McLean Puppy Chronicles: What happens when you do the unthinkable and open yourself up to raise a puppy to give away to someone else: You create joy and freedom for a visually impaired person. We're puppy raisers for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Read about our journey.
Like her namesake, Her Royal Highness (HRH) Berkeley, (HRH Queen Elizabeth II is shown above in one of her smashing tea party outfits (delightful yellow suit with matching yellow sun hat rimmed with several large pink flowers)) is no slouch in the fulfilling her royal duties department. Jingle the leash and proffer the coat and HRH is up and ready to lead whomever into society. Secretly, I think she wants a little hat with flowers, if only to munch on occasionally. So it was with great spirit that that she greeted Thursday, a day filled with errands and rushing about. Not quite what QEII has to endure, but none the less is a full day for a guide dog in training. Our first stop was at Clearwater Cruises. Jennifer and Laurie have been amazing at helping us prepare for our 20th wedding anniversary (and mom and dad's 55th wedding anniversary!) Mediterranean Cruise!! I had to stop in and get some in person help and I brought HRH along with me. She was so well behaved that I let her go out of coat so Laurie and Jennifer could give her some loving. As opposed to QEII, who was caught sleeping in Germany in 2004 at an official engagement, sleeping during an errand is encouraged for our monarch. I highly recommend Laurie and Jennifer at Clearwater Cruises if you need to book a cruise. They have been wonderful. Our next stop you might think was the St. Pete Museum of Fine Art. Unfortunately, we only had time to explore the grounds outside the museum as we had a tight schedule to meet and were expected for lunch in 30 minutes at Red Mesa Cantina. It was a lovely day and I couldn't resist capturing her lovely visage against the backdrop of the huge cotton silk tree with its gorgeous red blooms. But as I was trying to set up the shot something fell on my head. I clapped my hand to my head. "Holy crap! A bird pooped on me." I am speaking to HRH of course. Out loud. In the middle of the day while there are other people walking up to the tree to take a photo. My fingers start to slide around and I'm trying to find out if it is bird poop or not. I'm also trying to get closer to HRH who is looking longingly at the little boy who is now climbing the tree. "Not your boy, my dear." I try to shove my iPhone into my pocket, look at my fingers for poop, glance at the sky for marauding, pooping birds and also lean down to pick up her leash. I teeter a little. HRH shoots me a glance. All around me I hear pops and bombs and splatters. I realize that this tree is just one giant oozing tree of nastiness. It's red flowers only a decoy to get you under its canopy so it can release its spit upon you. I don't have bird poop on me, I have tree spit on me. Better, but stickier. We. Are. Out. Of. Here. I grab her leash and march off just as a nice lady is walking up and about to offer to take a photo of the two of us under the spitting tree of red devil flowers. I smile and stalk away. Beware, my smile says, beware. The real purpose of stopping off at the museum grounds was so that HRH would have a grassy spot on which to relieve herself. She did not. She was much too concerned with the way things smelled, or the red flowers, or the way the sun sparkled on the water. I find that if the setting is not perfect, there will be no peeing. Finally, we met Theresa at Red Mesa Cantina and got a nice booth where we were able to chat and relax. HRH was able to indulge in her napkin fetish, as you can see below in the perfectly placed bite marks in my paper napkin. I hear Elvis does the same thing, only Elvis is a napkin grabber. And then we went home. Royal duties over for the day.