SUNDAY AFTERNOON as I was leisurely reading The Stephenville Empire-Tribune, Mandy, my seven-year-old Papillon dog, jumped into my lap.

She had a pencil carefully placed between her right ear and her head. I might point out a distinctive mark of a Papillon is its large ears. So balancing a pencil on her right ear was no problem. In her left paw, Mandy tightly held a small writing tablet, containing yellow, lined paper.

Mandy’s rapid presence startled me, and the first thing I knew she was barking questions at me.

“Are there two or three Ts in the word, triplet?”

Laying the newspaper aside, I quickly responded, “There’s two - one at the beginning and one at the end.”

“That’s what I thought, but I wanted to be sure.,”

Then I noted Mandy wrote something on her small writing tablet. Watching Mandy handle a pencil in her front paw and write is something to see.

“Stu, the reason I asked about spelling triplet is Sam and Susan Squirrel, who live in one of our backyard trees, are expecting three little squirrels early in April. I decided to give them three small sacks of pecans in honor of this occasion.”

“Mandy, that would be an ideal gift because the pecan crop was light this past year. How do you know they are going to have triplets?”

“Susan’s doctor told them, and the doctor also said two would be boys and one a girl. And Stu, they’ve decided on the names - Steve, Scot - with one ‘t’ and Sara - without the ‘h’ - just like in Sara Vanden Berge.”

“Oh, I meant to tell you, I bought the pecans from Mark and Sherrie Littlejohn. They sold the three sacks to me for a reasonable price. And then their daughter, Lyndsi, gave me a fourth sack - no charge. They’re nice people.”

“Well, Mandy, I’ll have to hand - er paw - it to you. Information just seems to bubble from you this afternoon. You could make some newspaper a good reporter.”

“Aw, Stu, with my big ears, I just hear a lot more than other dogs.”

“Stu, one other thing that has bothered me, and I’ve been intending to ask you. I cannot climb trees like Sam and Susan. They’ve tried to teach me, but it’s to no avail. It seems strange to me that squirrels and cats can climb trees, but dogs don’t have the knack.”

“Well, Mandy, let me put it this way. There are some things you can do that squirrels and cats cannot do. For instance, you can write and spell fairly well. Squirrels and cats can’t do that. So don’t worry about it - that’s just the way the ball bounces.”

“Yea, I guess your right, Stu. There’s no need for me to worry about tree climbing. If I could climb, it just might be my luck I would fall, and then you would have to take me to the vet.”

With that comment, Mandy jumped out of lap and headed for her watering bowl in the kitchen. I returned to my reading.

’TIL NEXT TIME - “Like a small gray coffee pot sits the squirrel.” - Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940), British poet.

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville. Mandy also lives and boards at his residence.