This is not Rubin. I know it looks like him, but one thing you should always remember when dealing with Rubin is that Rubin is NOT A POODLE. That right there? Is a poodle. His name was Chico, and no, we didn’t choose that rather sissy-sounding poodle-name (apologies to anyone named Chico who may be reading this right now, by the way…) – Chico was a rescue dog, and so he already had his name by the time we met him. My uncle, who worked for the RSPCA at the time, found him chained to a radiator, which tells you all you need to know about humanity really, doesn’t it?
Anyway, my grandparents’ dog, Rusty (he of “pumping” fame) had died a year or so earlier, and although my grandparents had sworn never to get another dog after that (I guess one “pumper” is enough for anyone), as soon as they laid eyes on Chico, they were all, “Who, us? No, we never said we didn’t want another dog!” and before anyone knew what had happened, Chico was installed in their house, sleeping in their bed and eating carefully prepared meals that my grandad would cook from scratch each day, sometimes making a special trip to the butcher’s to secure the ingredients. It would be good if I could say I was joking about this, but nah: like Rubin, Chico was what you’d call “a character”. The early, radiator-dwelling part of his life had left him with some foibles that he never quite got over, including:
a) peeing at will, all over the house, not JUST on the washing machine and any white shirts that happen to be in the vicinity.
b) turning up his nose at all brands of pet food, and going on hunger strike until presented with a gourmet meal, cooked from scratch using only the very best ingredients.
Basically, he made Rubin seem like Mother Theresa, but he was just so gosh darned cute you forgave him for it. Well, sometimes you did. When my grandparents died, Chico came to live with us, but he was an old man himself by then, although you wouldn’t necessarily have known it, because he was a lunatic – and a lively one – right up until the end. When he died, I promised myself that one day I’d have a dog just like him: and one day, I did (Yes, I know Rubin is a Bichon, not a poodle, but play along here folks, OK?).
In other words: it was all Chico’s fault…