He was not the pick of the litter. What he lacked in size he made up for in antisocial tendencies. People who came to see the puppies quickly passed him over.
“Oh, he’s certainly … interesting,” they would say.
I was 14 at the time, and living in that state of self-imposed alienation typical of teenage girls.
“Nobody wants him. Nobody wants me. I think we’re made for each other,” I said as flatly as I could.
“So keep him. You’re responsible for his turds,” my mom said.
“Yeah, whatever,” I said.
But deep down I was thrilled. He really was the perfect dog for me. We’re both small, tenacious and suspicious of strangers. I even had the perfect name for him: Prozac, because as he would prove over the next 13 years, he is the best anti-depressant there is.
He’s had his bad moments.
There was the time he ate a snake he found in our yard, then came back in to vomit it back up all over the living room carpet. The chunks were so recognizably reptilian I couldn’t stand to touch them. As the only person willing to clean it up, Annie was able to demand a $20 fee for her services.
He also bit my prom date. I felt bad for that boy at the beginning of the evening, but understood my dog’s point of view by the end of the night.
Sometimes he drags random bits of bone and meat into my bed, where he abandons them under the blankets for me to find later.
But there are things he does that make him special.
He’s a very musical dog. When I used to practice my piano lessons at my parents’ house, he would wander into the dining room and lie against the piano. I thought it was because he liked the sound vibrations, but now when I play my guitar he comes running into the room and gazes admiringly at me while I stumble through my chords. I think it’s because I’m happy when I play, and he wants to be a part of that.
He’s no vegetarian, but if I’m snacking on carrots or celery he asks me to share with him.
And when he howls, it sounds like he’s saying “I love you.”
I love you, too, Prozac.