Christmas morning, 1967, I woke to find what every kid wants from Santa sitting under the tree for me -- a puppy. She was a brown and white fox terrier with a big, red bow tied around her neck. I fell for her instantly, of course, and named her Priscilla. She was a very smart dog and soon learned all kinds of tricks, including how to persuade my mother, who had never let a dog sleep in our beds, to let her sleep with me.
One day, while passing from our kitchen to the dining room, Priscilla caught her reflection in the mirrored doors of a piece of furniture. Here is a photo showing the piece, with my baby brother leaning against it when he was first learning to walk. Wasn't he a cutie?
Back to the story. The dog saw herself in the mirror and thought it was another dog. Immediately she went on the defense. She barked, whined, scratched, sniffed and generally tried to scare the intruder away. Then she walked back around the corner, as if to leave, turned, and crept back to the mirror to catch the other dog unaware. This process went on for maybe half an hour. With each pass Priscilla tried something new to catch her rival. Mother and I sat as quietly as we could, trying not to distract her. Neither of us had ever seen a dog put on this kind of performance and we wanted to see how long it would continue. Finally Mother had pity on Priscilla and tried to convince her the other dog was not real. She opened the cabinets door to let her see, and the dog dove into the space, growling and snarling. She backed out, totally confused, and began running all around the house, looking for the one who got away.
It was a show I have never forgotten. If it had happened in the days of home video and "America's Funniest ...," we'd have won some kind of prize, without a doubt. I've never again seen a dog see its reflection in a mirror, even though I've tried to bait other dogs into a similar situation. I guess "Priscilla and the Mirror" will just have to be part of our family legend, never to be repeated.
Thanks for stopping by today; I'll see you tomorrow.