Puppies are cute and cuddly, but leave it to a French king to carry that fact to absurd lengths.
One might think owning 2,000 lap dogs is a bit overmuch. Not so Henri III (1551-1589). It would seem that after the first thousand, it might become difficult to recall all of their names, but that didn’t deter Henri.
He so loved his puppies that he used them as a form of adornment, regularly wearing them in a small basket suspended around his neck.
And, amazingly, it appears none of his courtiers mentioned that it looked quite silly. Who knows, he may have established a temporary fad, not unlike the purse puppies used by some modern celebrities to increase attention to themselves.
Puppies are on my mind now, because my wife and I have “reserved” a border collie from a recent litter.
Some readers will recall the grief we experienced when a dog we rescued a year ago, died due to an onslaught of seizures, one after the other. Lyric’s tragic passing, at a young age, was so much more difficult than the loss of our previous three who had lived well into their geriatric years.
It’s taken us a year to be willing to consider adding another dog to our family. We still have Foxy, who we rescued about eight years ago, during our final military tour in California. We decided it would be much easier for her if we added a puppy to our family this time.
I’ll write more about our puppy in the future. For now I’ll end with the “teaser” that we’re naming her after one of the Greek Muses.
C.S. Lewis loved dogs, although apparently not enough to wear them like jewelry.
In 1916, he corresponded with his friend Arthur Greeves about adding a puppy to the latter’s family. His first mention, as Greeves was contemplating the decision, reveals Lewis’ emphasis on the wellbeing of the dog over its master’s preferences.
I think you are very wise not to take that puppy from K. Unless you are a person with plenty of spare time and real knowledge, it is a mistake to keep dogs–and cruel to them.
Greeves proceeded with the adoption, as Lewis appends a postscript to his next letter, written a week later.
Poor puppy!! What a life it’ll have! I shall poison it in kindness when I come home!
In a subsequent letter, the same month, Lewis offers advice about naming the puppy that I was delighted to read. It suggests that he would approve of our decision for the name of the new addition to our family.
In the meantime, whatever name we bestowed on our new puppy, she would never need to worry about being traipsed around on display like a fashion accessory. We’ll leave that to French kings and egocentric divas.