I want to thank you for being here today, and express my sincere gratitude to those who have shared their sympathies and concern over the past few weeks. Finally I would like to thank His Holy Emminence The Bishop for presiding over the lovely service.
The loss of my good friend The Pug was heart-wrenching, and he may be gone, but he ain't forgotten. During his brief life, we had joy, fun, and - yes, damn it - seasons in the sun. All in spite of our lifelong shame of being the black sheep of the family (The sad truth that women are NEVER attracted to black sheep was an obstacle that The Pug - to his credit - brazenly refused to acknowledge).
Whew! Just where do I start? How can I compress volumes upon volumes of amazing journeys and lessons learned the hard way into just a few acedotes, so we can clear the room before they start setting up for the next event* (* testing for asbestos and Legionnaire's Disease, so I've been told)?
I suppose I could mention the time that a young Pug and I went on a day hike along the railroad tracks and discovered that dead body (which he peed on, to provide a brief comedic counterpoint and also a momentary respite from our pre-teen angst). Or the impromptu raft trip we took later on that summer, which resulted in the unfortunate lynching of the town's daycare provider.
And how could I omit the paradigm-shifting moment when I realized The Pug might be other-worldly, freeing a pregnant Amish girl from under an overturned carriage by jacking it up with his tail? Or the way he doused the encroaching flames with a forceful and precise blast of foam? (All present were certainly grateful that - despite the petition that had been circulating - he hadn't yet been fixed. Not only for the coconut-sized-testicle-fueled virility that the rescue required, but also because the unborn fetus was his, and not that sleazy lawyer Sonofabitch's.)
Surely his tendency to stop at (and urinate upon) every phone booth on our nightly sojourns should have served as an indication that he wasn't just your typical "mild-mannered" Pug who was fond of newspaper.
I would be equally remiss if I failed to speak of our early adulthood, and how we sowed our "wild oats" abroad. I reactively grin when recalling the annual "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, where The Pug would purposely trip the other participants, rendering them into bovine speedbumps, and facilitating our escape.
Or of his subsequent Absinthe binges and descents into depravity with the local senoritas (at least, I THINK they were senoritas ... since everyone had a mustache, one could only rely upon cunning instincts, marginal sobriety and the "braille method"). In the end, our entire time in Spain can be recounted as a game of avoiding horns of one type or another, and of being men among men.
Later on, we would forgo the comforting peaks and fragrant valleys of Spain for the lure of the sea. It was time to leave the country where everyone knew him as "Papa" (especially the children ... and for good reason). The Pug was an avid deap-sea fisherpug and flogger of dolphin. After being yanked overboard one time too many by rambunctious marlin, he learned the straps were there for a reason other than "date restraint". Better to live another day to chase the elusive tuna and the crabs that always seemed to linger in the withering shadows of the wavering palm.
Due to our "Death Pact", only now can I admit that it was The Pug who pulled me out of that Tijuana brothel one debauched July evening, only to return the favor the following night. And I regret it was once too often that we found ourselves fierce rivals for the affections of the same woman.
I could go on for days. So many stories, so little time, I'm afraid. But I'm well aware that we are all due at Denny's for a lavish "special" buffet in Pug's honor, where we will all be expected to absorb Pug's sins along with the calories and carbs (I learned of this ritual from an old "Night Gallery" episode!), so that he may join W.C. Fields in Heaven fully vindicated, without need for audit or oversight.
Go now, my children. May The Pug be with you. Follow his lead, and do life "doggie style".