I often joke about our "worthless mutt" Piggy, but in reality, our dog is very much a member of the family. When we bought her as a puppy in early 2003, my future wife and I were living together in a cockroach and rat infested condo in Arlington, Virginia. We didn't have a lot of money back then, but we were impressed how this puppy, just seemed to say "take me home." I laughed as she dominated other puppies in her pen, and she warmed right up to us. After deliberating at a nearby Taco Bell, and I'll admit it I cried thinking about leaving the dog I totally fell in love with, my wife rode with Piggy all the way home on the front seat. She chose us, no doubt about it, and I never thought that a pooch could change our lives in so many ways.
Happy Birthday to our four legged family member, who has experienced joy and pain, along with who has provided much entertainment and also is responsible for destroying all of the blinds in our house. Piggy is a shar pei and perhaps terrier mix, and she's not going to win any beauty awards or personality contests. She tried to attack full sized Rottweilers from when she was a puppy, does not back down from any dog, and has a observe people first approach, before becoming their best friend for life. No joke, she remembers people that she has not seen for years. She has stupidly chased a horse, before turning away at just the right moment, and also fell into the Occoquan River on a boat trip. This dog has forced us to switch from a mail slot on our front door, to putting a mailbox out front, because she simply attacks the mail. Our mail man is deathly afraid of her, and was shocked when he learned she wasn't one hundred fifty pounds. She has a deep bark, and one night, I received six stitches from startling her while she was sleeping. I am still waiting for my $50 co pay to the ER, and the $15 for the antibiotics.
So its a dog? Yes, she is that. Yet looking at her in the doggie bed she resides in, I think about how she outlived our son Tommy, who passed away at age five in 2009. It doesn't seem fair, and while I don't hold it against Piggy, it does bother me. Yet at the same time, I am immensely thankful to Piggy. Not once, never, did she ever show any aggression, not even a growl or complaint to Tommy, who pounded her head with his fists, and his jerky leg movements caught her in the face so many times. All she would do, is turn and run the other way. If other children even approach her, she growls and puts on quite the show. With our other boy, she growls at him all of the time, and he has to be supervised around her. I know this might sound crazy, but she knew that Tommy with his Angelman Syndrome condition, simply couldn't help it. She often sat next to him, even as she got "rocked" quite a few times from his rather strong kicks.
There is a special bond between children, especially those with profound medical needs, and even dogs that have failed the most basic of temperament tests "get it." Thank you Piggy, for putting up with all of the abuse from Tommy that he did not mean, along with providing comfort to all of us at our time of greatest shock and sadness. Many a night, I would just sit alone on the couch, and pet her. She would look up with the saddest of eyes, and I am convinced that she understood. Even the night the paramedics responded on that dreadful night, she did not growl, when she would growl at anyone from calling her name or putting her int another room. Piggy is an old dame now, and doesn't romp in the forest like she used to, chasing deer or horses for that matter. Yet, she has been a loyal friend to our family, and I am thankful that she was so good to Tommy. Happy Birthday Piggy, and you shall get a lot of love and attention, even as each day is a challenge. You make life a lot more interesting, and we are thankful for your understanding, of a boy better than all of us combined.