My Toy Maltese, Miss Chantilly Lace—“Tillie” to a few of her closest friends—is a devoted old soul. Next month she will turn 70 in dog years. By the hesitancy in her eyes when I call her to jump onto my bed, or to dance a whirling jig on her hind legs for a chewy bacon treat like she used to, it’s evident that Father Time and aging are not being kind to her. Her little knees ache at times, making her an excellent weather forecaster for those rainy days. While she’s a bit slower to get going in the mornings, she still has spunk, making the rounds of her vast kingdom—my back yard—lecturing the squirrels, chasing any unidentified birds out of her territory and keeping it safe for her family. Knowing Tillie is on the alert is a comfort and a blessing.
She loves me, has been deeply devoted to me since I purchased her as a puppy from a kindly retired veterinarian in Ardmore back in 2002. Yet there’s a definite fickle streak in that tiny six pound body. She will attach herself with wildly enthusiastic abandon to any visitor who comes through our front door. Her captivating black marble eyes instantly charm, yet when sensing a new situation and not completely sure of her reception, she escalates her nervous habit (we all have them, don’t we?). In fact, the welcome mat at the entrance to my home says, “Beware: Dog cannot hold its Licker!”
There are those times when her lack of licker control can be a nuisance. Yet she will always calm down, especially if you’re willing to perform an undercover operation. Just cover your lap with one of our small fleece throws; then she immediately scoots under, settles in beside you, goes completely silent—and off to sleep. Licker silenced.
But if you want to really see the blazing fast communications technology at our house, come around to the side gate. Thomas Edison invented the telephone and the telegraph. My Maltese created Tilliepathy.
I mean, just look! The grass-worn path from our gate to the back door is getting deeper and deeper with use. The instant Tillie sees her Daddy step out of his diesel F-250, she abandons her lookout post at the gate, makes a beeline for her doggy door, and meets him as his key turns in the lock. Our Tilliepathy is pretty dependable; very appreciated; and a memory that I cherish, whether it kills the grass, tunnels through snow, or fills with seasonal rains…that’s love in action!