Team Peter

I came home the other day to total nonsense. I knew it was going to be nonsense the minute I stepped foot in the house, based purely on the looks on my dogs' faces as they met me at the door. Peter Pan was all sorts of anxious, giving me this look like, "Oh, my ulcer!" and Barnaby MacDuff was making his classic "WUH-OH!" face, which is really something to behold, you'd have to see it in person.

On this day it was the Christmas tree. The mess was ridiculous, but more than that, this was my tree. My tree is my trophy of womanhood! My tree is my tree! And that dog. That dog had crossed. the. line. I gave Barney the full force of my Fearsome Mom act, and he spent the next two minutes cowering on his pillow in the bedroom. (I can never be mad at him for too long, he's just so goofy!)

That's when I remembered why I like that other dog so much better, sometimes.

I met Peter Pan for the first time at Concourse C of the Indianapolis Airport on a snowy November evening. (How's that for an opening sentence!) I had flown to Indiana so I could pick up my firstborn, my love bug. I signed the papers and his breeder handed him to me, my little adopted child. He quivered and shook and buried his head right into my shoulder and sighed. And there, right there in the baggage claim, right there in Indiana, I became a Mother.

Peter Pan was raised in a tiny apartment in the sky. He peed on trees that grew in the cracks of city streets and he walked the Brooklyn Promenade along the East River where the world's tallest sky scrapers live. Peter Pan is my Woody Allen, my neurotic dog with control issues and an overly large nose.

There is something about Peter Pan that most people just don't "get" at first, is what I've been told. "Barnaby's so friendly!" people say while he dances around their feet. Then they look at Peter Pan and struggle to find something nice to say while he sits there analyzing their emotional makeup with his weird zoobie eyes. "Uh, he's handsome?" That's all fine with me, because I like my Peter Pan this way. He's like olives. He's not for everybody, sure, I get that. He's only for smart people.

Peter Pan has a way of looking at you that can be rather off-putting I guess, if you're not prepared for it. It is like he is seeing directly into your soul. He sees everything. He sees your hopes and dreams and what you ate for breakfast, he sees your deepest secrets, he loves you for them. If you aren't ready for something like that, well, too bad for you. His love is deep and unending. I am not exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little.

And anyway, Peter Pan doesn't come inside after a potty break with heavily scented poop breath. That's worth noting.

My very favorite thing is when somebody finally "gets" Peter Pan. Like they've been looking at him all their lives but suddenly they see him. It is a very spiritual experience. Like the one time when my little sister Alex finally let Peter sit by her and then she looked at him sort of funny and he entranced her just like that and then she went, "Oh! I get it!"

It really was a very special moment.

Sometimes I forget that Peter Pan isn't really a dog. I mean, he looks like a dog, and sometimes he does do rather doggish things, but actually he is not a dog. Take today for instance.

Today I was dancing about the living room telling The Holbs the more interesting parts of the thoughts inside my head while he tried to study. This always happens to me the minute The Holbs has something else to think about. Suddenly I feel like I have to tell him everything. Through interpretive dance! Barnaby was on the couch watching me flit about with panicked eyes while Peter sat primly next to The Holbs, possibly reviewing his outlines for spelling errors. Every now and then Peter would look at me like I was interrupting some important train of thought. (Come to think of it, The Holbs had that look on his face too, hmm.) So I asked Pete, I said, "Hey Pete! Am I annoying you or something?" And then he looked straight back at me, square in my eyeballs, and he told me he needed a snuggle. Clear as day! So I stopped my annoying bouncing about and scooped him up.

This is our little ritual. His breeder told me that I should hold him like a baby when he acts up. She had this theory about establishing dominance and such and I was all, whatever, holding him like a baby is sort of the reason I am adopting him? Win-win? All through his whackadoo puppy years I would scoop him up and calm him down and okay, rock him a little, let's be honest. Sometimes there was a lullaby involved, okay.

I held him against my chest today and felt his little pea-sized noggin drop to my shoulder. His long arms and legs relaxed and then he exhaled deeply. It was oddly calming. And then I remembered. This isn't just some dumb dog here. This is a highly emotional, intelligent creature. And I'm not just some human who can reach his ridiculously expensive dog food twice a day. I'm his momma.

So I held him and rocked him and rubbed his back a little, asked him how his day was, gave him kisses on his soft fluffy ears. I let out all the motherly instincts I had and let him soak them up for a bit. Afterward I felt less jumbled. That there is a true story.

That Peter.
I sure am proud to be his mama.


  1. I love when you do posts about your animals you capture their personalities so well.

    We have a cat named Herman and he reminds us more of a human too he just acts so funny! He has that intelligent look about him. Like he is a wise old sage with stories to tell but they are far beyond your futile comprehension lol.

  2. I am definately for Team Peter! Your love and motherly instincts pour from your words, you are going to make an excellent mother and I believe it will happen for you; stay strong! Beautiful post and I also believe Peter has many human qualities too!

  3. I have to admit it - this post made me feel terrible about not liking olives.

    Does it count that I don't mind them if they are already chopped up into small pieces and mixed in some kind of pseudo italian pizza sauce?

    I wish life was not so full of metaphors.

    Another lovely post, but I think I like The Other Dog best...

  4. Great Post..thank you..and thank you Peter :)

  5. What a lovely post. Love the pics of your pooches. Adorable. Now I want a puppy for the girls more than anything!

  6. I've been a big fan ever since you were a Blog of Note and have been lurking, but I had to come out of the woodwork on this one.

    I have a Peter, but his name is Georgie Boy and he is a Shihtzu. I feel a little guilty sometimes that I prefer him over his brother Thumper the ChiPoo (chihuahua and poodle), but your firm stance has given me the courage to stand proud as Team George. Thank you!

  7. I've been Team Peter from my onset of reading your blog.

    true story.


  8. I just love your blog and Team Peter. I have tears in my eyes after reading this. I think he is lovely, and so lucky to have a Mum like you who fully understands him.

  9. team peter for sure. i wish i was at home to love on my dog. i was a mean momma yesterday. i asked him if he wanted me to kick him in the balls. he was THAT annoying.

  10. Go go peter! I would love to meet this fellow.

  11. I showed my friend his picture and she said "He looks like he is concentratin really hard on something" =)

    lol! I thought you would appreciate that!

  12. We need to talk about what appear to be antlers in you home. Are they? Are they real? And why? Do they scare Peter and Barnaby, these remnants of other lives on display?

  13. I'm sure you're right. About Team Peter, I mean. When I saw that first picture, I kinda got frustrated with dogs in general; no living thing should desecrate a Christmas tree like that. Dumb, dumb Barnaby MacDuff! Oy!

    And your post moved me; that Peter, he really does seem to have something special, hey? Intelligence in the form of a dog? You are one lucky momma!

    But then I remembered something. Sometimes it's the naughty kids who I naturally love spite of their naughtiness, you know? Because there's something there, yearning for attention and understanding. So...I don't know, Nat. I just. Don't. Know.

    Probably I'd have to meet them both, spend some quality time with them, to really really KNOW, ya know?

  14. I have a Barnaby at home - except she's a girl. But she's goofy. And large. And awkward. And she gives me that "wuh-oh" look ALL the time - even when she's done nothing wrong. And I love her SO MUCH! But I have to admit that sometimes the chaos she causes makes me wish for a Peter too. I would never trade her, but I'd love to add a Peter to the family. I think I get it. ;)

  15. I am definitely Team Peter. Barnaby just seems like he would get on my nerves too quickly. And what he did to your Christmas tree! Which is, by the way, GORGEOUS. I am in Christmas tree envy.

    I don't have a Barnaby or a Peter. My dad is allergic to anything and everything with fur, so I grew up in a house with no animals. We had a guinea pig named Randy for a short time, but he obviously didn't live such a long life.

    I've been following your blog since it became a Blog of Note and you're so awesome! Keep it up!

  16. It must be so much fun living with two drastically different characters. :) Kind of like coming home to Garfield and Odie...but better. ;)

  17. So we had a "Barnaby". He was an English Setter named Forrest who was named after "Forrest" in "Forrest Gump". That should explain a lot about him. He was a lovely dog! Amazing silky coat of liver and white but he was always...always getting into trouble!!! It is a story unto itself so I will stop there....Our little Sheltie Jesse would just roll his eyes and wonder what possessed us to acquire this giant, dopey, drooling creature..I mean really what should be have expected. Wow this maybe the start of a story so if will stop here and .....well you know write! Thanks for the photos and the story...a smile is on my face!

  18. I too have a white tree! I'm sorry to see that Barnaby got ahold of your tree. I am currently entertaining a battle between Christmas and the Cats at my house (the details of which can be found here: after you click on the Cats vs Christmas link at the top.

    Also, after reading your post, I can't help but be on Team Peter :)

  19. Now I want a Peter Pan of my very own! :)

  20. Oh man, Peter Pan is one of the sweetest little doggies I've ever seen. Your pictures with him are so snuggly and wonderful:) You are going to be SUCH a great mommy one day!

    I especially love the pic of him with the toy in his mouth with his little arm out...he looks like a little toddler just bouncing around!

  21. From your photographs I find Peter Pan to appear enchanting. Makes me want to come play.

  22. You are welcome at any time, Larsie.

  23. Well, Peter Pan does have very nice ears. And I simply adore his tail. He has the kind of tail that is so fun to watch wag! Still... then there's Barnaby. And he's probably all cuddly, too, when you need him to be, right? Right...? Awww.

  24. Carmar - The Pan does not wag tails, that is so rudimentary. When The Pan wishes to convey pleasure he does so telepathically.

    (Barnaby is VERY cuddly, if you don't mind poop breath.)

    (You can like Barney better, we can still be friends. I'll just think a little less of you. Only a little less though, promise.)

  25. He is a beautiful dog! He wasn't just a little bit naughty as a puppy? What kind of dog is he anyway?

  26. Your post is doing wonders for all dogs out there. I just had to find my SPCA special and give it a cuddle and really look deep into that hound dog soul. Good thing too, cause I noticed she had some remains of one of the kids chocolate advent calenders hanging out of her jaw....


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