April 2003

My folks did it again, for the second time in my life they surprised me with a party for my birthday.

The last time they surprised me with a party was on my 1st birthday. Since I was still just a pup, not only did they surprise me, but they scared me too. I had been napping when they called me into a kitchen full of our friends who yelled, "Surprise!". I was ready to run away when I noticed that everyone was looking at me like they loved me, and wanted to give me something to eat. I love that look, so I stayed and I really enjoyed myself.

a group photo of guests at Toby's birthday partyThis year on my 9th birthday, I heard my name being called and came upstairs still sleepy from my morning nap. No one was there. I looked out the front door, and voila, my folks had created an outdoor café on the boule court just ten dog steps away from our boat. There were tables and chairs, a barbecue and even a refrigerator to keep the beer cold. And not only that, a whole bunch of my friends were there saying, "Surprise Toby!". Now that I am nine and I live in France, I have more savoir faire. I wasn't scared at all. I just hopped up the stairs and became the center of attention.

How did my folks pull this off, I was so surprised. Even my dog friends kept this party a secret, and they usually blab about everything that is happening on their boats.

It was a great party, we had hot dogs (saucisses de Toulouses4 dogs wearing birthday hats served on baguettes), chips and plenty of beer and wine. My friends Malcolm, sweet little Kali and Murphy were all wearing party hats that said, "Happy Birthday Toby". We sat still for a picture and Kali's folks made a toast to me for my birthday. They said it in French, but since Kali has become my petite amie, my French has really improved, so I understood what they said. It brought tears to my eyes.

Fortunately, just then my folks brought out my cake and lit the candles. Everyone sang Happy Birthday, they helped me blow out the candles, and started serving the cake. Malcolm, Murphy, Kali and I lined up with everyone else, but we just watched plates full of cake being passed over our heads. We were swiveling our necks around trying to find a plate that might be for us. Suddenly everyone was sitting down eating. I was beginning to feel pretty sad that all of the people had big plates full of chocolate cake, while me and my dog friends were just sitting around with sore necks and hungry looking faces, when all of a sudden we were each served a big bowl of French vanilla ice cream.

We all dove in. After a minute I looked over and saw that like me, all of my friends were slurping up the Toby's birthday cakescold but delicious treat. Malcolm, Murphy and I had ice cream all over our faces, and our ears were wet and sticky. Only Kali ate daintily, or maybe you just couldn't see the ice cream because she is kind of a pretty vanilla color.

I thought about that for a minute, then I stuck my face back in my bowl.




 

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Toby



March 19, 1994 - May 7, 2003



An American dog who loved his life in France