Monday, April 30, 2012

Enjoying The Small Things

Rose, like some young child with a developing curiosity, takes immense pleasure in life's seemingly minuscule things!! I love it!! Example: I can emerge from our garage carrying a package of bright orange baby carrots, and she acts as though I'm holding some juicy steak!! My mongrel dances. Then Rose gives me deep brown pleading eyes that are nearly impossible to resist!! As if she is telepathically begging: Gimme a carrot, Mama!! Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme!! And I smile. Why? Because I love my little girl!! Then, Rose is allowed a baby carrot, of course!! Our backyard lawn has needed mowed. However, with this wet and rainy Spring season we've experienced, its wavy green strands have grown freely!! What do you do? One cannot control the weather!! And, around here, when you are not mowing, something else pops up their cheery little yellow heads: Dandelions!! Lots and lots of them!! Yep!! Our backyard right now looks like a wild field of both yellow and white seed heads!! It is beautiful. Flawed. But beautiful. I love blowing on dandelions' fluffy seed heads!! Doing so is like passing through time, and suddenly I am no longer an adult. Nope!! I am a little girl again, with short limbs, bangs, pigtails, and zero worries in this world!! The other day, I was blowing on one. Rose, standing nearby, took immediate notice. I blew, and wispy seeds descended down like delicate snowflakes from the heavens. Rose's floppy ears perked. Her forehead furrowed. And she watched with the curiosity of a small child, as I replanted yet more dandelions into our grass!! I bent down and picked another. Rose's ears perked at the hollow sound of its watery stem being pulled from Earth's grounds. Her forehead furrowed. I blew on its seed head like birthday candles on a cake. Rose watched, her curiosity unwavering. It was adorable.... I did not want to stop!! Rose truly does enjoy the small things that are life's simple pleasures!! She is a good teacher. For Rose reminds me every day in this fast-paced society that we are stuck in to do the same.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Best Kind Of Mixed Breed

Blogging Friends.... If you have not already figured this out, I am a shameless advocate of mixed breed canines and mutt adoption on my blog!! I'm unapologetic, really!! Why? Because I share my existence with a certain Beautifully Unique "Mystery Dog", named Rose!! And.... Based upon personal observation, seemingly nobody owns mongrels!! But that is just what I have seen.... So, twice monthly, on every first and second Thursday (Better late than never.... Right?) I will be expressing my feelings regarding anything mixed breed!! But do not desert me, dear Friends, because of this one blog post. Please. There will be plenty of stories to come!!

I was hiking with Rose one day, when we met this nice lady. A fellow dog lover and owner of, I am certain, an adorable purebred Beagle. "He" appeared to be absent. She asked what kind of canine Rose was. I answered this woman, only to swiftly add: "She's a mystery.". And then, the words that this lady said in reply will remain with me forever. Because they have left a lasting impact on my life!! "They're the best kind.". Wow.... Rose is, indeed, a "Mystery Dog". I have decided to embrace this very fact. Shout it loud and proud, as though I am atop some high roof!! Because we don't truly know what breeds are present within Rose's DNA.... This entire experience has been based on mere guesses!! And, while I never, not for a single second, had any issues about my girl being mixed breed, it was the unknown that irked me. That's right!! The not knowing got to me. And I enjoy mysteries!! I read them whenever I'm in the mood. Which is not too often anymore!! But, as a mystery's pages turn, its story evolves. There are plots. Enemies. Strange occurrences. Surprises. And, as a mystery's chapters progress, there is always an ending!! Oh, if only life were as predictable!! With merely a clue here and there, I can solve Rose's mix!! But do I want to? There is, of course, a way. I wrote about it sometime on this blog. How? A mixed breed DNA test kit!! They are simple to order and, apparently, accurate. However, mixed breed DNA test kits are also quite expensive.... 70-plus dollars, depending on the company!! Ouch. That is an awful lot of money for just solving a "Mystery Dog's" mix!! So.... Do I want to? One word: Nope!! Would knowing what breeds are present within Rose's DNA cause me to love her more? Quite the contrary!! Because I am a mystery, myself. I've expressed this before. I have "developmental delays", or learning disabilities, if you will. No pediatrician/child psychiatrist ever diagnosed my neurological disorders!! So we are alike, Rose and me!! Yep. Despite vast differences in our species, we are the same!! This not knowing what kind of canine Rose is actually causes me to love her even more, strange as that sounds. She's Beautifully Unique. My "Mystery Dog". She is the best kind of mixed breed!!   

Blogging Friends.... I feel the need to clarify. Do I oppose mixed breed DNA test kits? No. I do not!! It is crucial in most cases to "know" your dog(s). Having his/her "breed" determined helps. A great deal. But on the other hand, knowing his breeds does not necessarily guarantee that you will ever "understand" him!! Rose is my "food lovin'" little girl. She's motivated by treats because of the Beagle within her. But then, any dog can be a "food lovin'" creature!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rose's Friend Shelby

I try my best to walk Rose on a set schedule. At the same time every morning. Because schedules are important for dog owners. But, life happens, and I occasionally walk Rose fifteen minutes late during the mornings, her red leash attached securely to my right arm. When I do, we meet this Jr. High-aged girl named Shelby. Shelby is waiting for a long yellow school bus. She resides in an apartment nearby. Shelby loves animals and aspires to be a veterinarian someday. Whenever Rose spies Shelby with her colossal brown eyes, she grows excited!! Instantaneously!! Those brown floppy ears perk. Her forehead furrows. She whines quietly. Then, more times than not, Rose's mighty vocal chords let out some high-pitched baying!! What a gleeful, albeit eardrum-piercing sound!! And, after baying, Rose's entire face usually wrinkles up, as her tongue dangles out!! A "smile". Rose "inherited" that wrinkled-face feature from the Beagle!! Shelby greets my little girl with enthusiasm, like she has never seen a canine before. She strokes Rose's velvety fur and makes nice remarks about that. "You're so soft!!". Shelby gently pinches Rose's loose throat skin with her fingers. She kisses my mongrel on the lips. Says things to Rose like: "You're so sweet!! So good!! So submissive!! I wanna take you home with me!!" We do actually converse in casual conversation together. About Rose. Life. About animals. Veterinary subjects. Then, we part ways!! The other morning, Shelby paid Rose and I a surprise home visit. At 7:30 AM. I was sitting on this very computer, editing Friday's blog post. Suddenly, sans warning, Rose "vocalized" her ferocious hound bark!! I leapt out of my skin. Screamed. My heart stopped beating for a second. I immediately ran toward our front door where Rose had been barking. I firmly scolded her. I pulled my boisterous beast away. Then somebody informed me that the doorbell was ringing!! What?! So I returned to our door, a barking Rose ahead of me. I opened it. Shelby?! Now, Rose grew excitable. Let the baying begin!! Oh dear.... By this moment, everyone who resides in our home was wide-awake. No doubt about that!! Even the heaviest sleeper can get jolted awake by Rose!! I was friendly with Shelby's house-call, but a little curious about how she found my home!! This morning, I purposefully made an effort to walk Rose late. And, as we were nearly at the "halfway point", there was Shelby!! Rose's colossal brown eyes saw her. I recognized immediately that it was Shelby. Rose's brown floppy ears perked. Her forehead furrowed. I remained nonchalant. So far not even a whine came from Rose's vocal chords. Good girl.... Then Shelby squealed: "Hi baby!!".... From all the way down our street!! Oh no.... That was all the permission Rose needed. Her mighty vocal chords let out some high-pitched bays in reply. Around 7:15 AM!! I then attempted everything to calm down Rose. I touched her fur. I made "shhhhing" sounds. I was verbally firm. I used my left hand as a makeshift "muzzle" to quiet her. Nothing worked!! Then, yes, I mentally threw up my hands in surrender. Because, like with a screaming tantrum-throwing toddler, I was not going to win this one!! So we ran toward Shelby!! Finally Rose was calm.... We will be walking fifteen minutes late every morning now. To see Shelby. "Late" is the new normal.                     

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Stranger's Thoughtfulness

Sometimes, in this thing we call "life", quaint occurrences take place that leave you both moved and emotionally touched. They are nearly always mundane happenings. Seemingly trivial, even. But these occurrences somehow mean the world to whoever receives them, as though they are a thousand-dollar diamond engagement ring. Truly. The other day, Rose and I experienced one of those moments. We were partaking in our morning walk. Later than usual. Up and down the cul-de-sac, as always. Whenever we are running late, for reasons beyond my comprehension, Rose and I witness this male, middle-aged, silver-haired, school bus driver. He pulls into our cul-de-sac, as though making a wrong turn, spins around, then drives away. Every morning that I have noticed!! The vehicle which he drives is small-sized and yellow-colored. It could only carry, perhaps, twelve kids. Yet this middle-aged, silver-haired, school bus driver never has passengers with him. Not even one child. He drives alone. At first, we would exchange polite smiles as Rose watches with curiosity, colossal brown eyes intent, ears perked, forehead furrowed. It is like she telepathically says: Hey!! It's that yellow school bus again, Mama!! Who is the driver? Can I meet him? Shortly thereafter, our exchanged smiles evolved into a swift wave of the hand. Rose and I walk late nearly every Thursday, so this has become routine. Expected, like a certain "cursed" Major League Baseball team to never win any World Series Championships. The other morning, we were walking along, as Rose sniffed some green grass. I figured that she would most likely have a bowel movement. Alright.... I reached into my jeans pocket and realized immediately that I'd forgotten plastic bags!! Oops. Oh well.... We were close to home, anyway!! I would simply return with a plastic bag!! Then, like clockwork, into our cul-de-sac pulled the yellow school bus. It turned around.... And stopped!! Meanwhile, Rose continued on with her sniffing. She had zero cares in this world!! That's right!! Just like the Beagle within her DNA would!! But he had my attention!! I gave the bus driver this quizzical look. For whatever reason, I felt a twinge of guilt, as though he were some Principle, and I was about to be punished. Strange, I know. And this is coming from a Homeschooled girl who has never even met with any Principles!! Then, to my utter surprise, the yellow bus driver maneuvered something, and slid open his doors. "Do you allow your dog treats?" he asked. Now this bus driver had captured Rose's attention, as well. Her floppy brown ears heard the "t" word. Any time somebody says "treat", Rose's Attention Deficit Disorder vaporizes into thin air!! My "food-lovin'" girl.... Still a bit fazed by all of this, I answered nervously: "Yeah." I must have asked "Why?". For he then replied: "Because I have some." My mind raced. Oh my gosh, what am I doing? He is a stranger!! And I'm trusting him to give my dog a treat? What if it's tainted with poison? My thoughts spiraled out of control. But what do I say to him? "No. I don't allow my dog treats."? How bad would that look, an owner of a Beagle cross, who never gives her canine snacks? Really?! After this rapid thought, it was as though I were a robot, created by some geeky super-intelligent human being. Like my body did not belong to me anymore. All common sense that I once possessed fluttered away, as though it were a bright-winged butterfly. I placed one foot onto the yellow school bus' step. I did not walk any further. I held out my hand to receive his treat. Then, poof!! I transformed into a human again. Just like that. I paid close attention to his package as the bus driver pulled out twain small bits of treats. Beggin' Strips. There was a green stripe across its package. Beggin' Littles!! He tossed them in my direction. I missed, because I'm a lousy catcher!! But Rose got the treats!! She gratefully ate them both up, one of which fell near a street curb. Still nervous, my heart pounding, I uttered to the bus driver: "Oh, you're gonna be her best friend, now!!" And he answered with a smile: "I know." Several days later, I feel blessed by this stranger's thoughtfulness. Seriously!! By allowing this seemingly kind, generous man to toss Rose some Beggin' Littles, I most likely made his entire day!! He probably purchased those treats at a nearby Fred Meyer store, and had been waiting for us. This middle-aged, silver-haired school bus driver certainly made Rose's day!! And by the way? Those Beggin' Littles were not tainted with any kind of poison!! Rose is fine.      

Monday, April 16, 2012


Several years ago, while living in our old city neighborhood, a complete stranger lent me some valid advice. I owned Shadow then, my incorrigible, anti-social, dog aggressive "blond"-furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross. I had been dealing with seemingly endless training, as canines were everywhere. When I explained to this onlooker my intentions regarding disciplining Shadow, his or her polite response went something like this: "You're never done training.". So true, so true!! And, since dog owners are never finished training, there will be, at some point or another, a victory, whether minuscule or colossal, to celebrate!! An amazing source of evidence that hard work is paying off!! Score!! The other night, on Saturday, at 10:PM, I experienced one of those sweet moments. I was taking Rose for her evening walk. Darkness had befallen upon us, and all around our cul-de-sac were sleeping houses. Lights out, neighbors in bed. Rose and I were nearly home when, suddenly, a red Ford car drove through our street. I recognized it immediately. This red Ford car belonged to Carmella, who resides in a yellow house across the street. I recognized its driver, too, which was not Carmella. Nope!! It was John, a tall man with long silver hair. He has quite the reputation of shooting hoops!! Rose was curious, as always, her floppy ears perked, forehead furrowed, and colossal brown eyes fixated. I patiently redirected her. "Come on, Rose...." I coaxed. Zero response. No muscle within Rose's canine body moved. She just stood there, stock-still, as John emerged from Carmella's red Ford car. Then, to my utter surprise, out leaped one of his four large dogs!! Oh.... I thought. In the pitch-black darkness, I could determine John's dog's breed. I think. It was his Labrador Retriever!! And "she" appeared to be off-lead, as usual. I froze in place. Now it was my turn to be stock-still. Rose has gradually taught me that overreaction--which I am good at--will only make matters worse. It doesn't help things at all!! Because if I am not under control myself, then neither will she be!! Honestly!! If I do something short of speaking, then Rose will bay!! Seriously!! Sometimes, opening my mouth is all it takes!! Not that I am complaining.... I'm just explaining how things are around here!! So I stood there, without a word. I watched John lead his Labrador Retriever inside. It was as though he had hypnotized us and we were both cast by some spell!! Rose did not make a single sound. No whine, bay, growl or bark. I did not make a single sound. I just breathed, my heart beating. We watched in synchronized silence, as their screen door closed shut. The coast was clear!! Then, finally, I burst into a joyous: "Good girl, Rose!! Good, good, good girl!! I'm so proud of you!!" That's right. I told Rose, a dog, that I am proud of her, as though she were some praise-hungry four-year old child!! And I meant it!! Then, John stepped back outside. And, sans hesitation on Rose's part, she let out this singular hound-like bark!! I tugged on her leash to deal with that behavior. John said something which I did not catch. Then came the baying!! I hunched over to stroke Rose's velvet-soft fur. My touch calmed her almost instantly!! Yes, I am proud of Rose. For "You're never done training.". I believe that this applies just as equally for owners, as well!! And we have both come a long way.    

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playing It Safe

Blogging Friends: Well, it is that time again, a rare day that only comes around every now and then. When superstitious people literally believe in bad luck. It is Friday the 13th!! Yep!! As someone who is oddly fascinated by superstition, yet does not believe in any of that nonsense, I love Friday the 13th!! I look forward to it!! I embrace and celebrate Friday the 13th!! I know, I know.... I'm weird!! Anyway, happy Friday the 13th, Blogging Friends!!

In light of this rare opportunity I, of course, have an appropriate story--about Rose--to write!! My girl is a seemingly cautious canine. She's afraid of long stick-like objects. The vacuum cleaner cord terrifies her. She is absolutely opposed to toy guns.... Especially our dart-shooting Nerf weapons!! Rose grows visibly uneasy around those!! I have even jokingly referred to her as my "pacifist", like she's a human being who strongly dislikes war!! When, in reality, Rose is just worried about being shot at!! Poor girl.... Also, she would make an unfit flyball dog, due to a fear of tennis balls being thrown in her direction!! Not that I mind, or anything!! There is apparently zero traces of Retriever within my Mystery Dog's DNA!! I accepted that fact gladly a long time ago!! She does not even play with balls!! Nope!! She ignores them. Honestly!! Whenever my youngest brother--Uncle Michael to Rose--and I partake in our own version of baseball together, she flees. Seriously. Flees!! Usually toward our patio, because it is well out of the way from hitting range!! Safe. For the most part!! Not that I blame Rose. When Uncle Michael hits my pitches, he aims either high or hard!! I mean it. Hard!! I have been bruised by Uncle Michael's hits. On my shin. Chest. Abdomen. Head. Pretty much wherever the ball can soar, going at least 100 miles-per-hour, like bullets from an Army tank, I have been hit!! Farfetched? I do not think so!! It is just a good thing that we use tennis balls, rather than what real Major League players hurl/hit with!! Obviously, they are softer!! Rose's "plan" once reaching our patio, is to sneak back inside. That would be ideal!! So Rose stands at our sliding glass door, her front paws propped upon a little step, as if willing it to open!! The other day, she was in luck. We were enjoying ourselves a nice sunshine-touched Spring afternoon. So the sliding glass door was open to allow some welcoming fresh air inside!! Once Uncle Michael and I began our baseball "game", as usual, Rose fled. Initially, she walked toward the patio. Then, through our wide-open sliding glass doors Rose stepped. Inside. Toward safety. Toward freedom from dangerous flying tennis balls!! Where only good luck awaited her....         

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The "Memory" Chest

Several months ago I got this small-sized brown-colored leather ottoman for my bedroom. Not to use as a footstool. Nope!! It was meant to be used as a storage unit.... For clothing. Because until recently, I seldom ever filled my dresser drawers with jeans and T-shirts, embarrassingly enough. Everything was carelessly thrown on the floor. Well, about one month ago, my mind conceived an idea. I have somehow always wanted a "hope chest". But as an unmarried woman, I never understood why. What do I have to hope for when I'll probably never exchange vows with my "soul mate"? No wedding dress to put in it. Zero pairs of minuscule baby shoes. Nothing. Aw, contentment. It is difficult to accept sometimes!! But then.... About one month ago, my Mom's old cedar chest was left open. I took a peek inside. I did not lift any items up, or shift things around. I just looked inside. This got me thinking. Typically, over time, a wife's "hope chest" is filled from top to bottom with baby things, precious memories that can never be relived again. But I have no children. I own a canine, Rose, my beautifully unique Beagle/German Shepherd cross!! And before her was Shadow, an unforgettable "blond"-furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix!! So why not fill my small-sized brown-colored leather ottoman from top to bottom with dog memories? I pondered that notion. I weighed the positives, plus its inevitable negatives. That's right. The pro's and the con's. I imagined what I was going to put in there. I took my sweet time. For I have never been one to make rash decisions!! Then, I did it. Hooray!! I emptied my ottoman of its clothing contents. I collected both Shadow's and Rose's memories. They had been scattered from one place to another in my bedroom. A black/blue tattered leash. That belonged to Shadow. A black muzzle. That was Shadow's. She had to wear it after biting our former neighbor's Corgi mix. A red harness. That belonged to Shadow as well. Some of these irreplaceable memories still have her "blond" fur attached!! Several old saliva-stained plush squeaky dog toys. Those were Rose's. Both Shadow's and Rose's red/white fuzzy velvet Christmas stockings. A soft "Beagle" stuffed animal. That is mine, for memory's sake!! An amazing children's book about this "Mystery Dog", entitled: "Zak: The One-of a kind Dog" by Jane Lidz. My glass Beagle Christmas ornament. I would never hang "him" on a tree, for fear that "he" will fall and shatter into a bazillion pieces!! My ceramic "Home is where the dog is." wall hanging. Its painted picture shows a yellow colored pup sleeping soundly on "her" owner's bed. That was Shadow.... My big "Housedog"!! Literally!! My royal blue rubber wristband with the capitol white words declaring: "ADOPT A SHELTER DOG, MAKE A BEST FRIEND.". I purchased that while adopting Rose!! A Ziploc-like baggie full of cookie cutters. For baking Rose treats!! And my bright-colored cardboard "memory box". What is that? It's actually a picture frame box that our dear friend Roberta gave me years ago!! Inside are tiny diverse memories, both about Shadow and Rose!! Then, draped neatly over the small-sized brown-colored leather ottoman is a beautiful quilt. It was made by my Aunt Donna and cousin Desiree years ago!! Across the quilt are various dogs, words, plus paw prints. One of its canines, I believe, is a Golden Retriever/Poodle cross!! Also known, of course, as the "Goldendoodle"!! Yeah!! Score one for mixed breeds!! Plus, among the diverse words, I have noticed, are two different variations of "Mutt"!! Sweet!! Sadly, there were some old memories lost to water and mold several years ago. Shadow's black "halti" which she wore on her face. This was a training "tool" against lunging toward other canines. Shadow's broken leash. She went through so many!! Shadow's "shake can". This was a Pepsi can filled with pennies to help discourage her barking and aggression toward other dogs. It is tragic. These are memories irreplaceable.... That I will never get back. Ever. Over time, though, this small-sized brown-colored leather ottoman will be filled. From top to bottom. With memories of Rose. Someday, I might outgrow that ottoman. But then, I will simply need a bigger one!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beautifully Unique

As a former poetess, it is inevitable that I post the occasional poem. Makes sense.... Right? Well.... I found this one inside a book!! I thought it was very, very, very good. This poem reached in and touched my heartstrings. Yep. Plus it reminded me of Rose somehow, for reasons beyond my own comprehension. Because she is a mixed breed. Beautifully unique. She is my random-bred "Mystery Dog"!! And I would not have it any other way. Here's to you, Rose!!
Ode to a Mutt
Born in an ally, one of six was I,
No right to live, too tough to die.
Worn out mother, father unknown,
Runt of the litter, in a world alone.
Raised in the streets by wits alone,
Taken in twice by what I hoped was home.
Not well bred the people would say,
Can't keep him when he looks that way.
Legs too long, head too small,
Didn't notice the heart at all.
Look at me deep I wanted to say,
I'll give you love, please let me stay.
Somewhere I know there's a place for me,
Where I can share love someone will see.
Someone will look beneath my fur and skin,
See my soul and take me in.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

By My Side

Blogging Friends....
There was meant to be a post on Tuesday. But, life does not always go as planned!! Because we ran into various complications!! Computers!! Oh well, here it is now!!

Rose never ceases to amaze me, every day, as my social, well-behaved girl!! She loves people. Not to mention other dogs. And she enjoys it whenever we host party-like functions!! Are you kidding me?! The food!! Desserts!! New smells!! Family and friends!! Bring. It. On!! Rose would vehemently express.... If only she could talk!! Rose is always present during Easter Sunday gatherings, when our relatives come over. For her safety, I keep the red leash on until everybody's arrival. Then.... She's free!! During Thanksgiving dinner, our extended family is larger, with additional people. This includes my mother's cousin's ex-wife, who, based on my observation alone, seems terrified of canines. Which, I could be wrong about!! But I try to respect people's feelings and apprehensions. Not everyone likes dogs, sadly!! So, during our Thanksgiving Day celebrations, Rose remains securely attached to my right wrist!! The entire time!! Not that she minds, or anything. Rose can see the people, smell delicious foods, and is frequently pet by relatives!! Score!! Rose would say. And, honestly? I actually prefer having Rose leashed during such functions. This way, even though she is wonderful, everything's under complete control!! Plus, I do not have to keep a vigil eye on all things chocolate!! Phew.... I can relax about that!! The other day, I invited Rose to something entirely different. A baby shower!! That's right!! With zero men in attendance. My fussy infant niece. Our adorable, very chatty nearly three-year old second cousin. Excitable voices rising at times during a clothespin game.... I knew, sans any doubts, that Rose would be under her best behavior. Why not? Other than some serial high-pitched bays, she always is!! Once people arrive, my girl calms down!! Every time!! But not without some effort on my behalf!! Rose's baying, as I have learned since adopting her, is instinctive. All of her Beagle "ancestors" were most likely boisterous. She cannot control that baying any more than I regarding my short-term memory loss!! Seriously!! Do I deal with Rose's baying? Yes. I do!! I've attempted everything--including gently using my hand as a makeshift "muzzle"--but have since given in to this neat thing called "acceptance"!! Every dog owner needs that along the diverse paths we travel!! Have I given up on dealing with Rose's baying? No!! I recently discovered that Rose grows more hyperactive when I am not under control, myself. And, like a toddler's temper tantrum.... Her baying can sometimes be overwhelming!! There's nothing you can do about it!! But Rose's baying is not a behavioral issue, like I initially thought. So, I stroke her fur with an intense understanding, then calmly express "Ssshhing" sounds!! Once she is quiet, I softly say: "Good girl....". Then we resume whatever it was we were doing!! My infant niece is a sound sleeper, thankfully, so there are zero worries about Rose's incredible vocal chords awakening her. But still, I was taking no chances. As guests filed through our white magnetic living room door, I lead Rose toward them, away from my infant niece. And while she bayed and carried on with each "new" face, I did my thing. Rose calmed down!! And, as I sat in a chair toward the back, Rose by my side, everything seemed flawless!! She and I only experienced one minor incident. As soon as we started, my nearly three-year old second cousin was playing "peek-a-boo" from beneath the chair in front of Rose. She began to whine. I wanna meet that little girl!! Rose practically protested. A whine, as I have learned, always leads to baying!! So I walked Rose back toward our living room, stroked her velvet-soft fur, and calmly expressed "Ssshhing" sounds. Shortly thereafter, we returned. Everything ran smoothly from then on. She is such a good girl!!