She\’s red, and getting redder, and she\’s feisty. Dog people say “Well, she\’s a red-head,” and give me knowing looks. She\’s the biggest, though perhaps not the heaviest, of her litter–almost as big as her mother. I suspect she has Irish Setter genes . (So much for my hopes for a tiny, easy-to-carry pup.) She has the best eye contact of any puppy I\’ve ever had, which gives me hope in my darkest moments. She knows how to wait while I put her food bowl down, and to look at me before she plunges in. But she\’s not terrific at housebreaking—if I don\’t keep my eye on her every minute, or keep her in the crate, we have disasters.
She\’s learning to inhibit her bite, which makes handling her a lot less painful these days. When she\’s out in the field and I call her, she comes barreling to me. I don\’t have any illusions that this will last, though. In another month or so, when she\’s in her teens, she\’ll find the merest deer poop more interesting than me.
Speaking of which, she has already discovered the glories of goat and chicken and yes, deer poop. It dismays me to think that this royally-bred dog is supplementing her diet this way. But who knows what horrors her ancestors delved into in the court of Charles II—I mean, chamber pots and all. I\’m resigned to the fact that she\’s a Vermont Cavalier, and like all Vermont aristocrats, she wears mud and manure on her leg feathers.
She knows to skirt respectfully around Lexi\’s invisible domains in the house, and she adores Wolfie. They lie on their sides, face to face, and play mouth games, by which I mean that her whole head ends up inside his mouth. But I cannot let them play together outside—he travels too fast, and sometimes has trouble braking as he gets to her.
She fulfills to the hilt the ancient names of “comfort spaniel” and “spaniel gentle.”
Never was there a cozier dog to nap with. She groans with pleasure as I draw the afghan over us, and falls blissfully asleep, right up against me. While Lexi and Wolfie disdain dog beds—a rug is the most they\’ll consent to lie on in the coldest nights—Bisou is a sofa lover, and an afghan connoisseur. And above all, she loves laps.
Reading this over, it sounds pretty idyllic. I\’ll have to remember it at 6 tomorrow morning, as I stand on the frozen grass while Bisou gazes as the stars.