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The day Gill arrived here for her holidays, I had planned a big family dinner to welcome her. Given that Crazy D and L’il Sis are constantly busy with work and they both live in other cities now, it might be the only time we could all clear our schedules. (This fact sent Gill into a funk, reasoning that “I paid a lot of money to fly home to see you people and this is the best you can do? One lousy dinner?” Did she know something about the quality of the food I was serving? No matter. I won’t be snippy about it.) At any rate, we all gathered (including partners) around the table for an evening of hilarity. By the end of the evening, however, it was clear that the star of the show was Groucho (L’il Sis’s new dog), not Gill, and the dinner had turned into a Dog Love-In the likes of which I have rarely seen.

When The Pig (L’il Sis’s beagle) was alive, we had some seriously amazing adoration sessions. But, I have to say, Groucho has taken over where The Pig left off and then some. First of all, it took him two short trips to Grandma’s house (mine) for him to learn the delights of leftovers and snacks from the cupboard. And true to form, as soon as he was adopted into the family, I began my collection of ‘salmon disgustings’ and chicken bits for this Dominican refugee. Let me say, an early life of deprivation on the ugly streets of The Dominican certainly amped up his appreciation and gratitude levels.

For those of you who may not have read the blog explaining L’il Sis’s version of his back story, I’ll recap:  In the Dominican he was known as Officer Scraps. He ad his partner, patrolman Stubbs, were working undercover to catch members of a drug cartel. Caught in a gun battle one day, Stubbs was killed and Officer Scraps injured. He survived but was still in danger from the cartel. So he was taken into the Witness Protection Plan and removed to Canada where he changed his name and identity. You have to admit, it’s a more compelling tale than ‘he was a mangy street dog from The Dominican brought to Canada through a dog rescue group’ That simply makes him sound like a street loser. The cartel story gives him an air of mystery, a certain panache that allows him to hold his broken ear high.

This bent and busted dog with the broken ear, bent front leg, limp and scar on his hind leg (after recently being hit by a car) was smiling from ear to ear, clearly acknowledging that he had won ‘The Golden Ticket’ out of the slums and into the glories of suburban North American life. In the lottery of life, he was coming up aces.

He begged quietly and respectfully from beneath the table, shifting ever closer to what he considered the ‘softest touch’ (me). The broken ear alone fills me with such pity and squishy feelings that I came close to just handing him my entire plate and being done with it.

After dinner, he retired to the living room and took up position on the white sofa near the window. Allow me to explain: this has been the preferred spot, the throne, the sentinel, from which many dogs have viewed the neighborhood and received their adoring servants (us). It seems to have a draw that every dog is lured to. The pillows are still arranged in The Pig’s favorite melange, designed to prop her head up so she could watch (track) her family’s moves. They are also arranged to put the occupying pooch’s best side to advantage. With the snout resting delicately on the top silk pillow, any dog looks good. Groucho claimed his spot, alluringly turned his face to us, and worked his magic for all to see. Then he turned on his back to present his tummy for rubs. Tail wagging beneath him, butt moving suggestively from side to side, he positively glowed in the attention of his smitten family who were exclaiming: “Oh, look how cute! Have you ever seen anything as sweet as this dog?” The look on Groucho’s face said it all…his dreams had come true.The grin on his face says he’s found the sweetest deal around and he’s milking it for all it’s worth. If I were Gill, I might have felt a bit hard done by — she was supposed to be the ‘honoree’; Groucho got the love-in!

Excuse me while I check the freezer for some drug and hormone free, organic beef hamburgers, ‘salmon disgustings’ and cooked liver bits. Oh, and he probably also needs some filtered water in his bowl. As much as I love Gill, she still has opposable thumbs and can get her own salmon disgustings…