Willow, 6/30/98 – 10/27/11

Dear Alix –

You won’t believe how incredible it is here!  There were lots of people to greet me when I arrived, although I don’t quite know how I got here.  It was a strange and sudden sensation – but felt very natural.  They had a party just for me, with all my favorite foods – even the ones you always said were disgusting.  I got presents too:  a pair of goggles and a white silk scarf to wear for kayaking, and also a Power Ranger Suit, like the one Thea has, except mine is turquoise!  I love it, even though the weather is so beautiful here that I don’t really need it.

But BEST of all, when it was time for bed that first night, there was an even bigger surprise for me.  I almost fainted with excitement, because there was Belle, standing right in front of me!  I could hardly believe my eyes.  She looked SO beautiful, just as I remember her.  I cried and cried with joy because I hadn’t seen her in so long and had missed her so very much!  Now I don’t let her out of my sight.  My bed is right next to hers, but usually I crawl onto hers and we snuggle a lot – just like old times.  And guess what!  Delbert, Lian, and Arnold are here too, and it’s wonderful seeing them!  Delbert still yips when he runs in the woods, and Lian still chases us, although now he pretends we’re too fast and he can’t catch us!  Isn’t that totally silly?  And Arnold has both his eyes – I barely remember him that way!  Belle still stops to smell every single flower, just like always, and still tells us all to slow down so we won’t miss stuff.  And sometimes she calls me Cousin Charlotte, just like in the old days.  Oh, how I missed that!  It’s so much fun being together again.  We go for lots of walks and we talk and talk.

There’s a magic pond next to a huge tree that Belle says is called a Willow tree.  I’m sure it was named for me!  The pond is like a mirror, except you wish for what you want to see.  So when I look in the pond, I see you instead of me.  I miss you all, but I’m trying hard to let you know that it’s beautiful here, that I’m comfortable and happy to be with my old best friends.  I feel young and strong again.  So please don’t worry about me.  You seem really sad, and I hope it’s not because of me.  I know you sense me sometimes because I can tell.  So listen very carefully and you will hear me.  Maybe then we won’t miss each other so much.

Love, Willow

Letter from Vermont

Dear Mom and Dad,

Here I am in Vermont – writing you letters from camp yet again. I was excited to meet another ruby girl.  She is Luna’s sister, and her name is Bisou. You’d think that we’d choose to stick together just because of our fabulous color, but mostly we ended up together because we both have difficulty ignoring challenging obstacles, such as dog gates.  These barriers are so simple to deal with.  I don’t understand why we’re the only ones who go over them.  Maybe it’s because we are red heads – you know what they say about red heads.  But whatever else people might say, we are definitely WAY smarter than everyone else here.

Bisou moans a lot.  She moans when she’s waiting to go outside; she moans when she’s waiting to be fed. Alix said that a trainer came and “temperament tested” her litter when they were about 8 weeks old.  The trainer said that the puppies hadn’t developed very much “frustration tolerance” because Alix was too nice to them.  For heaven’s sake!  How is it possible to be too nice to puppies?  That’s ridiculous.

I miss the good old days when there was only Willow, Gio, and me.  They recognized my superior status.  Now there are dogs here who don’t know who I am, and they don’t show proper deference to me.  There have also been monster big dogs.  I mean, there were 12 dogs here last week, and four of them were huge!  I wasn’t very happy about the big guys.  They were perfectly nice, but it’s a little terrifying.  Wolfie’s head is as big as my whole body!  Buddy and Sofie were sweet, but they could so easily squish me.  Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  Alix doesn’t let any of the big dogs in with us little guys because she would never want us to get squished.  I watched the big guys play together, and they are wild.  The best vantage point for that is on the windowsill by the bathroom.  As always, Alix has a conniption fit when I crawl up there.  I’m very careful, but she still thinks I’m going to knock over her orchids, especially the one that has 18 blooms on it.  I know it has 18 blooms because she told me several times.  Does she think I’m deaf?  If she doesn’t want me to get up there, she could just remove the stool in front of the cabinet that makes it so much easier to hop up.   I used to have to walk the tightrope across the book case and over the back of the chair.  Oh – I forgot.  She put that stool there to prevent me from opening the cabinet doors because that’s where our food is kept.  That was a simple task – just bang on the cabinet door with your foot, it pops open, and voila – you can help yourself to the food.  Every time I figure out something fun to do, Alix does something to prevent me from doing it again.  Talk about frustration tolerance….I am losing mine.  But don’t worry – some things never change.  I’m doing my best to uphold my reputation as a pain in the neck.  It keeps me amused.

And speaking of food (were we speaking about food?)…. When Alix got home the other day, she was carrying in the groceries from the car.  I like to get in the car to investigate if she leaves the door open.  She hadn’t brought in Ginger’s food yet, and it only took me two minutes to get that bag ripped open.  Unfortunately I was caught in the act and didn’t even get a chance to taste the food.  But again, no one else even thought to check out the contents of the car.  What do these other guys think about all day?  It would be a lot more fun to have a partner in crime.  Bisou has promise, but unfortunately she’s gone home.  So now what?

Meanwhile, I miss you both very much – and Petey and Jethro too.  I’m just one of the girls here.  At home – everyone knows I’m the Queen.  All last week I kept checking the mail for my invitation to the Royal Wedding.  It must have gone astray, because I never received it.  I had to wake Alix early this morning so I could watch it on TV.  I wore my hat though.  I had it specially made with proper British colors because I know they would have wanted me to ride in one of those fantastic carriages with the other swells.  I hope William and Kate are not too disappointed that I didn’t get there.

Love Thea