Barbara Walters has her 10 Most Fascinating People. Time has their Person of the Year. But I have Bart — my own nominee for Man of the Year.
The dude is a Wire Fox Terrier with the ears of a rabbit. They stand at attention even when he sleeps. They’re not supposed to, his ears are supposed to fall into a neat three-corner fold. I suppose being on full alert 24/7 makes that impossible. They’re like a satellite dish seeking a signal.
This dog knows more people than I do and, having no setting other than maximum, he’s scared a fair number of them. People grow cautious when they see a dog, even a short one, hurtling toward them. Never mind the wagging tail and gleeful bounce, they think mad dog and rightfully become alarmed.
He’s eleven now, a step slower and losing some hearing, but still wide open. He likes to spend his day chewing his tail. A banana and a toy called Bad Cuz, which is essentially a rubber ball with feet, put him over the moon. I’ve never known a dog who was happier to be alive; he doesn’t know what a down side is. He doesn’t know what ‘sit’ or ‘no’ is, either, but that’s beside the point.
He’s pulled me down stairs, cost me a freaking fortune, frazzled my patience, and been my kind, devoted friend each step of the way. Good times and bad. Moving with me from city to city to city to city and finding it all a grand adventure. He doesn’t notice the gray hairs or the extra pounds, he doesn’t mind if I’ve worn the same sweatpants three days in a row. His joy at the sight of me is boundless.
I haven’t earned that kind of devotion or come to deserve such unflagging loyalty. No one could, but there they are. In exchange, he expects little more than a bowl of kibble and an occasional pat on the head. For that he’ll stay by my side forever. Unless I leave a door open, then all bets are off.
I hope that explains why he’s my Man of the Year. No, the Millennium.