Here’s to the pets who keep us on our toes

Published 10:45 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

I’m certain many of you can relate when I tell you that our little dog, Carly, rules the household.  She is a Cavachon, a mix of Bichon Frise and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  Cute doesn’t begin to describe her.  She came into our lives because my husband Tom had knee replacement and I was still working part-time.  He pitched me the idea that he needed a “service” dog that would force him to be mobile and active to aid in his recovery and therapy for the new knee.  I finally gave in.  

I remember picking Carly up at the Memphis Airport because the breeder was in Knoxville, so Carly flew in.  I was expecting this little pup to be anxious and scared. She was neither.  She looked up at me from her little crate as if to inquire “What’s next?”  She was totally in control of the meet and greet.  I couldn’t wait to get her home so Tom could meet her because I knew he would be smitten with her just as I was at our first encounter.  And he was!  Hats off to the breeder because Carly was so easy to adapt to our household.  Or perhaps I should say she was a gentle teacher as Tom and I easily embraced our new occupant who established the routine for our household.  

True to his word, Tom was indeed more mobile as a result of Carly’s coaching him and her insistence to go for walks, keeping up with her while inside, and playing “fetch” with her favorite toy—a small, orange pumpkin given to her by our neighbor that has become her only go-to toy.  They quickly became fast friends and now as she is going on 8, the same is true.  She is like Tom’s extra appendage!  When he is seated, she is likely in his lap.  If he moves about the house, she keeps track of his location.  She is definitely the leader of our pack and certainly holds the title “alpha female.”  

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We know that she is able to tell time (she hardly varies mealtime, walks, or treats by just minutes).  She’s very intuitive and knows the routine and mood of the moment.  In the morning, she allows us to take time for coffee, then will plant herself in front of Tom’s chair to indicate that it’s time for the morning walk.  She is relentless when it comes to schedules.  When Tom and Carly return from their walk, we have breakfast.

The last part of breakfast consists of “Blueberry Bowling.”  Never heard of it?  Well, here’s how it goes.  Tom will roll (bowl) a couple of blueberries across the floor, and Carly will retrieve them . . . er, actually she eats them and looks back to see when Tom bowls more blueberries and in which direction.  I can tell you that although Carly is very watchful and thorough, she has missed a few because I have found them under the cabinet, in the corner of the room, and I found one the other day that I initially thought was a spider.  Well, you get the idea.  

Blueberry Bowling is followed by my getting dressed and ready for the day.  Carly keeps watch and when she sees or hears me banging around in the bedroom to get dressed, she comes and uses this time to catch a quick nap as I apply makeup and fuss with my hair.  She knows this is the time we “get our glam on” and waits patiently until I am done and ready to brush her.  She is compliant and once the brushing is complete, she indicates that it is now time for a reward—a few cheerios—for being so patient and behaving so well.  

It is documented that pets help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health.  Carly is doing an excellent job!


Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. She can be reached at