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Cheryl's Pets

Small picture of Thumper at the fence

Thumper - 1983-1997

What kind of dog do you get when you want a chihuahua-sized dog that's guaranteed to be friendly? A Papillon, of course!

Small picture of Thumper on my bed

For those of you who didn't know, papillon is French for butterfly. When Thumper would hold his ears just so, you could see the butterfly wings.


In the fall of 1987 (a few months after Taco died), I decided it was time to get a new dog. I found a Papillon breeder but no puppies were available. The breeder was expecting a litter around Christmas, so I contacted them again in December. Still no puppies. I asked if they had a "defective" dog.

"Defective"???!!

You should have seen the look on their face! I explained I just wanted a pet. Did they have a dog that couldn't be shown? They told me they had a Canadian Champion who had just retired. Would I be interested? I jumped at the chance.

Mini picture of Thumper's Certificate

Small picture of Thumper in the piano room

His name was Thumper. A papillon, Thumper was the most beautiful dog I had ever seen. I think he had spent most of his life in a cage because when I brought him home, he didn't seem to expect too much. Once he began to realize that he had a whole house to himself, you could almost sense his amazement. He soon made himself at home. In fact, he began to assume the whole world was his!


He was a master at getting out of the yard, and at only 6 or 7 pounds, had no trouble squeezing between the fence poles. One day, he simply wandered out behind my home, onto the highway shoulder. I was at work, but my friend Maria was in town for a visit and ran out in her bathrobe looking for my dog. I wish had the picture of her running down the highway after Thumper!

He was fine, of course. He always came back, pretending he had never been away ... Wandering down the street? It must have been my imagination!

Thumper was the first dog that was really mine. He would follow me wherever I went, and would wait for me at the door if I ever I stepped out for something.

Small picture of Thumper at the door

Thumper never learned to sing, but he did have a good ear for music. He would always come into the piano room and curl up to sleep in his bed when the students came over or when I played. But if we made too many mistakes, that was a different matter. It was time to leave.

Small picture of Thumper shaved

One year, Thumper's hair was full of knots and I decided to get him shaved. When I picked Thumper up, I saw how really petite he was and how he was nothing but legs. With hair, he was only 6 or 7 pounds! Without hair ....?

He was not a happy dog though, and I never did that to him again.


Towards the end of his life, Thumper became very scared. He didn't know what was happening to him. He started to bark constantly, for no reason. I soon realized he was going deaf and started to use more hand signals. I always caught his eye before talking to him. Gradually, Thumper relaxed and realized that he was still able to communicate with the world.

Victoria Day weekend in 1997, I changed dog foods. The brand was too fatty for him and he developed diarrhea. By the time I got him to the vet on Tuesday, he had already lost 2 pounds, or 30% of his weight. It was too much for his system. We tried for a little over a week to get him stabilized again, but couldn't. I brought him home for one last time and he died of a heart attack in my arms.