No, the bedroom slipper I refer to is a breed of dog my father coined to describe our childhood pet, Belle.
Sure, I’m partial to big dogs now but when I was a little girl we had a white long-haired Shih Tzu-toy poodle mix — a petite, frilly little thing with a remarkably unimposing bark and the moniker of a Disney Princess.
“That’s not a dog,” my dad declared one day. “That’s a bedroom slipper.”
Koopa, on the other hand, stands a respectable 2 ½ feet off the ground and weighs close to 45 pounds — 48 if we hit up a Moe’s on our way home from the dog park in Birmingham (looking at you, Oxford). So no one is mistaking him for pajama accessories.
His bark, I believe I’ve mentioned, is quite impressive. He’s smart, he’s well-behaved and, gosh-darnit, people like him.
None of which did anything to improve our standing earlier this month in Jacksonville’s Bark in the Park competition (not to be confused with PetSafe’s Bark for your Park contest — again, looking at you, Oxford).
As I’ve said before, I’m always on the lookout for dog-friendly events and venues so when I heard about the Bark in the Park competition I got excited. When I heard there were prizes, I got serious. Dog moms don’t play when blue ribbons are at stake.
I figured we had at least three categories in the bag. I mean, who’s cuter, friendlier or trickier than Koopa?
Pistol Peden, that’s who. At least according to three judges at the Jacksonville Community Center.
Pistol cleaned up at the awards ceremony. He took third place in Best Dressed, which, fine, we didn’t even enter that category. Tell you what though, if I’d had Koopa’s purple Wonka suit on me, those judges would’ve been singing a different tune...
Pistol came in second in the Friendliest category and won first prize for Best Trick. Granted, Koops was not on his best behavior that day. But in his defense, July has been a very, very warm month. And he was dressed head to toe in black fur. (I feel obligated by journalistic integrity to point out that little Pistol did have the advantage in his more seasonally appropriate white coat.)
But then Pistol got his second blue ribbon: Cutest Dog. I’m not going to lie. That stung a little.
OK, so maybe he’s kinda cute — with his snow white fur and perky ears and tail, and yeah, OK, the big, bright eyes — but in that obvious way, you know, like babies dressed as potted plants or the Cub Scout from “Up.” Koopie’s cuteness is more subtle, like Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon.” It grows on you till you look up one day and he’s just so cute you can’t even stand it.
But now that I’ve had a few weeks to come to terms with it, get my pageant mom tendencies under control, I suppose I understand. The judges just weren’t given enough time to appreciate Koopa’s particular brand of cuteness is all.
And just to show there are no hard feelings, I’m pleased to present July’s Dog Dish Pet of the Month: Pistol Peden. Perhaps you can hang this in your trophy case — if there’s any room left, of course.
If not, me and Koops will hold on to a copy for you. It’ll be hanging right next to his Participant ribbon.
Assistant Features Editor Brooke Carbo: 256-235-3581. On Twitter @star_features.
DOG DISH PET OF THE MONTH
My sunshine doesn’t come from the skies — it comes from the love in my dogs eyes.
This is the quote that comes to Diane Peden’s mind, when she thinks of her “buddy” Pistol.
The 3-year-old West Highland white terrier who stole the show at Bark in the Park is “a handsome fellow,” Diane says, “who brings energy and joy” to the lives of her and her husband — equally adoring pet dad Gary.
After Pistol’s awards sweep, Diana reflected:
“I spent the afternoon with fellow dog lovers at Jacksonville’s Bark in the Park. As I watched and listened I realized that every pup there was ‘the smartest, friendliest, best looking, best dressed and most loyal dog in the world’ — just like my Pistol. The relationship we have with our canine friends can’t be described in words, for understanding lies in our heart and the wagging of their tails.”
Think your dog should be Dog Dish Pet of the Month? Have the adorable pet photos to prove it? Send them in! Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Pet of the Month” in the subject line. Or send them to Brooke Carbo, Assistant Features Editor, The Anniston Star, P.O. Box 189, Anniston, AL 36202. Include your pet’s name, age and breed, and tell us a little about your fur baby.