Drum roll, please.   Brass at attention.   Strings ready?   Perfect!   Now, full orchestra and large choir from an authentic Baptist Church – I’m talking about REAL groovy howlers and matching colorful robes with shiny gold collars – all together with GUSTO:

     Happy Birthday to You!   Happy Birthday to You!  

       Happy Birthday Dear Red Man – Happy Birthday to You!

Yes, yes, yes…I can see and hear it now.   A huge gathering of my Peeps and Pups in a festive mood with a combined choir and orchestra.   Hmmmm…I believe that Annie will bark in the soprano section, Chelsea will do nicely as an alto, Badger will most definitely be a tenor with his loud self and Ollie will bark bass.   And I’m sure he will stand next to Badger anyway since they’re such CLOSE friends.   I mean, I hate to mention it but Badger and Ollie both have those strange eye colors.   Each has one blue eye and one brown eye.   Geez.   Now that I think about it, that’s probably why they’re such CLOSE friends.   I hope they don’t detract from my birthday celebration with their obsessive playfulness.   Keep it under control, boys – at least in my daydreams.

Visions of delicious pig ears and bully chew sticks dance through my head, too.   I see so many delectable treats at my birthday party that I’ll almost have enough to share.   Focus on the word Almost.   Suffice it to say that sharing is not one of The Red Man’s many virtues.   When you are a relatively small dog in a big dog’s world, it’s dog eat dog.   Heh, heh.   Get it?  

Oh, and I suppose I should serve Dutch Chocolate Blue Bell Ice Cream over Shipley’s Chocolate Glazed Donuts for the Peeps who are there.   Slow will love both of those, and I’m sure she’ll be the first one to the food table anyway.   That is, if I can keep her from clicking away on her new cell phone camera.   I heard her tell Pretty that she asked the woman at the Verizon store to recommend the phone with the best CAMERA, for God’s sake.   Hey, Earth to Slow!   NOBODY picks out a cell phone because it has a great camera!   Never, never, never!   That’s a glitch in your technology evolution, you old bat!

Uh, oh.   She is old, but I is old, too.   We is all old now.   Due to the uncertain knowledge of my heritage, I really don’t have a formal birth day of record, but I have chosen to celebrate it today since the “estimate” was that I was born in late December.   I trust that my readers will not hold this somewhat ambiguous beginning against me and that my fans won’t be afraid that I was born outside the United States, unless you count Red Bank, South Carolina, as beyond the borders.  I am about to reveal the secrets surrounding my birth which occurred ten years ago.   Sigh.   Yes, yes, I know all about one Pup year equals seven Peep years so I am older than dirt if you buy into those age theories.  Luckily, I don’t.   I would say that I am “spry” for my age, but I detest the word “spry.”   I prefer “peppy” and “peppery” and “lightning fast” and “smart as a whip” and a million other descriptions – but never “spry.”   Ye gods.

I digress.   Back to the birth story.   I confess my memory is hazy on the details, but a kind Peep saw me running along the back roads of Lexington County near the remote town of Red Bank and stopped to pick me up.   I must have been very little and very tired.   The Peep took me to a place called a shelter, and that’s where I lived for two months.   Lots of Pups.   Lots of noise.   Cold cement floors  and cages.   Occasionally a Peep came in and chose a Pup from our cages, and off they went.  

One day Pretty walked in and looked at me, and I looked at her, and it was love at first sight.   Yessirree, Pretty saw the heart of The Red Man and couldn’t resist.  So she whisked me away to the Fluff ‘n Puff for Mary to clean me up and then brought Slow with her to meet me.   The rest, as they say in the movies or somewhere, is history.

Ten years later it’s still moi and Pretty and Slow and Annie, who was there before me.   Along the way we’ve added Ollie and Chelsea and minused Sassy, who was also there before me but went to be with the Great Spirit of All Dogs.   I’m not interested in joining her any time soon, by the way, in case anyone is listening.

Despite the inauspicious beginning, I have to say I’ve led the Good Life.   I probably could’ve used some therapy to analyze why I’ve run away so many times from Slow and Pretty.   Seriously, why do we do some of the things we do that, to an outsider, look like we’ve lost our senses?    I really don’t know and try not to dwell on my past mistakes, particularly on my tenth birthday.   It’s just The Red Man, and I’m a Dog On The Edge.

Happy Birthday to me, and Long Live The Red Man!