A new leash on life
I used to think that I wanted to come back as my dogs in the next life. They have it pretty good. Fed, exercised (if they felt like it), unconditionally loved beyond belief, and they have fun. At least I think they do. They may tend to think from time to time that living with me is somewhat chaotic, but it adds to an interesting life.
Then I thought about two of my very best friends in the world, Richard and Gilles. These men are my heart and soul and my life would be at a loss without them.
They have been together for 28 years and have one of the happiest and healthy “marriages” I have ever seen. I have been blessed to be a part of their lives for the past 26 years, although they may have a different spin on the “blessed” part. They are generous to a fault, loyal and kind to everyone.
They are both hairdressers, very successful hairdressers I might add. Richard was Sally Jessy Raphael’s hairdresser, hairdresser to famous people, makeup artist to stars and political figures and hairdresser to Kitty Dukakis when her husband was running for President. Poor Richard still hasn’t gotten over the loss of that campaign, nor the “Power of the Motorcade” he was part of . He had grand ideas of how to re-decorate the White House and rename it to “Mauve or Taupe House,” or some other designer color. Richard’s had a good run with fame and fortune and it continues for him, as well it should.
Richard has had his own “specials” on the Sally show, parading his talents of makeup and beauty tips and basically started the rage of the “Beauty Makeover.” He is a master, a genius at making women look their best, and feel good about themselves.
I was happy to play a small but important part in his rise to fame. It was my face he practiced on with makeup, lipstick, mascara and rouge. He would apply different makeup styles to each side of my face, until he found the magic combination. He would then look at the recently created masterpiece, fall over himself laughing, and begin again. We would spend hours watching the Donna Mills Beauty Tip makeup video. Little did we know that applying cucumbers to my eyelids and sticking my head in a pot of hot steamy potpourri to moisten the skin, would evolve into Richard receiving 2 Emmy Nominations for makeup for the Sally show. He sadly lost to Jim Henson's Muppets.
Gilles, the “Hair Surgeon” has also become an accomplished Photographer, selling stunning photographs of their trips to Europe, and the Christo Gates in New York.
And yes, I’m jealous of their lifestyle, money, freedom, notoriety, beautiful home on the water in a yuppie town, everybody loves them, they’re so wonderful, they contribute so much to the community and other causes, blah, blah, blah.
Their house holds treasures of art, beauty and distinction. Their sense of style is impeccable. They own furniture purchased from around the world that should be roped off, as in a museum, or at least when I go over. China, dishes imported from Italy and France set on a country French table 200 years old that kings and queens have dined on with lovely Murano glass candies displayed next to each dinner plate. I’m not sure why they couldn’t afford real candy, but I guess it’s a certain style.
I also once owned a set of Limoge china that was taken away from me by my friend Karen. She happened to walk in my house one day when the dog was drinking from the Limoge gravy boat on Thanksgiving.
An Italian Murano goldfish in a bowl adorns the hand made stone fireplace. I guess real goldfish require too much maintenance.
They have both worked extremely hard and continue to do so, and they deserve all the riches and more.
Richard and Gilles also own 2 pugs, that have been to more social events and galas that I could ever dream of being invited to. Giacomo and Luca are their names. Although Giacomo departed from this life last summer, Luca is still with us.
I must admit they are extremely well behaved.
These dogs have been welcomed to shop in places like Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and Ralph Lauren and Bloomingdale’s. When Giacomo was forbidden to enter the Time-Warner Building in New York, an establishment with less sophistication, Gilles went home and cancelled his Time-Warner Stock, although a month later the stock rose to incredible profits.
Although both dogs have been photograhed with their own spread in "House and Garden" along with Sally Jessy Raphael, it all hasn’t been a bed of roses for the dogs. Legend has it that bad breath halted the TV and magazine career of Giacomo.
Giacomo also had an incurable debilitating aliment. While walking him, or playing with him, to even talking to him, he would get so excited, his uvula would get caught in his throat and he would keel over and faint. Poor thing.
The dogs’ routine begins early in the morning. Gilles carefully measures out their organic natural hand pressed chunks of hand fed chicken and lamb sautéed in natural pan juices from basted free range chicken breasts.
Their water dish is Waterford Crystal, and their food dish is from Tiffany’s.
I think I still use Melmac.
The next item on the schedule is cleansing the space between the wrinkles of their skin with freshly pressed aloe, and then hand washed by Gilles, so that no infection ever enters their system.
A walk along the beach is next with the appropriate weather chosen wardrobe. Booties and little “sockettes” adorn petite ankles, baby boots when it’s wet and leather padded boots for that nasty mix of ice and sleet, carefully protecting the pads of their tiny feet, while I chose to walk around in the New England winters with Birkenstocks sans socks.
In the fall, they may don a dashing colored Hermes dog collar and matching scarf, a Burberry trench coat or sweater, a lovely Coach tweed coat with matching cap covering their precious ears.
Cashmere sweaters are hand made and fitted to their unique little body shapes, to battle the winter's chilling grip. Not just any designer clothing will suffice. Chanel attire was said to be “a little too gay”.
And in the summer, only the highest rated consumer doggie life vests, from “Outward Hound” for sailing on the high seas or trips in their kayak.
But it’s not Rich and Gil’s life I crave. For me, it’s too much pressure, too many social obligations, too many days and nights of always “being on”, too many knick-knacks to dust, and especially too many things for my dogs to chew or break.
I’m not coming back as my dogs; I’m coming back as their dogs.