Poodle hip, not standard

June 30, 2008

Portland is dog crazy. Walk a dog through neighborhoods like mine (Irvington) and you’ll get more oohs and ahs from passersby than if pushing a cute baby in a stroller. The city reportedly has the country’s highest per capita of canines.

Like many of their owners, some Portland dogs display individuality via bodily adornments. Take Olive’s new hairdo, a henna treatment that sets her apart from other standard poodles. She caught my eye today in the pooch procession past my home office.

Oliver’s smile reminds me of the perpetual grins that Rogue and Sadie wore. They’re the dogs of my Sixties childhood, and my last. Thinking of our family’s Labrador retrievers beckons them from the past, where they’re always waiting with tails wagging, and they bound into view. I wiggle my toes beneath my desk and remember their fur pushing between my bare toes, as if I’m back at our kitchen table and they’re still sprawled at my feet.

Rogue and Sadie never wore leashes. Didn’t have to in those days in Central Florida, Maitland to be precise. The dogs accompanied my brothers and me everywhere — land or lake — unless engaged in rabid humping that produced many litters of wonderful pups.

I never considered peroxiding Rouge and Sadie’s black ears during the bangs-bleaching phase of my junior high school days. What might have been.