Maizee is a rescue pup from Minnesota brought to Evergreen by her human, Patrice. As anyone who has rescued a pup knows, it can take a bit for a dog to adjust to a new environment, but not so with Maizee. She seemed to know exactly how she should fit in to her new home, or rather, how the home could be rearranged to best fit her needs.

I think of her as Princess Maizee because she looks like royalty. For one, her countenance exudes privilege—the kind that says, “I come from a long line of very important canines.” When you come upon her in repose, leaning against a fluffy pillow, her delicate front paws are crossed, as if she couldn’t possibly abandon her finishing school teachings. And her physical traits only lend to that aura. At first glance, one can’t help but to think that she is a Zsa Zsa of a dog, meaning she has an elevated kind of beauty, marked by an unusually beautiful coat reminiscent of whipped caramel folded in with spun sugar and clotted cream. Simply put, she’d be called a strawberry blonde, but the layers and luster of her coat reveal much more. The tufts of Maizee’s little ears add that extra bit of fluff that makes her look coiffed and coddled. Then there are her eyes. They are a soft brown tone that so many dogs possess, but Maizee’s eyes appear to have been expertly lined, as if she is wearing makeup. The tone of this eyeliner matches her blush brown nose. Her tail is a long, slightly arched thing of beauty with its trailing white feathers that spread out like a train behind her wherever she perches. In short, the combination of her lineage came together in an exotic, yet distinctly beautiful way. Mutt? I think not.

It’s easy to romanticize the beauty of a long-haired dog living in this mountain environment, mainly because I’m not the one grooming her, combing through all that fluff to rid it of the sticking and thorny things that tangle so thoroughly in a dog’s coat.

The second reason why Maizee’s appearance is so remarkable is that her behavior is less lady-like and dainty than her appearance would suggest. Oh, she glides into a room on long legs and petite feet alright, but that’s where it stops. Maizee, who is not a small dog, jumps onto the nearest lap with no regard for personal space. With that approach, those dainty feet feel more like high heels wherever they land. If she hasn’t applied a leap attack, she first leans against her target and then flops on top. She is not a next-to kind of dog. She is a squarely on-top kind of companion. Also, her private life, as in the time she spends alone, is quirky. It is not unusual to discover that she has had a kind of argument with the throw at the end of the bed. Whereas it was folded nicely and placed at an angle or along the end of the bed upon leaving, upon return, it is found to be crumpled and disheveled next to some telltale dents in the spread.

Maizee could never be caught in the act because she is a charming greeter, watching visitors approach by peering through the window from her perch on the stairs. When the door opens, she’s right there, nosing into the space, wriggling and prancing with her fluffy tail fanning the air behind her. Some visitors get a more robust greeting. For instance, when my son, Ryan, popped in, she made funny noises and ran around, then mouthed at his hand and uncharacteristically tried to jump on him. Then she ran a distance away, pranced some more and took another run at him. Hilarious! It was just like a teenaged girl whose crush shows up unexpectedly, rendering her body-conscious, tongue-tied and excessively chatty all at the same time. Pure, unadulterated spaz-like behavior. He has that effect on Zsa Zsas, human and canine.

Bedtime equates to an all-night wrestling match for whomever Maizee decides she’d like to share a bed with. If the human occupant is quietly reading in the soft glow of a lamp, Maizee, who would not tolerate staying on the sidelines, noses her head underneath the binding. This is a difficult position from which to turn the page, but still, she does not move. If the human decides to physically move her further down the bed, they have their work cut out for them. She flops, readjusts, and resists all attempts to be pushed to the foot of the bed. And if the human should offer even the slightest opportunity, perhaps by taking a brief trip to the bathroom, she goes right back to the space she wanted in the first place. She then takes a stance. There’s something about those carefully lined eyes aimed at a person that makes them wonder if they just shouldn’t make do with the small area left on the bed to sleep, comfort be damned.

Because of all these things, Maizee is a truly remarkable companion. After pinning me to a specific spot on the couch, she goes about licking my hands. Perhaps she finds my hand soap or lotion delicious. If I try to hide them, she moves onto my arms. I also suspect there’s a compliment in there somewhere. Patrice thinks so and is probably happy to share in some of Maizee’s attention. I have heard her shoo Maizee out of her bedroom with the instruction to find me. Now I know why. If you suspect I’m complaining, you’d be wrong. I find her simply marvelous from head-to-toe—from her quirky personality to her bed bullying—she is the marvelous Princess Maizee. And in my eyes, may she forever reign.