Today I write with a heavy heart. My longtime pet dog and faithful friend “Puki” was killed in an accident.

She was my sweet and loyal companion for 14 years and for a pug, that’s a long, full life. But Puki was a survivor --- over the years she endured the mange, an eye pulled out of a socket, copperhead bite, heat stroke and getting lost (and found) miles from home... three times.

Like humans, she had her quirks and idiosyncrasies; she coughed, scratched, yawned, gagged, snorted, snored, tooted, sneezed and did not close her mouth when she ate.

Much to my wife Carolyn’s chagrin, Puki once devoured a large gift-wrapped chocolate bar she’d found on the sun room floor that was meant for a friend. Carolyn was definitely not a happy camper. 

However, Puki did not feel guilty one iota. She was a little hyper for a day or two, Puki and Carolyn both, just saying. 

As dog lovers will attest, many times we wish people would be more like our canine friends; innocent, gentle, transparent, loving, quick to forgive and without pretense. 

In all her years Puki never bit or snapped at anyone (even a child who might have innocently pulled her tail). She patiently sat at my feet some 12 years ago and listened to my first meager attempts at learning how to “sing” and play a song on guitar. 

Being off-key and out of tune mattered not to her. She acknowledged my efforts with devoted attention and doggie kisses. What a friend!

Occasionally I’d give her a chewy treat after dinner and jokingly speak to her with:  “Now close your mouth when you eat. No smacking!” She’d just unabashedly smack away anyway.

I think Puki and I both enjoyed those light-hearted irritants to lift the mood of the moment. She brought laughs, smiles and a sense of optimism to all who knew her. I think of my dad who passed away almost 11 years ago and how Puki was such sweet therapy to him the last few years of his life. She was a link to my past and that’s why it hurts so deeply to have her taken so quickly and unexpectedly. 

To know her was to love her.  

I’d like to thank doctors Gary and Paul Crabtree (and wonderful staff at Squaw Valley Veterinary) for their personal tender care of Puki over the years. And to Puki’s pals --- Susan and Ken, Chandler, Elena and the girls, Bennie, Weldon, and Michael and the many others --- thank you, too, for enjoying our fun little dog with us, and sharing in our grief. You understand and that helps.   

Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at chn345@usa.com.