Friday, June 19, 2009

Maple Vlach

There's a very important member of our family who hasn't gotten much air time lately. She's loyal to a fault, loves generously (despite our faults), asks for almost nothing, keeps our toes warm on the couch and best of all, she's a great listener. I'm talking about sweet Maple.

Maple was our first "baby." We picked her out of the Vizsla litter two days after her eyes opened -- she was only a few weeks old and she fit in the palm of our hand. She was the smallest, but we watched as she fought her way to the food bowl amidst the wriggling, wiggling tangle of puppies. We had pick of the litter and chose the runt. At eight weeks old, we brought her home, as all her brothers and sisters flew to their new homes around the country (some landed with Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox pitcher).

Maple was almost Sienna, Rojo or Cedar, but in the end, her coat was the color of maple syrup. The real inspiration for her name, though, was the Maple tree in our front yard at Parkside Drive. She's a Hungarian Pointer -- it's beautiful watching her body become rigid and straight from nose to tail when she sees a bird or squirrel. Her muscles quiver while she silently stalks.

Maple had two years as Top Dog before Madeline was born. We had a few interesting clean-ups after she attacked a cooling batch of chocolate cupcakes in the middle of the night, and after I fed her half a bag of carrots on a car trip (live and learn). But she never ate shoes, she learned quickly and she was adored. She even had her own spot in our bed. I don't know how I would have survived six weeks of bedrest without Maple's company -- I talked to her like a person and practiced my rusty french exercises on her (she even "saved" me from a trapped attic squirrel, or at least she thought she did).

Then Madeline was born, and Charlie 23 months later. Maple is matronly, calm and protective, though admittedly, a little displaced when the babies first come home. I think she thinks our children are her puppies. She's a shadow, following us everywhere thoughout the house, literally underfoot (she even comes into the restroom sometimes and I accidentally step on her daily). But lately, Rob or I have had to ask, "Where's Mapes?" only to find her sleeping under Charlie's bassinet or Madeline's crib.

She has just as much a personality as any person. A sweet little disposition -- classy and dignified but playful too. She's gentle and loving, even as Madeline is pulling her ears and tail, and we pretend like she's a trail horse, giving rides around the first floor. When she cuddles, she grinds her head into you. And when she's excited, her tail wags so fast, it's like little hummingbird wings (sometimes you hear it before you see it when she senses you walking into a dark room).

She doesn't sleep in our bed anymore, but she's certainly not demoted. She's our Maple, our Mapes, our Map-el-y Mapes and we love her.


Rob Vlach said...

Yea for Mapes...we love you!! What a great pup!

Nicki said...

The top photo makes a great wallpaper for the office! Lovely photo shoot Miss Maple Dog.

Johanna said...

Awwww... I LOVE this post! What a sweet dog Maple is. And I love to see posts about the lover dogs in our lives! What would we do without them?

Chelsea said...

Great photo shoot, Maple! Poor Finley takes a backseat at our house too. A wisp of tail or tip of an ear can occasionally be seen in a photo...