I wrote the following story as an entry to the Shelter Challenge’s “Celebrate Humor” contest. A few folks have asked that I post the story as the contest has ended and they never got the chance to read it. The story won the contest, which means that it fetched $1000 for the American Belgian Malinois Rescue. MicaPie and I are thrilled and beyond grateful to all of you who voted. And yes, we’ll be at it again soon – the next contest is themed “Celebrate Family” and you can bet that Mica will do so in her inimitable way!
Without further ado…
Once upon a time, in a place not very far away at all, there lived a Belgian Malinois Princess named MicaPie CrankyPaws. She would have preferred it if her name was Spike, Menace, or La Chienne Nikita, but her inability to bark in English to elucidate her human servants meant she had to put up with a silly name.
The first chapter of Princess MicaPie’s story took up most of her life, but there isn’t much to tell. Some princesses are imprisoned in towers or dungeons: MicaPie was imprisoned outside her home. She spent her first 11 years on the end of a chain in her family’s backyard. Her youth was spent chewing her chain and barking, pleading with her family to recognize her royal nature and treat her with some respect. One day in her eleventh year of chained boredom, she was released from her chain and walked to the car. “Yippee,” thought Princess MicaPie. “Finally my family has figured out that I don’t belong alone out there!” But indeed her family – if you can call them that – had not decided to start treating her better. They took her to a shelter and dropped her off.
Undaunted, because a princess is ever hopeful, patient, and loyal, Princess MicaPie waited for her family to figure out their error and return for her. That didn’t happen, but someone else did come for Mica – someone who spoke the magic words: “American Belgian Malinois Rescue.” Cage doors opened. Treats were provided. And after a nice ride to a new house, the door was opened and Princess MicaPie CrankyPaws sauntered in to a whole new life.
Her first order of business was to take possession of all the furniture. Royalty must have a throne or two, you know. She relaxed a little, but not too much since this new home was full of humans and dogs that required constant instructions and supervision. Although they were all nice enough, MicaPie was secretly jealous of her foster brothers since they had cool names: Dagger, Wicked, and Gator. What Princess MicaPie didn’t know was that her journey was only just beginning – that she was on her way to yet another home that was destined to become her kingdom.
But first, transport: Princess Pie had to be loaded and unloaded in and out of what felt like a few hundred cars over the course of two days. She spent the night with the first of her wicked stepmothers: cruel Julie who insisted she take a bath. Julie had a garden with flowers everywhere, making MicaPie sneeze and itch with hayfever. Oh, the indignity.
Finally MicaPie landed in her new foster home. She assessed her situation grimly: new wicked stepsisters Lily, Iske, and Cinder were stupid and vain, refusing to hand over all their food, toys, bones, and humans immediately, but instead suggesting that they all “share” such resources. SHARE? A princess does not share. The wicked stepparents were inept and thick-headed, using such barbaric tools as leashes and collars, teaching commands, and enforcing structure. Idiots. Princess Mica barked orders at top volume as frequently as possible, attempting to school these imbeciles in the ways of the CrankyPaws court, but it seemed utterly hopeless. No one here understood or respected royalty.
But those magic words (American Belgian Malinois Rescue) kept being spoken – sometimes over the phone, and sometimes typed into the computer – and things seemed to improve. Her stepparents started to learn how to speak Malinois, and the male human seemed to be a quick study. Princess MicaPie taught him to catch her when she jumped up – Pomeranian style – into his arms. She taught her stepmother to feed her the best treats first, and to make the other dogs sit far away from her at meal times. She taught the woman to let her run free, with no leash, and to take her into the woods where she could engage in her royal pastimes: chipmunk hunting, deer poop nibbling, and puddle drinking. Princess MicaPie found herself tolerating her new situation, begrudgingly admitting to her diary late at night that the special bed she had been given was mighty comfortable, despite its location on the floor, and that her diet of chicken feet and necks was actually a regal delicacy worthy of her status, even if her wicked stepmonster barked silly commands before handing them over.
There were setbacks along the way. One day the female human brought extremely dangerous and terrifying long yellow things into the royal court. She set them down – a whole bunch of them, maybe 5 or 6 of these long smooth bright yellow NEW THINGS – right on the kitchen table. Princess MicaPie tried hard to warn them all of the impending disaster – she barked “Lookout, you knuckleheads! Those yellow things are NEW! They are DIFFERENT! They don’t belong in the kitchen! RUN!!!” but her wicked stepmother just got out the video camera and made a movie of Princess MicaPie having a meltdown over the presence of bananas in the house.
Another time the wicked and abysmally blond stepfather took Princess Mica into the woods and allowed her to assert her dominion over a giant chipmunk covered in extremely sharp sticks. He kept saying the words “poor Q pines” which Princess Mica thought was inane. The pines were not poor and had nothing to do with her predicament. Men…
Another time her stepfather was walking her by the pond (why do these truly terrible events always occur when the stepfather is in charge? Hmmm? Men…) when a huge bloodthirsty aquatic chipmunk with a weird rubbery flat tail grabbed her and dragged Princess MicaPie into the water. Yes, that really happened. Her step sister, Iske, despite being stupid and vain at all other moments, dove in after her and fought the bad animal and saved the Princess. MicaPie would have knighted Iske for her bravery but doing so required opposable thumbs, so Princess Mica just barked in Iske’s face for a few minutes, delivering a speech about bravery in the face of aquatic rodents. Iske sneezed in response.
Princess MicaPie reigned with an iron paw and no velvet bootie. She barked her commands and followed up with insistent growls to show how seriously she meant it. She dressed in her black ops uniform when she felt that the wicked stepsisters required additional intimidation. She never let up on the stepparents, guiding them and instructing them, sharing knowledge and wisdom, making suggestions and offering advice… all in ear-splitting barks. Each time she thought the humans were finally grasping her true nature and responding appropriately, they’d regress, engaging in new and ever more dim-witted behaviors, such as taking in another foster dog, limiting her time on Facebook, or requiring her to not only stay off the couch but also stay off their bed.
The Princess divided her time between writing in her diary, lying on the forbidden couch, and updating her Facebook status. She befriended a great many humans and dogs on Facebook, and began to stir up trouble flirting with boy dogs from all over the United States. It was great fun talking to the sexy beasts, taking selfies and posting them, and generally behaving like a human teenager. She began to ask her stepparents to get her a boy toy of her very own so that she could have her own living, breathing, chew toy.
The stepparents’ crowning glory – their absolute pinnacle of stupidity – and the end of our story coincide with the stepparents’ adoption of an 88 pound Dutch Shepherd puppy they named Hawk. Princess MicaPie thought that Hawk, which is almost a cool name, was another brainless goober of a dog. “I have learned that sexy in real life is not the same as sexy on Facebook!” she wrote in her journal. Her worst suspicions were confirmed when he lifted his leg and peed on her head last week. Her brother’s urine dripping between her eyes, Princess Mica looked up at her parents in utter disdain, disbelief, and despair. “Can you not see my horror, my indignation, and my rage?” MicaPie telepathically spoke into her stepmother’s brain. Stepmom cleaned MicaPie up, dabbing at her head with scooped up handfuls of snow, and gave her a hug and a snuggle. And Princess MicaPie CrankyPaws, the barkiest pup in New YorkState, the growliest pooch in the Catskills, and the bossiest grump in the history of the American Belgian Malinois Rescue, wagged her tail.