Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paisley, Clouddog

This is what I think about Paisley, the clouddog: I think he is a weenie and a scaredy cat. He is afraid of the goats, and he is afraid of me, and he is even a little bit afraid of the chickens. He avoids the paddock like the plague. He will not enter the pasture. He won't look me in my noble and soulful eye. He is a wimp.

This is what FarmWife thinks about the clouddog, and because I love her I am willing to let her use my blog as a platform for her views: She thinks the clouddog is a very sweet, very good, very nice dog.

FarmWife got clouddog as a backyard-breeder's cull when he was seven weeks old and she 22 years. She had a suburban apartment, a lively toddler, a full-time class schedule, a part-time job, a senior dog, a flighty cat and a pair of rats. A new puppy was, of course, necessary and appropriate for such a busy single mother. (My great big tongue, of course, is filling my capacious cheek.)

She did not get clouddog entirely of her own volition. She was coerced. You see, FarmWife had been keeping her beloved retired cob, Panda, at a boarding stable in Massachusetts. The proprietors happened to have kennels full of Australian shepherds, and happened to fancy the merle-to-merle breeding that so often results in double-dilute white puppies with hearing and/or vision deficits. FarmWife happened to be at the stable, scheduling the euthanasia of her terminally ill horse and suffering from a vulnerable emotional state, when she was offered a deaf white marshmallow of a dog. Between her racking sobs, she accepted, and so wee Paisley joined the family.

This is how Paisley lived: As her third priority. 1) Human baby. 2) Senior dog/beloved sidekick. 3) Annoying puppy. Paisley got walked, and pat, and trained, and played with, but Paisley was not the main thing going. Paisley was a back-burner project.

And this is how Paisley has been: Sweet. Good. Loving. Kind. Joyful. Endearing. Playful. Nice. Friendly. Welcoming. Benign.

Paisley has committed many crimes of enthusiasm in his life; knocking children down small flights of stairs; covering elegant guests in a felting of white hair; leaping for a stick and grabbing the hand that throws it. He has never, however, been in an altercation, engaged in a conflict, made a gesture of threat, issued a growl, or attempted to menace anyone. He has never looked askance at being tripped over by a playful child, being dominated by a touchy dog, being told what-for by a grouchy rabbit, or being controlled by an adult human.

Paisley is smart, but he is not the smartest dog FarmWife has known. Paisley is beautiful, but he is not the most beautiful dog FarmWife has known. Paisley is athletic, but he is not the most athletic dog FarmWife has known. What Paisley is, fundamentally, though, is nice. Paisley is the nicest dog FarmWife has known, and his gregarious love of humans—all humans, every human, any human in this wide world—is what Paisley will be remembered for.

In that, I think, Paisley the clouddog has much Muleness.



  1. Good dog, Paisley. Good dog.

  2. My Sweetpea, appropriately named Lab/Pit mix, has taken second (or third, or last) place nearly all of her life... most recently and seriously after the arrival last year of equine Valentino.

    Don't think she isn't aware of this fact - she is, and uses it as leverage (think extended walks, extra swimming sessions, more kisses) as often as she can. Guilt inducing stares are her specialty.

    Reading your post brought tears to my eyes... as Sweetpea has developed Cushing's and her time with us is uncertain. She's mostly an ordinary dog, but an extraordinarily loyal friend.

    Thanks for the reminder :)

  3. My dog has Paisley beat as far as being shy. My dog is afraid of people and other dogs and baby gates as well as mules and rabbits and chickens. She was afraid of the zebra finch for a long time too! But she and I understand each other and I think she probably has a reason for the fear so it's allowed. You are a big hearted mule to see the good in Paisley, Fenway.

  4. Thank you Fenway, for your gentle reminder that we should look for and find the good in those around us.

  5. I had the same problem with Shadow! Now I appreciate her for what she is: man's best friend. I love my Paisley feltings!


Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!