So, Jay tells me that his Mom is coming tomorrow, also from Toronto (like Dee) and he would like me to be on my best behaviour for her visit.

“What does that even mean?” I said with some not insignificant annoyance. “I am only that which I can be – no more and no less. I live and breathe, and love and learn, as a puppy does. To try to be anything else, to live as any other than myself, is the very root of absurdity and I’ll have none of it!”

“So who are you?” he enquired.

I expected an argument not an interrogative, and this caught me off-guard.

“I’m… ” I smacked my lips, ran my inordinately long tongue over them again and again as I thought about my response.


“I’m Rusty,” I said, shrugging my puppy shoulders.

“I’m eight and a half pounds of trembling, happy puppiness. I’m thoughtful, considerate, yet firm and demanding, with a solid sense of right and wrong as it seems to me.


I’m curious and inquisitive. I’m brave, courageous, but sensible enough to know when bravery is counter-productive. I’m determined and firm of purpose, yet flexible enough to know when to ‘just be’. I’m questioning, interested, absorbed, yet respectful and demure. Some things bother me, but my solution to those is simple and long-lasting: I just growl and move on.

I’m wide open for learning, yet I am so suitably and minimally suspicious as to decry the learning of silliness – at least such silliness as does not seem innate to me.


I’m cute – I admit it, I’m not ashamed – and sometimes I play that up a bit – I admit it, I’m not ashamed.


I’m a laugher, a player, a bouncer, a licker – I don’t know what it is, I just can’t help myself.


I enjoy my treats, which I consider an entitlement since I’m so good all the time. I don’t like having my feet or tail brushed – no matter how scruffy I look (you really just don’t want to go there). At present there are four actual words in my lexicon – they are: ‘Rusty’, ‘treats’, ‘no’, and ‘sit’. I’m working on adding to that total – I think next will be ‘shake a paw’ and ‘good boy’, perhaps ‘come here’ – some day.” I stopped to think. “Nope, that’s about it,” I concluded.

“That’s not bad for only four months,” he proclaimed.

“I’m proud of it,” I replied with my widest possible grin.


“One question, though.”


“Why isn’t “walkies” in your lexicon?”

“Ha,” I smiled. “It is now.”



About James McDonall

I believe in laughing, especially at yourself, and as often possible. I believe in "live and let live". I believe that communication is the foundation of all our solutions. I believe that listening is more important than speaking, and that speaking should always serve the cause of listening. View all posts by James McDonall

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