One For The Road

Laurie Anderson Brings Us Yuletide Cheer in the Form of a Rat Terrier

Laurie Anderson shares a story of how her dog, Lolabelle, learned to play the piano... and got pretty good at it.

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Image courtesy of Abramorama / HBO Documentary Films

A few weeks back, Laurie Anderson told an evocative tale, right around the release of her film “Heart of A Dog.” Among other things, the film is about her relationship with her late rat terrier, Lolabelle. The dog turned out to be musically gifted. You can hear a snippet of Laurie, and of Lolabelle playing a little holiday music, in the audio above. Let’s call it, “The Carol of Lolabelle’s.”

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Lolabelle was a West Village dog in New York. She just was super social and liked to see people — a see-and-be-seen kind of dog. When she went blind, she kind of went paralyzed. She got really upset. So a friend, who is a dog trainer, said, “You know, I taught my dogs to play piano.” And I said, “You did? Teach our dog to play piano!”

So she did. She taught Lolabelle how to play. And Lolabelle played every day for two years. And music saved her life, you know? I think a lot of musicians would say that too. But she made music, created her own world, and made a Christmas record which was… pretty good.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone!