Life Lessons From An 18 Year Old Poodle!


My Mom's dog is called Remy. He is an 18 year old miniature poodle. She adopted him when he was five, from a shelter. Remy was not in good shape, like those awful mottled before and after furry dog pictures you see. He had been used as a stud dog and kept outside for all of his life as far as they knew. Now before you go thinking this is some heartwarming sweet doggy redemption story, a Marley and Me tale, you can stop right there.

Don't get me wrong, Remy has brought my Mom a lot of happiness, in his own way, but he has never been a traditional dog in any sense of the word. He nickname, after all is (fondly) Le Petit Merde, or when he's been really bad, the English version! Aloof is his middle name.

Saying that, over the long years of his little poodle life, he has I believe taught us quite a few lessons worth remembering!

Remy's Life Lessons


1. Seek Adventure!

When my Mom first adopted Remy, he was a bit of an escape artist. Bizarrely, for such a tiny little dog, he has a Benji like ability to escape any harm. He definitely has a lucky halo around him, and I admire his independent spirit! The first time I was visiting when she had adopted him, he got out of the gate and we realized he was missing after I'm not sure how long. Panic ensued. 

We all piled in the car and began driving around the neighbourhood. We eventually spotted him, trotting as if he did not have a care in the world, outside a local church. It was perilously close to a nearby highway though and we knew he was skittish so were nervous about spooking him. His call and response has developed slightly over the years, but at that point it was non-existant. Luckily we had food, chicken to to be exact, which is Remy's kryptonite! Co-ercing him into the car was no mean feat, my Mom was driving and Remy didn't know me from Adam, so there were quite a few comical grab the chicken and run moments - the little shi - I mean scamp!

Over the years Remy's wanders have become less frequent*, but have included: getting out and when my Mom went to collect him when a nice lady phoned that she had him, he was sitting in the woman's lap happy as lairy with her other big dogs all around like some sort of mini poodle mafia don. Loyalty is not his strong suit! And there was the infamous time my Aunt Martha was driving around the neighbourhood looking for him, only to notice alongside her car a little girl on a bike, with a certain poodle tied up to the bike and happily trotting alongside like this was his new sitch now! Remy has always given off a distinctly independent "You don't own me" vibe, much like a cat, and for that he is to be admired, the little beast!

"Hm where can I go on a walkabout next?"



2. You Are How You See Yourself

As in, when the world looks at Remy, it sees a cute little fluffball, he has been mistaken for a puppy by strangers for most of his life. We were once walking him in a nearby shopping center and a lady shouted out "POODLE!" I presumed she was a poodle admirer, of course, but the fact is Remy is a poodle, a breed often considered a frippery, a fancy lady's accessory dog, a trifle. But Remy has very clearly only ever seen himself as one thing : a boss ass stud dog/perhaps even a wolf. He is not aggressive with other dogs like some small dogs, and he has always mostly ignored big dogs barking at him. He makes sure to mark every post and pillar in the neighbourhood with his scent, like the alpha dog he knows himself to be. I find his self assurance admirable!

"That's right...keep walking!"



3. Plan Ahead For the Hard Times

Remy has buried approximately seven hundred treats and bones in the yard/his bed/the neighbours' yard, etc. Come the zombie apocalypse he is all set for food! (although he may have forgotten where he left some of them!).

4. You Can't Always Get What You Want (But if you try sometimes, you get what you need!)

I have mentioned Remy's lack of innate affection or other normal doggy being cute behaviour. This however does not mean he does not know how to turn on the charm when it suits him. These times include:

*If you have chicken/something else tasty he might want to eat

*If there is any chance of a walk, in which he turns on a heretefore hidden side of his personality, the all singing all prancing all circus tricking poodle pimp moves that make you combust with laughter and adoration despite yourself. Then you realize he is just mugging you off to get what he wants!

"I'm so cuuuute am I right?!"


5. Always be Napping

You don't live to a ripe old age like Remy unless you get your daily nap on!




"I dream of chicken and cheese and my territories!"



 6. Bros Before Ho's (or you know a less sexist version of the sentiment!)

I wouldn't go so far as to say Remy likes anyone, but he has shown peculiar moments of wanting to be near David, which is unusual for him. We think he enjoys having a fellow man around to counter all of the estrogen!

Remy just chillin' with his homie


Remy, plotting my death: he hates me so much,  just look at his face lol!



7. Function Before Fashion:

Ok so I'm unconvinced Remy loves his winter coats - but he doesn't exactly tear them off either! He knows sometimes warmth is more important/will let him spend the most time outdoors, his favourite place.





8. Know When to Hold 'Em, and to Fold 'Em:

Remy knows how to turn on the charm, when he needs to, especially with this lady here! Having charm in your back pocket, using it sparingly on the world, is perhaps not the most gregarious life lesson but honestly - how annoying are people who are charming and in your face all the time? Sometime it's best to leave them wanting more, as Remy learned long ago! An occasional attitude of impervious-ness, of devil may care-ness, is something that can come in handy when making sure we stand our ground in life. Being too eager to please can sometimes backfire. Always be true to yourself, no matter what, the world is your oyster after all, it's the Remy way!

"Sigh. Life, it eeze an unending capitulation to this one's affections, in ze hopes of food and walks!"


"Whatever"

(update)

* I hesitated to post this when I first wrote it, feeling superstitious as Remy is old, etc., but the little dude just went on another walkabout this week, despite the fact that he is now almost blind and virtually deaf. But it was his walk time and my Mom missed it and (oops) forgot to lock the gate (she remembered not long after but was too late - in fairness he had not done this for a few years now so we thought maybe his wandering days were past!). He ended up just a few doors down, a neighbour lady took him in and put him in her yard and he probably would have happily lived out his days there had my Mom not showed up. The ULTIMATE petite merde, and we wouldn't have it any other way? You have to admire his spirit anyway! A poodle has got to roam, you know! Indefatiguable spirit that is Remy, I salute you! xo