Dear Rudy,

When I was a little girl I used to go outside and feed all the stray cats and rescue animals from the neighborhood, much to my parents dismay. In one attempt to rescue a cat (I thought it was a stray but turned out to be my neighbors) I was bitten and ended up in the ER with a massive infection where I was yelled at by the nurses wondering why I would approach stray animals, warning me about rabies risks and on and on. I didn’t care, I wanted to help animals in need. Since my brother was highly allergic to all things, I could never have a pet but I dreamed of owning a dog for as long as I can remember!! Finally, when I graduated college, early in January of 2001 from NYU, and had my own apartment on the Upper East Side, I began my search for a dog immediately! It was to be my graduation gift to myself as I celebrated my entry into the real world with real responsibilities. I was ready for you!! I’d been waiting for you all my life. I looked to adopt animals but I couldn’t find the right fit and NYC was tough. Dogs listed for adoption in outside states wouldn’t allow me to take them to NYC. So I found myself in a pet shop in Long Island with a friend picking up her pet supplies and that is where I saw you. You were only 6 weeks old and clearly too young to be in a pet store like that! To me, you needed to be rescued from that place and I refused to leave until I had you in my arms, no matter what the cost. That day was one of the best days of my life!! And I’m so glad that I got you when I did because I don’t think you would’ve lived much longer as it turned out you had already gotten kennel cough and other issues from being there at such a young age. I took you to the wonderful ASPCA in NYC, a place that even had their own show on TV for their compassionate care and animal rights efforts throughout the city. They treated you with the best of care in your early days and years.

Even though I was told that crating a dog was a necessary step in training, I quickly realized what a softy I was and that it wasn’t going to work for us. I read up on it and got all the necessary items, including a hot water bottle, ticking clock and blankets. I put you in that crate and you just started to whimper, I let it go for about 5 minutes and I couldn’t take it anymore. There was no way I could hear you cry!! Not even for one second! 5 minutes felt like an eternity and from that night and for the next ten years you slept in my bed with me. You owned ME right off the bat. Since you were too young to be walking out in the streets of NYC or playing in the park, I would take you around town in my bag! I vividly remember one day on the subway when you peaked your little head out of the bag and the entire car nearly melted at the sight of you. For years after, you and I spent traipsing through the city, having a blast. Days were spent at the Thompson Square Small Animal Park where you played with many a celebrity dog! Little did you know that you were humping Molly Ringwald’s doggie!! Your mamma was a tad bit embarrassed when Molly questioned who’s horny humping dog that was, so I waited until everyone left before taking you out of the park so she wouldn’t know my dog was the horny alpha male on the hunt for a lady pup to call his own. You were so dapper. When it was hot out you didn’t quite understand the concept of the large water bowl set out for dogs to drink while playing in the park. You were so tiny you thought it was a pool set out just for you to sit in! I think you redeemed yourself that day when people couldn’t get enough of your hilarity. The world was your oyster and everything was there just for you, my prince!

Then we moved to the East Village where we lived with a group of flight attendants. As luck would have it, you shared the same name as one of the housemates, Rudy, and he refused to allow me to call you by your real name. He had some bizarre theory that his name belonged to him and him alone and he was not about to share it with a dog! House rules, I guess!! That is where your nickname “Little Man” come into play. You were my little man anyway, my little prince, so it was okay with me and you didn’t seem to mind. Growing up in the city with so many people adoring you made you the super loving extra friendly dog you are today. You know how cute you are too because so many people repeatedly stopped to tell you, inflating your ego to epic proportions.

I’ve always loved how much you enjoyed your bath time. It wasn’t even just the bath that you loved, but the blow dry after! You just like to sit there with your head held high as you get all spiffy and clean. For most of your life, I bathed you myself because you just loved it so much, why would I need anyone else to wash you when we could spend a day of pampering together? After I dried you as much as I could you really loved running like the wind and feeling your wet coat dry by your break neck pace. It’s awesome and it never fails to put a smile on my face. It cracks me up too because you love to be told how handsome you are while being blown dry! You just revel in this ritual and how can I refuse your adorable nature!

For a short time, I decided to pack some bags and move to LA, so I had your grandparents watch you in NJ. Yes, the same grandparents that never allowed me to have a dog, but they took good care of you!! However, they quickly discovered you hated the rain, disliked the cold and all but refused to walk in the snow. They fitted you up with a nice fleece coat and some booties and held an umbrella over you if it rained, even if they ended up soaked, but they treated you like the prince you are! Seriously, who could resist you!! You get your way always, as you should, my love. When I realized that I wouldn’t be coming back to the east coast, you were taken on your first airline flight when your Grandma packed you up and flew you to meet me in LA at your new home! You were so happy, I’m pretty sure you peed on me. Generally speaking, you’ve always loved to pee on the people you like, marking them as yours! I often tell people it’s a sign of love. Alternatively, if you ever barked at someone, I knew they had bad intentions, so thank you for helping me “sniff out” the good from the bad. At times, you have gotten a little possessive here and there, but you’ve been “on the nose” most of the time!! Not only are you my friend, you’ve been my guardian angel. You are everything to me. We’ve been through so much together and in so many places, I really think you’ve gotten a variety of experiences in your life, way more than most dogs. Remember the weeks you spent on vacations to the chihuahua ranch where you played with your friends!! This was your holiday and you loved it. You would come back to me so exhausted you slept for days! The non-stop play was totally your thing.

You’ve been a perfect friend to me Rudy. You’ve been with me through thick and through thin. You are the epitome of unconditional love. The one thing I could always count on was coming home to you in the poorest of moods to find you there anxiously awaiting my arrival, wagging your tail with un-abounding love. There was no sorrow for you, there was only joy and happiness at seeing me, getting your food and those special treats! And when times were really tough you knew it, but instead of getting down, you sat by my side and licked me on my face and told me in your own way that we were going to be okay as long as we were together. As I write this, I cry, because your health has become grave and I feel as though I have let you down in your time of need. Your mamma isn’t perfect, and I made some bad decisions that have left us apart at a time when I need to hold you and give you the love you so openly gave to me for 12 years! And here I sit, knowing that you miss me and need me and not being able to do anything about it. I’m trying to see you as much as I can. I know that you have lost the bulk of your hearing and your vision but I know that when I held you in my arms Saturday with the heaviest of hearts, you just sat on my lap and continued to look up and kiss me. I know you understand my heart and my love for you. I will never forget the joy that you brought to me these past 12 years. Never. You’ll always be my baby! You’ll always be that little pup to me…that 6 week old precious angel. I really wish that you could speak and tell me how you feel inside and tell me what I should do. I’m so conflicted Rudy, I don’t want you to be in pain or suffer ever and I only want to do right by you and for you. My intentions are as pure as you have always been. I know, despite many people thinking I’m crazy, that when I speak to you, you understand me. Maybe it’s just the keywords, the important ones, like I Love You Rudy, My Good Boy, My Angel Baby, My Little Man, My Prince, you wag your tail with the most excitement at those words. Your tail is wagging less now because you might not be able to hear me say those words, but you can feel my heart beat as I hold you and instinctively know that I am giving you all my love. I promise you that before you leave this world and move onto the next, that we will spend our final day together doing all the things you loved to do, a drive in the car with the wind blowing on you, a stroll in the park, playing catch with your ball, which generally means I’m the one fetching, giving you your favorite treat, spending a night sleeping together, and then you will rest in peace and I will let you go. It will hurt me more than I have ever been hurt but always know Rudy, you’ve been my savior and I’m forever indebted to you for helping me survive these first 12 years of true responsibility and true love with you by my side.

Your Mamma

Breed: Chihuahua


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