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!


It’s a Dog’s Life

My Henry is very high maintenance. Even more so than me. He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which means he sees his groomer precisely every four weeks, whereas I’m lucky if I can see my hairstylist every eight weeks. During Henry’s last visit, his groomer informed me that she can feel some tension in the back of his neck and that it might be from stress. That I should try to massage his neck and shoulders, on a weekly basis, to help Henry alleviate this stress.

My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel takes a much-needed nap to alleviate his stress.

Stress? What is my dog stressed about? I’m the one working day in, day out. I’m the one blogging and trying to figure out what I’m going to write about next. All Henry has to do is decide if he wants to nap on the sofa, the comfy chair that I sit in when I’m watching TV, or simply lounge on one of three dog beds scattered around the home. There’s even a fourth dog bed in the garage that he sometimes likes to use. And there’s always my bed. So, is that the real problem? Have I given him too many choices for napping, that it has turned him into a basket case, simply because he can’t decide?

Then there’s Henry’s veterinarian, who has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of his own. Which makes him an expert when it comes to treating my dog. He’s given me a laundry list, which could fill a novella, if you ask me, that contains specific instructions on what I need to do for the care and comfort of Henry. Here’s a sampling:

  • Ear cleaning fluid: I’m supposed to squirt this in his ears twice a week and then rub them. Henry hates this and furiously shakes his head when I apply the solution, causing the liquid to spray all over me.
  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth: I have to brush his teeth at least once a week. Then, Henry’s supposed to rinse with a medicinal solution, but try as I might, I still can’t get him to gargle and not swallow.
  • Oral gel: This removes plaque from his teeth and freshens his breath (I guess he needs this for when he goes out on dates, thus proving even a dog can get more action than his owner). Problem is, Henry refuses to sit calmly with his mouth wide open so I can apply gel on his canines to my heart’s content.
  • Medicated shampoo for washing his face, to help reduce bacteria from getting into his mouth, which seems pointless, if you ask me. Apparently, Henry’s vet has never seen what this dog puts in his mouth when he’s out for a walk. Bacteria? Henry’s response to that is, bring it on!

Well, I guess I have to do all this because Henry is, after all, descended from royalty. His ancestors romped in some of the best palaces of England—Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, you name it. While my cavalier is confined to living in my tiny abode. Trust me, my place is no palace.

Did I rob Henry of his royal birthright?

Maybe Henry is stressed because he feels he’s been robbed of his birthright. Kind of like “The Prince and the Pauper.” I’m sure Henry’s thinking someone forced him to switch places with a pauper dog. My little “prince” probably takes stock of my place and says to himself, “I could do better.”

I told a saleswoman at the local pet supply store about my dog’s plight. She suggested I have his aura checked. Aura? How about his horoscope while I’m at it? Which, if I am to believe his, it’s time for Henry to put his nose to the grindstone and set long-term goals. I imagine Henry’s long-term goals consist of making sure he squeezes in enough nap times between meals, avoids having to take long walks with me, and collects as many tennis balls from the tennis court as he can muster. At last count, Henry had 34 tennis balls in his possession. (Best not to look under the sofa.)

So, there you have it. I’m living with royalty and all I can say is, who ever said it was a dog’s life?