Happy birthday to Smooch.
Smooch is a Pug. According the veterinarians records he is 10 today. We think he is 8, and that his birthday is February 14th. Somewhere I have his records from the woman who foisted him off on me. I need to find them to figure out who is correct. At any rate, we celebrated today a little. He got an extra big breakfast, with goat milk, which he adores. Pugs pretty much live to eat, and he is no exception. I gave him extra cookies all day long, and hardly yelled at him at all when he barked incessantly, as he is apt to do.
Let me tell you the story of Smooch. Many years ago I had a Doberman Pinscher named Loki. He was a wonderful, beautiful dog, with a gentle spirit lurking inside his fierce looking visage. He loved babies and kittens and if someone were to try to break in he would have happily showed them where we kept the things we loved the best.
Loki was around 3 years old when I took in a tiny, sickly Pug puppy to care for until I could find her a forever home. Loki was jealous that the wee thing was always in my lap and he pouted for several days. Finally, one night, he got up on the couch with me and the pitiful little Pug. He held the puppy down with one big paw while he polished her with his tongue for a solid 45 minutes. I timed him. Then he tucked her against his broad chest, laid his chin over her, sighed deeply and claimed her as his own. That Pug ended up living with us, and outliving Loki. She was our beloved Poppy. They were great friends. When Loki was around 11 years old he woke up one morning completely paralyzed. Our veterinarian explained that there was little we could do and recommended we euthanize him. All of this was very sudden, and it was hard for me to say goodbye. I got a little crazy, and when I kissed his lovely face for the last time and told him what a very good dog he was and how much I loved him, I whispered, "Come back to me as a small, black Pug, and you can sit in my lap all the time." He had always wanted to be a lap dog. A few days later, coming out of my fog of grief, I thought to myself, "I'm an idiot. I don't even know if I believe in re-incarnation, and if Loki COULD come back, how will I ever know it's him?"
Several months went by and one day a customer at the grooming shop I used to work at came in and asked for me. She was an older lady with a cute little Shih Tzu. She took me aside and said, "Daryl, honey, I made a mistake. I got a puppy and I shouldn't have done it. Ever since my husband had a stroke he has no patience, and I'm afraid he's going to hurt this puppy. I want you to have him." I told her I didn't want a puppy, but that I would happily take it and find it a wonderful home. She went out to her car and came back with a small, black Pug. She thrust him into my arms and he began to gnaw gently on my chin. "I really feel like you should have him," she said. I was sunk.
I named the puppy Smooch, because he was an excellent kisser, and he fit right in with the family. He adored me, I was clearly his person, and I took him most everywhere I went. Then our college aged daughter moved home. She was not enjoying her college experience and wanted to regroup and figure out what to do next. She wasn't in the greatest frame of mind. Smooch somehow knew that she was feeling lost and... well, let me just tell you that he dropped me like a hot potato and became 100% HER dog. I was still useful at feeding time, because, after all, I do have opposable thumbs, but I was firmly demoted to a second class citizen and he only had eyes (and kisses) for my daughter. The two became inseparable. They still are.
Tonight she brought home a bottle of "Bowser Beer." The label says, "Porky Pug Porter." It's not really beer at all, but some sort of pork product, bottled in a humorous way. Smooch and his canine pals all shared the bottle.
Happy Birthday, Smooch. You are a funny little dog. You bark too much, you shed too much, and you are prone to lifting your leg at inopportune moments, but you bring my daughter great joy. For that I thank you, and lift my glass in celebration of your life!