Because she was an outside dog, her naturally light-colored fur would often take on a grayish, matted look. Though she trembled and fought the very infrequent and torturous bathings that we forced on her, she became a maniacal little cotton ball when they were done, as she knew that meant “inside house time.”
It was here that we watched tv together (I think this is one of the reasons she was selected over Apricot – she actually directed her eyeballs straight at the television set, and this delighted me and my two older brothers). When the K-Tel records were busting out Olivia Newton-John or Joe Jackson, I grabbed Twinkle by her two front paws, stood her up her hind legs, and we danced together with torsos touching, in admiration of the beats. And even though Twinkle knew that that the kitchen was off limits to her, we would every so often find her there, by the fridge, near the table…head lowered, turned away, hiding that glint of adventure in her eyes…the force of her need for exploration having overcome the inevitable shame she would feel in having let us down. Clearly feeling that shame and without much fuss, she would turn her rebellious little body and walk quietly back out to the family room, to the square within which she was allowed. And we would resume watching television and dancing.