I wonder how many people are lucky enough to be loved by a dog? Not a dog as in, “You need to leave that lyin’, cheatin’ dog of a man, “ or “She’s a real dog, but has a great personality!” I mean literally, a dog, because let me tell you something. No one will ever love you like your dog. I have a dog and by the way she is the BEST dog in the entire world, no wait, I mean universe…and don’t even try to argue with me that your dog’s better.
Her name is Pudge and she loves me more than anyone in this world loves me. She loves me more than my husband, Pat, loves me. She loves me more than my kids, Christian and Jared, love me. And she’s not ashamed to show it. For example, when I get home, whether it’s after a five-minute trip to the grocery store or a two-week vacation, Pudge is so excited to see me she cannot contain herself. She will jump and spin and wiggle and wag her tail until either she is completely exhausted, or I scratch her belly, both of which can take up to five minutes and cause her to roll onto her back and go limp. My husband and my kids NEVER do that.
As shameless as Pudge – THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE- is about showing her emotions, she also can be rather dignified. When Pudge first became part of Team Datoc, we banned her from the furniture. Of course, this resulted in her taking every opportunity to sneak her way onto any bed, chair, or sofa that she could. I, in turn, would shout like a banshee and frantically motion for her to get off the furniture. She would not budge. Not even an inch. In fact, not only would she remain seated as if she had every right to be where she was, she actually would sit ever so slightly taller with a prim look on her face, and cast me sideways glances as if to say, “I will not even DIGNIFY your antics with a response.” This type of thing went on between us for eight or so years, when finally, quick learner that I am, I decided it wasn’t worth the fight and lifted the ban. She is, after all, a very dignified dog.
Pudge is 40 pounds of creamy white non-shedding Wheaton Terrier. Every so often, (o.k. I admit it, every three weeks like clockwork), she gets “the works” from the our super duper mobile dog groomer, Mr. Spruill. He pulls his Happy Paws Dog Salon on wheels right up to the drive and Pudge hops in. It’s not exactly the spa day it sounds like. She’s not the froo-froo type with painted toenails and bows in her hair, but a thorough cleaning out of the old ears and anal glands, clipping the toe-nails, shampoo and a haircut makes her happy, not to mention tidy enough to hop up on the sofa. On grooming day without fail and always within earshot of me, Pat loves to say “Pudge, I see you had your $100 haircut today.” Grooming doesn’t cost quite that much, but maintaining Pudge has put a dent in our bank account. She has issues. She eats prescription dog food (cha-ching), and takes antihistamines to control food allergies (cha-ching), has a thyroid condition for which she takes medication (cha-ching), and requires special shampoo and conditioner to control chronic skin rashes (cha-ching). Pat calls her “Money-Pit.” I call her THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
Pat pretended not to like Pudge in the beginning, but eventually she won his heart. Now they are great friends. He talks to her a lot and though she rarely barks she has a way of answering. She is fluent in English and even understands a little Italian. Once when Jared, now 15, was about seven years old he asked, “Mommy, if we got Pudge to look in the mirror, do you think she would be surprised to see she’s a dog and not a person?” I would have to say yes! I am convinced Pudge believes she is human. In fact, there are times that I think, “You are a human being trapped in a dog’s body.” Then, I remember how Pudge loves us; we are HER humans, and I realize she is, in fact, a dog through and through because there is not a person in the world who loves us like THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, our dog, Pudge.