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In 1991, I rescued a tiny bijon-poodle from an animal shelter in Briarcliff Manor, New York. She didn’t like it in the pen, and tried to dig her way out of the chicken wire, despite the wounds she was inflicting on her paws and nose. I adopted her as soon as I could, the next morning. Noticing supreme feats of aerodynamics, I named her Twyla, for Ms. Tharp. Last week, or thereabouts, she celebrated her nineteenth birthday.

Every year, the girls and I have a party. We make an egg cake, and let Twylee eat it at the table, off of a paper birthday plate from the party store. We light the candle, give her cards and presents and take photos, which we then hang on the wall above her bowls. Each year, for the past few, we think it might be the last birthday, then stop ourselves from thinking it.

“She is so old because we spoil her, and we spoil her because she is so old,” we say. 

She wears a burberry coat, a hand-me-down from her pal, Barney, who lived only to twelve. She likes to shut the cabinets in the kitchen, if we forget to close them all the way, and knows where the vegetable bin is in the fridge. I bet she’d have a lot to say.

Happy birthday, Princess Twyla. 




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