For nine months, I’ve been wanting to write something about my little buddy, but have struggled to find the appropriate words to do him a deserving justice.
Last week, while unpacking boxes, I stumbled upon a card I had received from my sister Natalie a few years back. The front featured a tiny puppy, wearing a helmet and flippers. It read: “Do not tell Nacho he can’t do it, because he can do anything he sets his mind to, and so can you.” The wheels began to turn.
Rewind, sixteen years.
It was Christmas of the year 2000 when mom and dad had finally conceded: under the condition that each of us would place a deposit toward the puppy, ensuring we were committed to caring for him. Natalie will tell you, it was “the best investment [she has] ever made.”
The day we first laid eyes on him, he resembled something of a guinea pig. He was black and brown with streaks of white, and a stump on his rear that did not quite pass for a tail. Through muffled squeaks and an inability to remain still, we gathered that this little creature was full of personality. He was ours, and we would call him Pelé.
My fondest memories involve him completing some sort of miraculous feat. The type you would not expect a guy of his size and stature capable of.
I have one particular favorite.
Pelé was quite the watchdog, or so pretended to be; not a single rabbit or cat managed to pass through his backyard without receiving a lecture. One summer afternoon, my father happened to be in the backyard to witness, what we later declared, this pup’s most astounding athletic achievement. A daring squirrel, who had been taunting Pelé for days, made the poor choice to saunter across the lawn. Though the squirrel clearly outweighed him, within seconds, our little corgi had leaped forward and captured the menacing creature between his chops. Although Pelé walked away from that match with a number of stitches and an assignment to wear the cone of shame for two weeks; you had better believe that squirrel knew better than to show his face again.
A true testament to the old saying, “what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; but rather the size of the fight in the dog” (Eisenhower).
Though he leaves behind a giant hole in my heart; he remains very much alive in my memory: the little corgi who could, and did, do anything he set his mind to.