Today is my first dog, Shrdze’s, birthday. (That’s SHUR-dzuh. Not SHRID-zee, kids.) I mean, it would be if she were still alive. Then again, it’s still the day she was born, so it’s really still her birthday. Even if she died in 1986 (which she did). So let’s all, uh, paws (I really do apologize) for a moment and wish her a happy 28th.

Happy birthday, Shrdze … you pink-nosed, white-fluffed, kasha-head little darling!

Ahhh, if only she were still around. I could be one of those slinky gals about town who carries her dog in a chic quilted bag designed especially for such purposes, and take her with me everywhere, especially the poshest of shops, and talk to her like she’s a real baby, and coo to and coddle her like one, and then, sometime 35 years or so from now, the good people at Fauchon would automatically hand me delicate butter cookies that my gnarled hands would then feed gingerly to the dogless bag.

A girl can dream, can’t she?