From the first days, I knew I was fancy.
My mommy Sophie was a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. (That name alone suggests royalty. Note the use of the word "King." They don't use that in just any breed.) I think Blenheim is also a fancy word for "popular" but I'm not entirely sure on that. I do know that Blenheim spaniels are loved for their light brown and white color and are the most popular Cavalier.
When my and my brothers and sisters were born, we knew nothing. Nothing except the darkness that surrounded us and the need for milk. I could tell from the rubbery, soft entities around me that there were others like me, but I just didn't know them yet.
"Puppies. Come, puppies." Our owner's voice was posh. I would later learn that she was from a country called England, where we Cavaliers were highly popular. Fun fact: England still had queens and kings. I guess it's only fitting that that was where I came from.
One day, the world suddenly formed. Everything around me was colorful, everything had a shape, and I saw that I was a dog. Unfortunately, I wasn't Blenheim. I was black, tan, and white. I also had a big white stripe down my head. When I saw myself for the first time I thought someone was trying to suffocate me with a mask and I yelped.
My brothers and sisters, still squirming about randomly on the vinyl, didn't seem to realize how fascinating our world was yet. They fumbled around and knocked into each other. We were together, enclosed in a black gate called a "crate." A fluffy pillow sat in one corner and two items called bowls sat on the other end. One held something wet and the other held brown chunks of…something. It smelled like meat and sawdust.
"Look! His eyes are open!" Mother Mary (I learned our owner's name later) exclaimed. She began to stroke my head lightly with a finger, and I fell asleep. How spoiled was I!
Our days were usually the same. Mommy Sophie fed us, but she didn't always feel like doing so. Sometimes Mother Mary had to yell at her, to which she would reluctantly crawl back to us. We would have to climb and fight our way into our places and try as hard as we could to latch onto her. We learned that from each other early on: food was good, and you had to be ready when it came so Sophie couldn't get lazy and forget to feed you. I made a mental note of that so I impress everyone with my doggy prowess! In the meantime, we cuddled together and slept. We even got our names. Gucci, Bogart, and other funny words were used to describe us. I was named Diesel, though I was jealous of Gucci. Why couldn't I be named after what was supposedly a designer label?
There wasn't much to life, but it was good.
Then one day, things changed.
There were lots of people coming to our house. They weren't dogs. Instead, they were Mother Mary's breed. They were pink and fleshy and all loved to give us attention. I couldn't say no! Whenever the other puppies saw people coming, they would open their mouths and yip. I did the same. As a tricolor, not a Blenheim, I had to make sure that people never overlooked me. I could be cute, too! I barked loudly, making sure that people wouldn't just pick up "Little Miss Perfect" Blenheim Gucci and ignore me.
Mother Mary would feed us some delicious, moldy-smelling oatmeal so we could get our strength up. Mommy Sophie no longer fed us, but we still had to compete with each other. There was much pushing and shoving. Then we'd leave the crate for the living room.
The living room was gigantic! Carpets were everywhere, cushioning my fluffy feet. There was a grooming table to the side and big bowls we could drink from. But my eyes didn't leave the table.
And that was the first time I saw my people.
Two of them were very tall, one like Mother Mary and the other one with a deeper voice and fur on his head that wasn't as long as the lady's. The others were much smaller, sort of like the people version of puppies. When they saw us, they began squealing. We all began scattering about wondering who these strangers were.
The woman picked me up and held me. I was wrapped in a towel so they couldn't hurt my delicate body. That Mother Mary- she set high standards for her dogs that I would come to love. She said lots of nice things to me that I could hardly make out. One of their young looked at me, smiling. Smiling is when the corners of your mouth go upward. I never got the hang of that one. But it usually accompanied happy words, so I knew it was a good thing. They loved me.
People came to visit, but the happy family came several times. Sometimes only a few of them would come, or sometimes they would be all together. The girl with glasses and yellow fur on her head was called Morgan. The one who looked like Morgan but without glasses was called Kailey, and the very littlest human, stick thin with wavy fur, was called Emily. A song would play whenever they arrived, and that song told us to run to the door and greet them, but Mother Mary usually held us back. Then they would greet us and we'd climb on them. It was so hard to climb with such little feet! When we got older, we played together a little more and I got many wonderful belly rubs.
I loved my simple life in the big cozy house, but now I had something new to look forward to…new friends.