Winston and I arrived at Patti and Ed's palatial home in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a valet immediately took my car. As we walked into the house, I discovered that friends from Las Vegas had flown in on their private jet. As more people arrived, I began to realize that Patti's idea of casual dress and mine were worlds apart. A fancy catering crew began setting up an elegant table, and I suspected that guests would soon be showing up in diamonds and pearls! When Patti, dressed exquisitely as usual, said, “I'll be right back, I need to run upstairs and change,” I knew then that, dress-wise, I was going to be “odd-man-out”.
Patti and Ed's backyard was covered in lush green artificial grass that had a small putting-green at one end. A swimming pool was located directly outside the luxurious living room through huge sliding-glass doors. The covered patio was paved with hand-laid cobblestone. Music was piped from the house to speakers concealed in artificial rocks around the natural-looking pool setting which was landscaped in small hills and valleys populated with ornamental dwarf trees designed to reach a maximum height of only four to six feet. A small stream stocked with Koi separated the upper yard from the lower one and was accessible by a bridge over the stream. It was November and huge heat lamps propelled by propane were set up not far from each of the outdoor tables where we would later be dining.
The guests had all arrived, and I was chatting with this person and that one. Patti's Poodle siblings had been playing mainly on the artificial grass but had not included Winston in their games. However, Winston did not seem to mind as he was thoroughly enjoying the immense amount of attention he was receiving from guests.
All the Poodles seemed content, so I wandered into the house to talk to a couple I had not seen in some time. Suddenly I heard someone yell, “Winston fell in the pool!” I raced to the door just in time to see several guests jumping into the deep end of the pool after my quickly sinking Winston. The realization hit me that the men were in tailored slacks and expensive sweaters and jackets; the women, one of whom had earlier been admiring the $50,000 ring of the other, with hairdo's which I guessed took all afternoon at the beauty shop, were in stylish dresses purchased no doubt on a shopping spree to France or Italy. The four rescuers soon came popping out of the water holding up one thoroughly drenched Winston.
All I could do was stand and gape at their appearances - not Winston's as I had seen him wet oodles of time - but at the soggy, bedraggled individuals who had put the life of my silly Poodle before their own impeccable images. Patti quickly brought towels and people began drying Winston. One sopping wet man reached for a towel to dry himself and Patti said, “No, these are for Winston. Go into the pool room. There are plenty of towels in there for you.”
I was mortified . . . not only had my naughty Poodle fallen in the pool in front of all these glamorous people, but his heroic rescuers were not even being taken care of because my clumsy goofball was being treated like a prince!! Finally, we had Winston somewhat dry. We took him into the house to use Patti's Metro dryer. Only after that was underway did Patti turn her attention to her guests who were then whisked upstairs to retrieve dry clothing from the guest closets.
Winston managed to delay dinner by 45 minutes that day, but the only really unhappy people seemed to be the caterers who were scrambling to keep our dinner hot.
By Sandi Savedra-Dixon
Some years ago, a wealthy couple named Patti and Ed bought two Standard Poodle puppies from me and decided to throw a big party to introduce the boys to their friends. Since Patti really liked my nine-month-old brown Standard puppy Winston, she asked me to bring him along. Winston was in full puppy coat . . . and was about as clumsy as a puppy can get. When I asked what I should wear to the gala, Patti assured me that it would be a casual affair.