Yesterday I lost one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had in life, my sweet little pug, Pooj. Since that first moment his fat little puppy face looked into mine, we were bonded in life. Not a day passed that we weren’t together, he was more a child to me than a pet, and he always found a way to make me laugh. As a young dog, we went everywhere together, his difficulty breathing and his tendency to overheat in hot Texas summers didn’t stop him from wanting to be wherever I was, inside or outside. He loved to have his belly rubbed, he liked baths, and adored being brushed. And he was smart, too, only had to tell him once and he got it. Never chewed my shoes, never sorted through the garbage, never gnawed on furniture, or barked non-stop when I was away. As he grew older, he had a stately way of carrying himself with his barrel chest and curled tail covered in gray. He got slower and breathing became more difficult for him, so our walks became shorter and shorter, but he never lost his enthusiasm and always gave everything in his path a right good sniff.

The last few months were not his most active, he struggled at times to catch his breath after our walks, and his stamina wasn’t the best, but his little curled tail would always wag, and that twinkle in his eyes never went away.

Last night, he seemed disoriented and couldn’t seem to keep his balance, so I put him on the bed so he could settle a bit, and he took a large breathe and passed away. I’m not ashamed to admit I wailed when he took his last breath in my arms, this little blessing who has been beside me through numerous life struggles and hardships, always happy to see me, always ready with a sloppy kiss. He has always been the one, pure love that never needed words, that was always there for me.

I buried him under a big tree by a stream, a beautiful place for my little monster who snored louder than I did, who drizzled water all through the house, always wanted to get me up an hour before the alarm, who had an unlimited supply of sloppy wet kisses, who never cared if I needed a haircut or new shoes or a shower, who was just happy to be a part of my life. I can’t put into words the feeling of loss I have right now.

Many of you may know that Pooj was the inspiration for Zombie Boy’s pet Gorr, and I can say in many ways he IS Pooj. At the moment, I’m having a hard time dealing with the loss, but I know in my heart that Poojie will always live with me and continue to inspire me through the strip.