In Spring of 1997 I was given a gift from my soon to be husband. After being with me for 7 years he knew I wasn’t a ‘diamonds are a girls bestfriend’ kind of girl, after all we were living in NYC, and expensive jewelry was only a way to attract unwanted trouble. No, for this girl, a bestfirend came with four little paws and lots of fur.
We got Brooklyn at an Upper-East side pet store, and yes she cost more than a most diamond rings, and no I do not condone petstores, and the puppymills that they employ (when you know better you do better).
On our first trip to meet the Vet, he told us “This dog will never be Lassie by Friday”. He must have sensed her stubbornness, and probably anticipated how much we had planned to spoil her.
She was the tiniest of pugs, able to fit in any bag or backpack for subway trips. I had her trained in no time to jump right into the bag, because she knew that an adventure awaited her at the next subway stop. Whether she was being passed around a cafe table of friends sneaking her nibbles off their plates, or curled up in our laps at a favorite bar, Brooklyn went everywhere with us. Sometimes we took her out to her favorite places like the Washington Square Park Dog run, or Pug Hill (an area in Central Park dedicated to Pugs). More than once I got strange looks on our subway ride home while Brooklyn slept and snored, onlookers were puzzled until they saw the little ball of fur curled up and peeking out of the bag on my lap. We even took her to St. John the Divine during the blessing of the animals, maybe that is why she lived as long as she did.
Celebrities were naturally attracted to her, maybe because she had such great poise and confidence, but probably it was because of her friendliness, and her face that was so ugly it was cute. We passed Silvercup Studios on our way to the LIC dog run, the one across from PS1. Most of our trips to this dogrun coincided with The cast of the Sopranos taking their cigarette break out front of the studios. All the tough-guy actors favored our other dog, Hank, she was fierce and loyal, and all the other qualities that a Sopranos kind of guy looked for in a dog. Brooklyn didn’t care, because she knew that just around the corner was her group of makeup artists, hairstylists, and if it was her lucky day, the cast of Sex in the City, which also filmed at silver cup studios. Brooklyn was completely irresistible to these ladies and gents.
Another time, while living in our our LIC loft, we opened our building door on a Sunday morning to hundreds of screaming teenage girls. It wasn’t until Fred Durst reached down and pet Brooklyn did we recognize it was Limp Biscuit filming their “Nookie” video. Fred adored Brooklyn, telling us that he grew up with pugs, and when he appeared in a tabloid a few months later, with his newly adopted pug, it didn’t surprise us.
I mentioned that Brooklyn went everywhere with us (She visited 8 states) when she wasn’t with us, she went to a doggy day care on the Upper East Side, or one in Chelsea. I brought the guys that worked at these places leftover food from the restaurants I worked in to bribe them into taking extra good care of her.
When we moved, she acclimated to life in the South quite well. She loved her annual winter trips to the beach when the beaches were bare and she could run and dig in the sand, without the worry of being fined for disobeying the no dogs on the beach law.
Brooklyn had a great personality and never bit anyone! She was a true friend and confidant. She made our bed hers, and sometimes even made space for us. Her snoring eventually faded, or maybe we just got use to it.
When Lola and Diego came home from Guatemala, she loved them, after-all they were easy targets for stealing snacks. She lost her hearing, and we always joked that it was a defense mechanism against the screams of two crying toddlers.
It was hard watching her health slowly deteriorate over the last year, but I know that she/we were fortunate, that it wasn’t a long drawn out illness, or that she never needed medication.
So yesterday, I bundled her up, and sat her next to me in the car. This time there wasn’t the excitement of the car ride, she didn’t jump up on the window to anticipate our adventure. When I got there, they were expecting us and quickly ushered us into a room, she fell asleep in my arms, and for the first time in a long time I heard her snoring. She was in my arms, I asked that this is how she goes…asleep in my arms, and just never wake up.
She never did become Lassie by Friday.