On the Occasion of My Dog’s Birthday

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Happy Birthday, to my beloved Cockapoo, Marty.

I have opted to write a blog post about Marty because:

  1.  I am officially one of those nutty dog people who cares a lot about their pooch’s birthday.
  2. Come on, look at that face! Marty is sweet and heartbreakingly adorable and so very deserving of all the love and attention I can shower upon him.
  3. Marty is a Master Improviser.

It’s that third item on the list that qualifies him for this Blog post.

Here are just a few of the Improv skills at which Marty is a freakin’ virtuoso:

1. Commitment

Marty is a marvel when it comes to commitment. This is a dude who goes whole hog…for every single meal, every single walk, every single time I walk through the front door. It’s downright inspiring.

Of his many passions, the most consistent focus of Marty’s pure, liquid commitment is, The Ball. This is where Marty leaves the realm of the ordinary and elevates himself to guru status.


Marty’s commitment to the ball is not conditional. It doesn’t matter if I give him a “good” throw or a “bad” throw, he’s after that ball with the same amount of gusto, giving it all he’s got.

Which brings me to the next Improv Skill over which Marty has Mastery…

2. Make Your Partner Look Great

Here’s the sad truth, my friends – I’m a shitty ball-thrower. There, I said it. I wish it were not true but it just is.

And I find myself repeatedly surprised at just how not-good I am at throwing a ball, as in; Wow, I’m still really shitty at that. How disappointing.

But Marty is never disappointed in me.

He is 100% dedicated to retrieve whatever kind of throw I offer him. He has no expectations and no demands; every throw is a gift that he relishes and he makes the very most of it.

loving_martyEven when I inadvertently kick the ball right into his face, he shakes it off and goes after it like it was the greatest throw of all time.

I’m telling you, this little guy has my back, no matter what. That’s what it feels like to play with the very best improvisers.

But wait…there’s more!

3. Listening

  • Marty can hear the mailman’s truck approaching from a block away.
  • Marty can go from being deeply asleep to totally alert the moment I open a bag of Pop Chips.
  • He barks like a mad man when he hears a knock or a doorbell, even when it’s coming from the TV. (FYI – there are scads of door-knocks and doorbells in movies).

Marty_at_the_lakeBut like a great improviser, Marty listens with more than just his ears.

He “listens” with his whole body, He pays close attention to everything in his environment.

He’s present and responsive to what’s happening moment to moment.

And, apparently, sometimes that moment calls for some good old-fashioned ball-licking. (Who am I to question the Master?)

Which is a great segue to:

4. Yes, and..

Marty unquestioningly embraces my ideas and expands on them.


Like this Halloween costume we co-created.
I had to surrender my original idea that it was a policeman outfit when Marty made it his own by rocking more of a flight attendant look.

A great improviser like Marty is full of surprises.



No matter what the environment he finds himself in, he not only says yes…




…he gets down and dirty in it, courageously taking the risk of stepping into the unfamiliar.


And then he tracks that unfamiliar into my house and onto my couch. Ahh, what we do for love. Happy_Marty

So, Happy Birthday sweet Marty, you Improv Genius.

Thank you for all you’ve taught me. You are an inspiration and I love you, my galloping goofball.

And thank you, lovely readers, for reading my dog blog.

Marty On!

Rachel 🙂

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