As I write this, my best friend is rolling around the floor and sternly lecturing a wayward blueberry on the meaning of life and the evils of mailmen and those who love evil kitties. No, it’s not any of my peers from D.C., Washington State, Kentucky, California or elsewhere. Instead, it is my dog. The one who goes by Captain Fluffy Butt, the Plucky Kentucky Floof who is Lucky.

Of course, I speak of Raj. My mixed breed who I adopted around this time a couple of years ago.

Since then, we’ve had a number of incredible and one of a kind experiences. He was with me during my darkest moments in the southern United States, flew across the continent with me to Canada, traveled down the interstate to D.C. (Where he would join me on many a disastrous date) and now shares my studio apartment in the serene and isolated Northwoods region.

Throughout it all, I’ve wondered something, should I call him my friend?

After all, the definition of the word describes a friend as a “person”, and last time I checked, Raj did not have opposable thumbs. So, let’s see if he meets other qualities of this entity in one’s life.

Traditionally, your friends are people who are there for you in tough times.  

As I wrote prior, when I was feeling dreary and fiddling with some seriously dark decisions in the aftermath of some life setbacks, along came Raj with one of my socks in his mouth. His body in a play stance, but wiggling back and forth, I couldn’t help but smile. At that time, I was pulled from my doldrum and spent and evening attempting to recover my Hanes from my canine. Later, he would come to me in moments of my anger or frustration with an arsenal of kisses. So, in this regard, he meets the qualifications. Though I wouldn’t want my male friends to steal my clothes.

In addition, a friend is someone you can talk to.

Though no pet owner would admit it and the “Son of Sam” demonized it, we’ve all had and have conversations with things which can’t talk back to us. With Raj, I feel like he knows what I try to say. With a subtle glance or a few noises, he can convince me to do one thing or another when in doubt. Once, a quiet “wooo rooo woo” led to me going on a date with a wonderful woman. Some call their parents, I go to someone incapable of speech when in doubt about a concerning issue.

At the end of the day (If you’re single), they’re the one you love to see.

When I’ve had a long day, written to the point of exhaustion or just concluded a long session of exercise, there’s nothing better than coming home and seeing my dog get excited at my presence. Tail drumming on the wall, body on the point of convulsing with excitement, it’s a reinvigorating experience which can awaken passion in even the most sedated individual.

So once more Raj, thank you for being there for me. Though the definition would disagree, you are my friend, perhaps my best. To paraphrase a wonderful tune, when I’m not strong, you help me carry on. And to quote another, you’re my number one, you’re the reason I still get up at dawn. I don’t know if I’ll write about you yearly, but when I do, it’ll be to honor your presence.

I love you, young friend.

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