Let me tell you a little story.
Some of you already know about Marley, my "li'l old man" of 16 years. He was the most loving, intelligent, best friend and loyal dog I had even known.
What many of you may not know of is Marley's friend, Diogi. (Say it aloud, to yourself - Dee-oh-gee! Yeah, I came up with that. Someone actually asked me if it was Italian!)
My wife wanted a little lap dog, terribly. As a young couple, we didn't have enough to buy her the Pomeranian that she desperately wanted and so after weeks of looking, we found Marley, just 5 weeks old, at the pound. Around a year after adopting him, we were able to scrounge up enough to buy her little lap dog, and we happily bought him home.
As with Marley, it took us a little while to come up with a suitable name for this walking, baby Chia Pet. (He was small enough to stand on all fours, in the palm of my hand!) It took us even longer to get up the courage to introduce him to his big brother. So tiny was the little guy that we worried that Marley might be territorial and not accept him, so we put off the introduction for days.
It was an unnecessary fear.
Marley seemed indifferent; but not Diogi! No... he found a plaything, in Marley. He'd chase him around to tug on his tail, climb on his back, and nibble on his paws. In fact, I remember watching Marley sitting up, looking at us and whining as Diogi hung from his ear. When Diogi was out of his box, Marley couldn't get a moment's peace.
However, in time, they became the closest of friends. One night a neighbor who would (before meeting us) come up to our fence and play with then puppy Marley, and sneak him treats, came over to our house. Meeting the baby Pomeranian for the first time, she approached him with her arms out, as a bogey man might approach a small child, and growled playfully. Marley was having any of that and was immediately up, hackles raised, and growling through a pearly set of sharp teeth. All of us were stunned, and I had to get between Marley and assure him that everything was OK.
As Diogi got older, when one of them was punished and sent to their "timeout spot", the other would follow and accompany him. When given treats, Marley would sit at Diogi's side until Diogi finished eating his. Marley would then drop his own for his little brother to munch up.
Marley would either lie down on his side while Diogi curled up in the hollow space between his front and rear legs, or Diogi would sit at his big brother's side, or he would lay by Marley's head. (His head seemed as big as Diogi!) They were pretty much inseparable.
The one time that Marley did hurt Diogi was when my wife came home, after being away for a few days. Both ran excitedly to the front door, barking and whining as their mommy walked up the stoop and set her keys to the lock. When the door finally opened, they ran in circles yipping their greetings happily and loudly.
Diogi disappeared in the dancing shadow of his big brother, and when Marley sat to obediently give his mommy a chance to return his greeting, he sat right on top of tiny Diogi. The little guy's screams were loud! They induced in us all the appropriate panic and response.
Eventually, the little guy came back with his mommy, from the vet. So tiny was he that the animal doctor's smallest splint was gigantic, and unwieldy. The man had to improvise by cutting a corner from a shirt hanger he had, wrapping it up to hide the metal and sharp edges, and manufacturing a suitable splint from it.
Once again, the canine version of Nermal was chasing his big brother, with delight. Only now, he dragged an over-sized kickstand.
While dating, I had won a teddy bear for my wife at a carnival. She kept it as a prized treasure, on her bed, while we courted. Married, I don't remember where it was kept, but eventually, an adolescent Diogi found it and fell in love.
Diogi wasn't romantic. He didn't need Barry White or Whitney Houston to set the moment. The teddy bear could be dragged into an occupied room, all disheveled, at any time. My wife always tried to stash it, ashamed to keep it out, but unable to separate her little doggie from his toy as we did his friend. I was always under the impression that not only was this dog a happy-go-lucky exhibitionist, but that he knew how it affected us; her blushing, and me laughing and making wise cracks.
And yes, though I often swore to turn him into a fuzzy slipper with one swift kick, he was really just like Nermal. He was cute, he knew it, and he used it to get away with things.
As it turns out, Diogi passed away within a year of his big brother. It's a shame that in their last years they didn't get to see each other, but I have the feeling that somewhere above, a big Goberian (Golden retriever - Siberian Husky mix) sits with a dog treat in his mouth, patiently waiting for his little brother to finish scarfing down his own.