Originally Published October 12, 2015
Things were fine before the best dog in the entire universe burst into our lives, but they were infinitely better – and sometimes worse, but mostly better – with her. We contemplated naming her Trixe or Peanut-butter, but settled on Pudge to honor Ivan Rodriguez or maybe it was Carlton Fisk. I can’t quite remember, but Pudge it was.
Pudge amused us with her antics. She ignored the no-dogs-on-the-furniture rule from the moment of its inception, drank from the toilet and notoriously unspooled entire rolls of toilet paper across the family room like a Halloween prankster whenever one of us forgot to shut the bathroom door.
She stole food from the dinner table and stole napkins from our laps and she chewed things. Lots of things. Shoes, pencils, eyeglasses, action figures, tampons, you name it she chewed it… and all to shreds. She even chewed a hole through the dry-wall in the laundry room once (okay twice) when cloistered away for pooping in the house. But I never stayed mad at her because in spite of her very, very bad behavior, Pudge was 1) the best dog in the entire universe and 2) really, really cute.
Life is strange. Circumstances change. There are good days and bad days and if you’re lucky, you have a dog by your side through it all. Pudge was my comfort, my confidant and my constant companion. I can’t recall how or when it happened, but she wedged herself in my heart. She was the best dog in the entire universe. She was my best friend. She was my dog, Pudge.
How could I have known fifteen years would pass so quickly? When it was time for Pudge to die, I held her as we said goodbye. I know it was the right thing to do, a final act of love, but my heart broke into a million tiny pieces anyway.
I still sometimes forget she’s gone. I wake up and fleetingly think I need to walk her or I come into the house at the end of the day, expecting to be greeted by my tail-wagging friend, but then I remember and the ache in my heart returns. I’ll never replace Pudge and I don’t want another dog. Not now. Maybe not ever. My husband and I have agreed, with our kids grown we don’t want the responsibility, but the truth is I don’t want to risk another broken heart.
Things were fine before Pudge burst into our lives, but they were infinitely better – and sometimes worse, but mostly better – with her. I’m sure things will be fine again. It just takes a little time.