Written by Parker A. Poodle TM a.k.a. Sarah Becker © 2016
Copyright ©2016 Sarah Becker
Walk with me and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! No leash is needed, only your imagination and the love of rhyme. Dr. Seuss is back, with a newly discovered manuscript, a new book—What Pet Should I Get?—published from the grave.
Author Theodor “Ted” Seuss Geisel died in 1991 at the age of 87. At his death the well-known Dr. Seuss had written and illustrated 44 children’s books. What feline, what child does not recall The Cat in the Hat? Geisel’s works have provided the source for 11 children’s television specials, a Broadway musical, and a feature-length motion picture.
Join me, Parker A. PoodleTM, on March 2 in Seussville on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, to celebrate NEA’s Read Across America Day. What Pet Should [You] Get? A Poodle puppy, of course!
The new book’s cover includes a canine illustration. A long-tailed Poodle, I think. For years we, Poodles, were Top Dog. Now, the American Kennel Club ranks Labrador retrievers America’s most popular breed.
Poodles may be reduced in national rank, but I rank just fine with me. We rank #7, a lucky 7 at my house. But I guess the AKC knows best. It describes Poodles as “proud, active, and very smart.”
Labradors found their place in the 1950s, a suburban rarity well-fitted to the family station wagon. Today these retro Labradors regularly walk the city’s streets, their numbers growing annually. The spirited Lab is a stylish, if not always energetic, urban companion.
Pound for pound the Labrador has me whooped. In my heart, though, I remain Top Dog. Never do I glance down when a Labrador passes. Rarely do I feel envy. Occasionally I growl.
Most of us dogs are neutered so mine is not envy of the typical type. A Miniature, I may be smaller than the Labrador but I live well. I have food, several beds, and squeak toys. Most of all I feel loved.
Inferiority is a peculiar feeling. Inferiority is mine only when I empower another long enough to impose it. It is not an easy lesson for a young dog to learn. For example, the AKC certifies Poodles white, black, apricot, or gray. I am parti-colored, of two colors; a purebred Poodle not worthy of registration.
I am not second-rate. When my mistress throws the ball I run quickly, retrieve it, and then drop it at her feet. Can a Labrador retrieve as well? We know the answer is yes. So what is it that I, a Poodle, can do better than a Labrador? Think!
Do you know any other canine breed that spawns as many half-breeds as a potent Poodle does? Poodles mix well with Labradors (Labradoodles); with Schnauzers (Schnoodles), Cocker Spaniels (Cockapoos), Maltese (Maltipoos), Pekingese (Pekapoos), Yorkshire terriers (Yorkipoos) and Goldens (Goldendoodles). These mixed designer breeds supposedly are more hypoallergenic, relaxed, and easier to train than their purebred counterparts. They are improvements, so to speak, because the Poodle shares his DNA.
Recently I met a Labradoodle. We were strolling Alexandria’s streets. He weighed 68 pounds. I weigh only 21 pounds. Both of us had curly hair. Something of mine was his and it obviously was the curl. Finally, I understood my value.
Labradoodle’s owner explained that because his dog is part Poodle, his coat is more water resistant. Poodles were originally bred to hunt waterfowl. I was too land-locked to challenge him to a water game, but at that moment I knew. I am a desirable dog and not because my mistress tells me so.
Confidence comes from within and so does mine. My shyness is gone and my tail stands straight. I feel like a Top Dog because I am a Top Dog.
Popularity comes and goes. It is not size, weight, or coat color that makes a dog great. It is his attitude, his self-esteem.
Like an early Alexandria Times masthead proclaimed: “It is not birth, magnificence, nor power. Only Virtue makes the difference ‘twixt us.”
In case you doubt, always I end my walks on a confident note. I stop by Imagine Artwear for a drink from the shop’s outdoor water bowl. Ceramic, it reads Top Dog. Reassurance never hurts.
Children need reassurance, too. That reading is fun! It is reading, education that lifts children out of poverty; that gives every child the confidence to navigate life.
Whether you Get a Labrador or Poodle Pet or Dr. Seuss’ One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, encourage a child to read. If adults are in short supply, read What Pet Should I Get? to a friendly animal like me.
“Remember, that it is the actions, and not the Commission, that make the Officer,” Colonel George Washington said in 1756, “and as we now have no opportunities to improve from example; let us read, for this desirable end.” Read the story of British General Howe’s Dog; the Dog’s unintended escape during the 1777 Battle of Germantown; his American capture and civil return, with Washington’s compliments.
I, Parker A. PoodleTM, dare you to make a Reading Education Assistance Dog’s day! Unleash your imagination; read and believe. Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have speed,” Dr. Seuss wrote. “You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, [like me] you will top all the rest.”
(Ed. Note: Parker A. PoodleTM, age twelve, is the significant companion of Alexandria writer Sarah Becker.)