Lucy did her business, and Chaser was finding just the right spot for his when I heard Christmas carolers. I had no idea where the chorus was, though they sounded close by. As I bent down to pick up after Chaser (after all, I am a responsible dog owner), I dropped Lucy’s leash. Wearing heavy mittens, I didn’t realize I had dropped the leash. I picked up the stuff and began to walk to my house. That’s when I heard the carolers begin their next song, "Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and. . . woo-woof-woo.” The woo-woof-woo was a dog. My dog, Lucy.
I looked down and her leash was gone; I was only holding Chaser’s leash. I followed the sounds of the chorus, with Lucy enthusiastically continuing to chime in. They weren’t far, just down a walkway. "Is that your dog?” asked a chorus member.
“She’s really very good – and in tune.” The Men’s Gay Chorus had their first female member. They did one more tune and, as if on cue, Lucy again contributed her part.
On that dark and stormy, and musical night, I realized Lucy could sing Christmas carols. When we’re out on walks when it’s near Christmas, and we see kids, I sometimes ask if they want to hear a Christmas carol. I realize Lucy sounded better with the Men’s Gay Chorus, but her solo work isn’t bad. All I have to do is ask, "Can you do a little ‘Jingle Bells’ or ‘Frosty the Snowman?’ " and she complies.
Being a Miniature Australian Shepherd (also known as a North American Shepherd), it’s in Lucy’s genes to sing. Aussies (including the minis) are among the breeds that seem likely to be able to carry a tune. Lucy’s been a songstress from an early age, so it was easy for me to pair the word "sing” whenever she did it. Soon she began to understand that the word "sing” meant woo-wooing. Then I began to ask kids – even kids Lucy didn’t know – to ask my dog to sing. I carried treats with me, so when she complied when the children asked, she got a goodie.
It all sounds great, actually. But I think the training backfired. Today, Lucy likes performing so much that she’ll walk up to strangers with a chorus of "Wha-ooa, woo-woo, woof, woooo.” She’ll sing to perfect strangers, just as she did with the Men’s Gay Chorus. Like her dad, Lucy turned out to be a ham.