Creatre Comforts: February Daverio dogs-only meeting is a Q&A about Walter’s birthday
Attendees: Miriam, moderator (dachshund, 13), Kevin (dachshund, 10), Ivy (big, shaggy dog of mixed parentage, 5), Marty (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 5), Phyllis (dachshund-chihuahua blend, 8 months)
In absentia: Walter (dachshund, 15)
Agenda: Q&A regarding Walter’s most recent birthday
Miriam: Ok, settle down everybody. Phyllis! Stop messing around and sit still — you’re the one with all the questions.
Ivy: Phyllis, seriously, GRR — stop yanking my beard. It’s not funny.
Phyllis: It is kinda funny. C’mon don’t be such a stuck up sticky bun.
Marty: Mmm, sticky buns.
Miriam: I call this meeting to order–
Kevin: Why do YOU get to moderate, Miriam? I’m in charge of the front-of-house security, now. I’m also chief floor cleaner. Don’t I rank higher than you?
Miriam: I’m older, wiser, and can still clean your clock if you push my buttons, Kevin, and you know it.
You middle management types are all the same. Lifting your leg on stuff doesn’t raise your status, BTW, it’s just gross.
Ivy: Um, you’re one to talk, Miriam — you emptied your bladder on the dining room rug just the other day.
Miriam: That’s different! It wasn’t a passive aggressive move to mark my territory. Don’t you remember it was SNOWING and it was, like, NINE degrees outside? I have standards and limits.
Phyllis: I do my business outside. It’s not so bad. Snow is fun! I like to hop like a bunny and run around and dig real fast with my front feet, and stick my whole face in it and deep inhale! Why don’t you try that? You could chase me! That would be awesome! Why are you all so grumpy? You guys need to loosen up.
Marty: Maybe we don’t feel like running around. Some of us prefer long naps on the couch.
Miriam: And prefer not to have our delicate footies numbed by the cold. But, while I could go on about my hatred of winter, we have, once again, strayed off topic. We are here to answer Phyllis’s many questions about Walter’s recent birthday. So as not to embarrass him (and because he’s taking a power nap and preferred not to attend) we are convening without him.
Kevin: Also, Miriam’s a power-hungry VP, and couldn’t wait to take over.
Phyllis: I like Miriam — she knows a lot. Girl power!
Miriam: Thank you, Phyllis.
Ivy: Um, I’m WAY bigger, I can leap 4-foot fences without a running start, can steal food off the counter any time I please (when the people aren’t surveilling), and can flatten all of you with one of my big, moppy paws. But I respect my elders. And Miriam can be kinda mean, so I’m gonna give her this one.
Miriam: Ahem. So, Walter’s birthday. Phyllis, you have the floor.
Phyllis: Yay! Wait — what do I have to do with the floor?
Ivy: It means you’re allowed to talk, now.
Phyllis: Ohhhh — okay. When I get done talking on the floor, could we all run on the floor? That’d be super fun!
Miriam: Phyllis, let’s move it along. We’re skipping our naps for this.
Phyllis: Sorry! Ok, so since last week, I have a lot of questions.
Kevin: Umm, when do you NOT have a lot of questions?
Phyllis: Sorry everybody. I’ve got so much to learn. Okay, here goes. So, what’s a birthday and why’s it such a big deal?
Miriam: People think it’s important to celebrate stuff. Supposedly, the day you were born is one of those things people celebrate.
Phyllis: Oh, no! I don’t remember being born. How will we celebrate my birthday?
Marty: It’s some kind of people magic. One day, when you’re least expecting it, suddenly, everybody’s extra nice to you, singing you Happy Birthday.
Phyllis: There’s cake AND singing?!
Marty: Mmm, cake.
Miriam: Cake’s great, but singing makes me uncomfortable.
Phyllis: What was that bright, flickering light on the top of the cake?
Miriam: They light the top of the cake on fire with these things called candles, which is bad enough, but then they blow them out and the smoke —
Ivy: It smells terrible! Makes us all sneeze.
Phyllis: How come we weren’t invited to Walter’s party?
Phyllis: How many years-old is Walter?
Phyllis: Wow! His Quinceanero!
Phillis: In the language of my people — his fifteenth birthday celebration! Very special — he’s now entering into adulthood!
Kevin: Um, our people speak English. And ENTERING adulthood? Sweetie, that ship has sailed.
Phyllis: I mean my Mexican ancestors. I’m part Chihuahua, you know. I hope I get a fancy dress for my Quinceanera. One to match my pearls.
Miriam: Mine’s next year, but PLEASE, just cake — no clothes!
— Daverio is a veterinarian at Williamsport West Veterinary Hospital. Her column is published every other Sunday in the Lifestyle section. She can be reached at email@example.com.