Friday, November 25, 2016

Dowager Duchess's Dog

My Mother The Dowager Duchess was not an animal lover. Not by any stretch of the imagination. When she was a little girl, her mother got a cat to fend off any rat/mouse problem in their tenement apartment. My mother told me that one day, when she was around 9 years old, the cat jumped onto her lap and she sat and petted it for a while.

I said, "Wow. I can't imagine you doing that."

She said. "It was disgusting. I finally felt so sick that I pushed the thing off."

My mother couldn't understand how we allowed our California cats, Dobie and Maynard, to sit on the furniture. They weren't allowed on tables or counters, but my mother found it just as bad that they were allowed on sofas and chairs.

Once, when my mother was visiting us in Santa Barbara, our long-haired, gentle, friendly cat, Dobie, walked by her chair. She reached down and stroked him absently before lifting her hand away in disgust.

I said, "How can you be like that? He feels like a fur coat! You love fur coats."

"Well," she said, "Fur coats don't breathe!"

DD's Dog
The Dowager Duchess did have her own "pet dog" for more than 25 years.

She had created him from yarn, felt, buttons, and cardboard. She gave him a red leather collar with a gold buckle. Even he had to sit on the floor.

So, while we were cleaning out the apartment, I allowed the old boy to sit wherever he wanted.


MY MOTHER LOVED THIS COAT SO MUCH SHE KEPT IT FOR 68 YEARS.
(BUT I NEVER ONCE SAW IT ON THE SOFA).

26 comments:

  1. Oh! I'd love to see photos of Dobie and Maynard :)
    DD's dog is mighty cute. So talented!

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    1. Judy:
      I'll include them in a blog post soon. I don't have good photos because they were both black (one long-haired and one medium-haired) but I did manage to get a couple of decent ones of Dobie. That dog sat on the floor in the foyer. Every time I walked in I thought it was one of our California cats and I would be so disappointed when I realized it wasn't.

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  2. You're a rebel, letting it sit on the furniture now. She might just be rolling over :)

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    1. Cheapchick:
      She would have laughed. Now, had we brought our cats with us... I probably would have been struck by a lightning bolt.

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  3. yo mama is probably screaming "get that thing off da furniture!" :)

    my ex-MIl had plastic all over her living room furniture; NO ONE was allowed to sit there EVER!

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    1. anne marie:
      I had a few friends whose parents had those plastic slip covers. Uf. Thankfully, my mother wasn't a fan. My parents, however, had some very old friends with an elegant house and a velvet rope across the entrance to the sunken living room!

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  4. "Fur coats don't breathe!"
    God how I love the DD! I'll be saving that line for my repertoire ... I know one day it will come in handy!

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    1. Bob:
      She EARNED that nickname "Dowager Duchess"!

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  5. Replies
    1. John:
      More to come. And with each one, I will hear my mother's voice say, "Mitchell!"

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  6. That red chair is fit for a Duchess! DD infused her dog with tons of personality.

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    1. Wilma:
      That dog really was cute. She loved animals as art! That red chair was one of two (and of course my mother's favorite chairs to sit in). I'll tell about those another time.

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  7. Mitchell your mother was a wonderful and unique woman

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    1. Gosia:
      She was fascinating and she was a very good sport when I told stories about her.

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  8. That homemade dog is a gem! Cute!
    Is/was that coat lambswool? Weren't they the rage back in the 50's and 60's.

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    1. Jim:
      The coat was Persian lamb with a mink collar. It started off as full-length in 1948 and my mother had it shortened in the '60s. And then it lived in the closet for about 50 years.

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    2. Stop it ~~ I'm laughing so hard!!!!

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  9. How interesting. My mother is ninety-two, has never owned a dog or cat but always has a stuffed dog on her couch.

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    1. Stephen:
      From other stories you've told I think our mothers share (in my case, shared) many characteristics.

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  10. I love your idea of finally setting free your mother's dog and allowing him to seat everywhere! That is so funny! By the way, what ever happened to him? Kathleen did not leave a comment and then removed it. It was me with this comment, I didn´t know I was using her account.

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    1. Petie:
      At his age, he was not a good air traveler, so he stayed in New York.

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    2. The first time I saw the pictures I thought your mother made that coat out of that poor dog "fur". Does he have a name?

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    3. Petie:
      It would be just the reverse. Given enough years, she probably would have made a bunch of stuffed animals out of that COAT!

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  11. how lovely
    thank you for sharing this

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