The Cavalier King Writes Again

Dear Diary,

I’m on tenterhooks, awaiting news of the Queen’s Jubilee. Each morning, when Cook leaves for the day, I switch the channel on the telly to the BBC, in hopes that I will learn more about preparations for the festivities. I pray I soon secure my passage to Britain, so that I, too, may partake in the most anticipated event of the century!

In the meantime, my birthday milestone is quickly approaching and I have not as yet heard what is planned for me. My own Jubilee, perhaps, replete with fireworks and a basket of tennis balls, procured for my enjoyment? A new cashmere bed? Or, a platter of delicious morsels to indulge my palette? Or maybe, Cook has finally commissioned my portrait to be done, with the expectation that someday it will hang at Buckingham Palace. What a fetching swath I will cut when my likeness adorns the palace walls!

To be certain, I can only assume that, as I am turning five, Cook and Valet have something keen in store. No doubt a surprise, in which the who’s who of London will be on the A List, including the Queen herself! But please, don’t let the Kardashians or the Salahis crash my soiree! Most unbecoming!

In order to prepare for my portrait sitting, I am determined to get into shape. Which means, as of today—no, make that as of tomorrow—I will increase the number of my daily constitutionals by four. Generally, there are three types of constitutionals I enjoy: The ones in which I’m escorted by Cook, the mid-day strolls with Nanny, and the rather frolicking ones in which my valet accompanies me.

Of course, the first line of duty, when I begin my walk, is to allow my fellow canine brethren, to greet me by permitting them to sniff my, ahem, never mind. No need to go into all that. Suffice it to say, it’s an obligation that comes with the royal throne. I am a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, after all. Noblesse oblige, I say.

Each morning, Cook takes me on my first walk of the day. ‘Tis a brisk one and quite exasperating, actually, because it is my desire to stop and smell the flowers, the trees, the fire hydrants and the lamp poles, but Cook is soon annoyed by my lackadaisical demeanor, as she is often in a rush to leave for the day, continuously mumbling under her breath something about wanting to “beat the traffic.” Whatever that means.

Cook rarely allows me to romp in the grass as the carefree lad that I am. She’s concerned about my knees. A few years ago, I had to have surgery for a luxating patella—a slipped kneecap—and the royal vet recommended I rest my knee. I believe he meant during the recovery phase, but Cook took it to mean, for the rest of my life. As I plan to live forever, that would indeed be a long respite.

The walks with my valet are much more to my liking. He allows me to take the reigns while I pull him full throttle, leading us willy-nilly into the bushes, circling around trees, and changing paths as I see fit. Luckily, I have convinced him that my knees are fine and have told him that if I am to get any exercise at all, he must always bring along a tennis ball. Happily, he is an obedient servant.

I just adore fetch, and the heart wants, what the heart wants. There’s nothing more capital than a good game. Of course, I only run in order to catch the ball. It is beneath me to bring the ball back to my valet. If he wants it that much, he must come to me to retrieve it. Indeed, all dogs should know, that this is far more fair than making us do all the work.  After all, we are not heathens. We are dogs, hear us roar!

Lastly, Nanny takes me on my mid-day stroll, along with my friend and canine companion, Lord Shack. The three of us have a merry time and I make sure to nibble at the berries I encounter in the bushes. It is lunchtime, after all!

Diary, that is all for today. The noble life can be exhausting, filled as it is with so many obligations, including walks, and barking at trucks. Speaking of which–here comes one now!


A Dog’s Diary

It’s a new year and in honor of it, I, too, have made a resolution. I would have told you sooner, but this is the first time this year that Cook has permitted me to post. Rather cheeky of her, I’d say, seeing how she knows I am a dog with much on my mind. And a royal one at that!

Mind you, my resolution is not as daft as Cook’s plan to read 50 books and see 50 films. From my vantage point, about 12 inches off the ground, her plan is quite over the top. Fifty Fifty? More like Ten Twenty, I’d say, for I don’t think she can handle reading more than 10 books in one year–and even that’s a stretch. After all, Cook does have to see to my needs.

Now, my resolution is much better because it is more realistic. I have decided to keep a diary. I’m calling it, “A Dog’s Diary,” and with any luck, this diary will convey my life story in a fashion suitable for a king.

Day One

Dear Diary,

I am writing from my perch on the sofa, one I rarely leave except to eat or to take my daily constitutionals. It’s a lovely sofa, done up in regal red, most suitable for a dog of my stature. For I’m a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and I aspire to the highest of callings: To one day sit in the lap of luxury, and by that I mean, on the lap of the Queen.

And speaking of the Queen, did you know that this is the year of her Jubilee celebration? Isn’t this splendid news? I am beside myself with glee just thinking about it! Indeed, I could jump for joy, but first I must take my nap. Writing really is such exhausting work.

There! I’m back from my four-hour nap, which was rather delightful. When I awoke, I was hoping it was time for dinner, but Cook has yet to return from…from…well, wherever she goes when she’s not here. So, I’ll just write in my diary until she does—hold on a minute! I hear a truck approaching, which can only mean one thing! Trouble. Must go bark at it at once!

Okay, I’m back. The truck has pulled away. Crisis averted. Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. I was about to tell you how there are few indignities a Cavalier suffers more than that of being made to look, well, ridiculous. After all, as a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, I pride myself in my appearance.

Which is why I insist on going to the groomers once a month. After all, I do not like looking natty. If it were up to me, I’d be visiting the groomer at least once a week. But when I conferred with Cook about this, she muttered something under her breath that, when I start working and earning my keep, then I can go to the groomers as often as I want. Imagine that! A king with a day job. Well, not on my watch!

So, for now, I must undergo the indignity of not looking my best everyday. Most recently, I was humiliated when I was forced to wear this:

I ask you, is this any way to treat a royal? Cook says I must wear this mac when it rains, so I don’t get wet. Pshaw, I say! Until they invent boots that stay on a dog’s paws while he saunters about, there is no avoiding getting wet. Worse yet, Cook is on the prowl for a cap for dogs with a built-in umbrella to protect a dog’s head from the rain. I cringe and dread the day she finds one and makes me wear it. She has shown me a photograph of one that is designed for humans and it looks like this:

I ask you, is this anyway to treat a–oh, dear! For goodness sakes! Another truck in the vicinity. I must get into barking mode, stat!


To the Manor Born

A Guest Post by Henry

As I write this, I am being held captive in a condo, somewhere in California. Of all places. Do not ask me how I came to be here, as I cannot recall. I was but a wee one when I arrived. Though, I dare say, I have frightful memories of the automobile ride here.

It was a terrifying experience. I’m pretty certain that I was blindfolded. Either that, or I was too bewildered to open my eyes. Indeed, I was shaking like a leaf, having never been in a vehicle before. So nervous was I, that I pooped in my trousers twice. Though, at the time, I wasn’t wearing any.

I am Henry, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, descended from royalty, and to the manor born. ‘Twas on a sunny day in spring that my life began. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and sycamore trees swished gently in the breeze. For the first few weeks, all was well with the world. Then, quite suddenly, I was plucked from my mother’s bosom and taken from the only home I’d ever known. A tragedy, I know. I was eight weeks old and barely a lad.

I cannot fathom why this happened, but I imagine it was a cruel joke, along the lines of The Prince and the Pauper. I, of course, being the prince. And now, here I am, trying to make the most of my pauper life, finding out how the other half live–and let me tell you, it’s quite ghastly at times.

Maybe someday I will be able to return to take my rightful place on the throne. On the queen’s lap, of course (though they tell me I’m rather big for a Cavalier and would not be able to fit on her lap). Until then, I shall muddle through in this modest, cluttered home.  I suppose I could do much worse. I try everyday to make the most of things, living with my people. After all, noblesse oblige.

I live with three people. First and foremost, there’s Cook. She prepares all my meals, though I’m peeved that she never checks to see if my food has been poisoned.  Those of noble blood cannot be too careful, you know, which is why I am forced to check my food myself. Each time I devour it, I am sure I am going to croak. But so far, that hasn’t happened.

Cook has a blog, one that is all tangled. I don’t know why she calls it that. I’m hoping one day to have a blog of my own, so I can regale you with stories of my adventures here, including my vain attempts to get the attention of my humans, which isn’t easy when they are watching the telly.

Also, living here is my Lady-in-Waiting. This is humiliating, because kings should not have Ladies-in-Waiting! But I come from a strong ilk, so I take such slights on the chin. In any case, my Lady-in-Waiting is seldom here. She leaves periodically for school, or something to that effect, and stays there for months at a time. I never know when she is going to leave or when she will return. As a captive, I am most often kept in the dark.

Then there is my valet. A strapping, young gentleman, who Cook calls son. I am pleased to say, my valet is kind enough to see to my needs, as I have many. He feeds me on occasion—when Cook has the day off—and escorts me to the park, protecting me from the legions of unruly dogs that want to sniff my backside. It is, no doubt, their way of paying their respects to me.

I rather enjoy taking my constitutional with my valet. For, unlike Cook, he often brings a tennis ball so that we can play fetch. Some might say I’m obsessed with tennis balls, but I’m just having a jolly, good time. Indeed, they are my passion. I can sniff out a tennis ball more than 20 feet away, and I fly off the handle when I do. The ball can be buried in the bushes, caked with soil and other dogs’ drool, yet I can always detect it. Cook has said, many a time, “If a tennis ball ever commits a murder, Henry will find it out.” And she is quite right!

That is all for now. I do hope Cook allows me to post again. Perhaps she will, with your encouragement. In the meantime, if you see my mum, please let her know that I miss her dearly, and that I will always wear the mantle of my royal heritage with pride.  Better yet, please send me a map so I can find my way home.

Until then, cheerio!