A Flip Of A Hat, A Diva Is Discovered

I’d like to say a hat turned me into a Diva. The truth is I look terrible in hats, and mostly shy away from wearing them. I did discover that one of my six dogs came out of her shell with the placement of a rose chapeau on her head! This is her story, one of change through fashion! It could be your story too.

On this lovely spring like day I am reminded of last Easter when I decided to photograph my dogs wearing vintage hats.  Most of my afternoon was spent with dog bones between my teeth, a camera in one hand, and my free hand trying to adjust the hats!

The dogs were remarkably still. I am not sure if this was from fear, or if the dogs were hypnotized by the little bone wedged between my teeth. Each time a hat was placed on a dog head, a reward of a small bone was given the fashion victim.


The results were amazing. Each dog took on the personality of the hat. Or perhaps, without realizing it, I placed the right hat on each dog, so I matched the personalities.


My male dog refused to be part of the photography session, but did hang close for his share of bones.

The sixth dog, the last stray to find a home with me, had not yet bonded with the pack. April was shy. She kept her distance from me unless called to come. I was so busy with all the other dogs I did not pay that much attention to her, although so happy to have her.

On the afternoon of the photo shoot, April sat quietly on a chair in my living room. She is a larger hunting dog with a dark face and liver spotted body. Her eyes keep a serious look to them, even when she is wagging her tail. I saw those dark eyes follow me as I went from dog to dog, laughingly taking photos, tilting hats, picking hats off the floor to try again, and handing out dog bones.

April’s turn came. As I approached her, her dark brown eyes nervously watched my every move. I picked a special vintage hat for her, a chapeau with a huge pink rose. This was my favorite hat, and I wanted her to know she was a favorite of mine too. I placed it gently on her head and stepped back to take my photo.

To my surprise, April seemed delighted with her hat. Her timid, standoffish way suddenly was replaced with a tilt of her head. I swear she was posing for me. Our eyes met and her look had softened. At that moment I realized my dog had gone from rescue dog to Diva!

April loved wearing the hat. She looked glamorous. I went up to her and gently cupped her face and bent to kiss her black nose.

“Oh, April,” I cooed at her, “you are so lovely!”

I had not really taken the time to see all that April had to offer. Now, she no longer had potential, she had style.

April moved her head and I took several more photos of her. Each turned out to show her as the elegant Diva she was.

Suddenly, her name, April, no longer seemed right for her. It was plain, and she clearly was not.

“I shall call you Miss April In Paris.” I gleefully clapped my hands and then reached to caress her face. From that moment on she has been called by her full name, no longer just April, but Miss April In Paris. Not the easiest of names when you are yelling for the dogs to go into the yard, but one that she recognizes as her own.

You may think I am nuts, and I may well be. Having six dogs would hint at that fact. Dressing them in vintage hats, a stronger indication. But the change in Miss April In Paris that day was real!

She no longer cowers when the other dogs come in the room. She is first to get her food, where before she stood in the back waiting her turn.  Miss April In Paris is no longer shy. She comes up and places kisses on my lips, and butts me with her head to let me know she wants to be petted. She frolics playfully with the other dogs and is very much at home.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can bring out the best, put someone at ease. If a dog’s attitude can change with the placement of a vintage hat, what would a small change do for you? What could you do for others? How much beauty can a spontaneous moment bring out of someone?

Try something silly. It will make you laugh and laughter makes you healthier. Follow that laugh with a huge smile! A smile brings out the beauty in everyone.

If you happen to have a hat handy, try it on. Tilt it to the right or left, until you feel sassy and lovely!

We all need to feel like a Diva some days! I have the dog to prove it!  It just takes a small change to bring out that Diva in you.

On certain days of the week you will see me sporting a straw cowboy hat. I may not look like a Diva, but I do feel quite special!

Barbara Barth, CEO of Life


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