Liszt-loving pooch

kiz tilt hd

Could you play that passage again?

Two years ago, my husband and I took the plunge and got our daughters a dog. It was only after we brought Kizmit home for the first time did I belatedly read the dog training book that advised “choose a docile, eager-to-please eight-week-old puppy that you can train and socialize easily.”

I realized we had done the opposite: we had chosen the non-shedding, 10-month-old adolescent Lakeland Terrier with the intelligent eyes and aloof demeanor. My daughter and husband loved Kizmit’s red color and adorable face. I loved her calm stance –- unlike all the other canines bouncing around the breeder’s house, I had the feeling that she would stay quiet during my hours of piano practice.

Well…I realize now that her calmness should have signaled to me that she is an “alpha” dog. Our little pooch, all fifteen pounds of her, thinks she is Madame Mao. She snaps at our favorite friends (the nicer the people, the more she wants to dominate them,) she runs away given half a chance, she sits only for tasty treats, and she barks at deer from the window at ear-splitting decibels. But about her listening to music, I was right.

When I begin to play, Kizmit trots over to the piano and bumps my knee with her nose. Then she will choose a spot nearby, turn around three times and lower herself to the floor, as if submitting to the music. If it’s Bach or a contemporary piece I’m practicing, she lies down in an adjoining room. At the first strains of Liszt or Chopin, however, she walks directly to the piano, lies down by the pedals, rolls on her side or even on her back, and promptly falls asleep.

Despite her non-comprehension when it comes to obedience training, Kizmit can distinguish between good and bad piano playing. Once I brought her to an informal recital given by my college students. When a student stumbled and played wrong notes, Kizmit paced restlessly around on her leash. But when a student played smoothly, with technical ease and musical expression, she lay on her side and fell asleep, waking only to bark furiously at the applause.

Perhaps it should be no surprise that any creature with such an acute auditory sense might appreciate Ravel. Kizmit can hear a deer walk through the neighbor’s yard from an upstairs bedroom – she charges downstairs, ready to attack. What surprises us is the extent to which Kizzie is charmed by sonorous chords and beautiful melodic lines.

Whatever the books say, I know we’ve chosen the right dog -– one who loves music.

There are 3 responses to “Liszt-loving pooch”

  1. Howdy Deb! It’s funny that this little pooch is so keyed into you. How does she like Lexi’s violin playing, I wonder? I’ll never forget when i was little and trying to learn how to play the violin. When I practiced, everyone deserted me except our beagle Duke, who used to howl by my side.

    Did you get to the concert in NYC? It would have been fun to go!

    Loving the blog.


  2. Yes, this photo is cuter. And we all know the dog is loved in spite of her demeanor, so no worries there. Now if she were a list-loving dog you could send her over to my blog…. har de har har har. x.

  3. This is so cute! You definitely chose a great little musical doggy. My little Coton also rests sweetly on my feet during piano practice, but I’m not sure if it’s because he likes what I play or if he’s just trying to keep me from over-pedaling. Unlike Kizmit, my little Coco apparently does not distinguish between one composer and another. I was secretly hoping he would subliminally know the difference between good composers and bad ones, between a well-played passage or one rife with errors, but oh well. At least he doesn’t throw tomatoes and he sleeps peacefully, so I count my blessings!