This is Penny. Within a few days of meeting her she had already peed on my stuff. It would not be the last time, and it would not just be my stuff. On more than one occasion it was me.
We joke that Cordi is my puppy because she looks like me – black hair and tan. Penny though, she has my temperament. We like to be left alone. I knew she and I had reached an understanding because she would always make sure her butt was against me because she trusted me.
Here are a few facts about Penny:
She was a rescue from a dog breeder who had tried to breed her too early. I think this has a lot to do with her mistrust of others and also her attitude.
When she was adopted her name was Maggie but it had to be changed because that name was already taken.
She is scared of dinosaurs. I learnt this when we watched Jurassic Park and I saw absolute fear in her eyes.
Her nose is crooked.
She can talk. I have video. She’s very adept at telling you, “No!”
She is our Florence Nighting-puppy. If you ever got a cut of scratch she would lick it to make sure it was clean and would often inspect your legs just to make sure everything was okay. She takes care of us.
She has a Curious George monkey, he’s her boyfriend. But the only time I’ve ever seen her act like a dog and actually chase a toy was when we threw this little yellow duck that squeaked.
Even though she is technically a Jewish American with Mexican ancestry, she quickly adapted to life as a British-Filipino Catholic and loves pork and could eat rice with every meal. She’s also incredibly adept at guilting you into sharing your food. Catholic guilt is real.
She hates putting her hoodie on because she knows it means a long walk was in store, but she looks like the baddest dog on the block when she did. The real B.I.C.
Her collar is sky blue.
She is a terrible guard dog but she’s a great alarm. She makes a lot of noise when the doorbell rings but that’s about it. And you have to thank her for letting you know someone is there.
I taught her to give high fives in exchange for chest rubs. This does not mean she did tricks. She would tap her paw on my hand to tell me I wasn’t finished.
She loves massages. If she had her way this would be my only job.
In the mornings when I wait for my tea to brew she sits up waiting to see what I’m making for breakfast and whether it’s something she can have. I feel guilty when it’s only cereal because I know she wants no part of that. She prefers pastries, particularly croissants.
When she poops she has to do it in at least two places, usually three.
She is not a morning person. She only tolerates them because they involve food.
Baths are definitely not her favourite thing. However, she doesn’t seem to mind having her fur blowdried.
Her favourite place is on the back of the sofa where she can lie on her back, front, side, any way at all, watching the TV – particularly food shows.
She does a creepy winky thing when she’s half asleep and you wake her up and her tongue’s hanging out the side of her mouth.
She has the softest fur, especially on the top of her head. I kept trying to make it into a mohawk but it wouldn’t stay.
She hates hugs.
When I come home and open the door she’s sat on the bed and she tilts her head so she can see who it is. She doesn’t come down until I call her.
You could put her dinner down and it’d be gone in 60 seconds. Less.
She likes to sleep in front of the fan. Never under blankets, even when it’s cold. Other times I’d wake up and her back would be against mine.
She snores. Loudly.
We call her our ‘Chicken Chimichanga’ because sometimes she looks like a chicken. Cordi is our ‘Black Bean Burrito.’
I’m convinced she’s learning to cook because she pays avid attention whenever I’m cooking or baking. In another life she would have been a chef.
People always say that she needs to lose weight without realising how much she has already slimmed down. Sometimes we are the shape we are. Penny and I are okay with that.
She stays up late with me, even if her version of staying up was passing out on the sofa. She wouldn’t leave until I said it was time for bed and then she’d hope down from the sofa, and open the bedroom door heralding my entrance. She is the Silver Surfer to my Galactus.
I don’t know when it was I started to love her, but I do.
She is my last goodnight.
She is my constant shadow.
She is my pup.
I want to imagine her in a field somewhere that she could run and chase birds, because she ran after the occasional pigeon. Or maybe on the beach, by the ocean. But I know she would have hated both of those things. So I imagine her where she was happiest, riding on the back of a bus when the doors used to be open, as her favourite conductor petted her. On her way to Starbucks to get a croissant. Or maybe just lying on the back of the sofa, not a care in the world, as we enjoyed one of our lazy Sundays.
She would have been 12yrs old on June 21st.
She died last night at around 1am. We held her and wished it could have been more easy on her, knowing she deserved a better life than the one she had been given, that she tried to make the most out of.
My heart is broken. I don’t know how someone so small could leave a hole so big.
Penito. My Penny. The best dog.
(June 21st 2006 – 2 May 2018)