Precisely six years ago today, the world’s tiniest pig-monster arrived, complete with black and tan markings, and a seemingly never-ending hunger.
Little did we know at the time, but the breeder had the situation summed up from Day One, when she told us over the phone: “Audra’s a good eater.”
Oh yeah. “Rudy” was originally “Audra,” at least in Oklahoma.
But by the time she deplaned in D.C., Erin (and I) has settled on the name Rudy, based in equal parts on my love for Notre Dame, and Erin’s love for The Cosby Show.
Initially, Rudy lived in Washington with Erin and her roommate Courtney, before the 3 ladies learned of a “no dogs allowed” policy at their Dupont Circle apartment. After a few weeks of attempting to hide her from management, it became clear it was time for Rudy to head South.
So it was down to Charlottesville, Va., for a new-age edition of “My Two Dads,” as Rudy joined the Rio Hill bachelor pad inhabited by myself and George Lettis. I’ll never forget the look on Jorge LeChuga’s face the day I came home from work at WVIR, and told him, “Hey man, is it cool if my girlfriend’s Chihuahua comes to live with us? And also, can you feed and walk her while I’m at work?”
Years later, Rudy moved again, this time to the Sunshine State, where she fully embraced her Mexican roots.
Lying belly-up, with eyes closed and limbs outstretched, Baby Rudy logged many a lazy afternoon amidst the Florida crabgrass, venturing back inside only upon being promised treats.
And now in New York, her 5th State, she again has shown her ability to adapt, and persevere. Clearly, the Manhattan streets can not compare to the lawns of Fort Myers, and never has she understood the need for a “coat,” or “Froggy Pajamas.”
But Rudy’s “press-on power” has always been her trademark, her single-minded intensity on the task at hand (usually eating) her signature. Rudy is a mini monster, a pint-sized prize-fighter.
She conquered a near-deadly case of Demodectic Mange, which cost her half her hair, but none of her spirit. And she’s rallied through multiple hospital visits, for scares ranging from pneumonia to choking.
She’s stood and stared down the scale, watching her weight yo-yo, as her meals have been cut from 4-a-day to (gasp!) a mere two. And she’s battled the baby brother she never wanted, only to remain a stand-up sister.
She endured an uncomfortable knee surgery, leaving her immobilized in a cast as big as her. Expected to be sidelined for weeks, Rudy was dragging herself around within days, scoffing at the notion of the disabled list, and laughing in the face of R&R.
And through it all, Rudy’s rallied. With an unquenchable thirst for life, and an insatiable appetite for “chewy bones,” Rudy’s first 6 years have been a blessed blur.
If we’ve brought her half as much happiness and joy as she’s brought us, she’s a lucky puppy.
Happy Birthday, Rudy.