On December 21st, 2006, my friends Sara and Mark drove me about an hour and a half from Lucca to a kennel. That night we came home with Mart.
Name it and claim it # 150: I want a dog.
Name it and claim it # 151: I want a Chihuahua.
Martin was in a cage with his little sister who was half his size, shimmery black and looked like a bat. I held her, trembling, in my hands and put her next to my chest.
I had been told that girls were nice, so I thought, ok, this is the girl...
Mark, meanwhile, was playing with a champagne coloured doe-deer-dog, and leaning over, whispered, "Steph, I don't know why you're playing with that dog. THIS is your dog."
He set the bambi boy down, took the girl out of my arms and pointed, "This is your DOG, Steph. That's him. Screw the girl-thing."
The dog was standing on his back feet, dancing, his huge ears drooped down over his big, olive black eyes. He was smiling.
I paid for him and we left his little, tiny sister in the cage.
Mart came home and Mary welcomed him.
People said she was jealous. But they weren't paying attention. She was fine. He was jealous of her.
At the end of her life, she was playing ball with him, and the day I put her to sleep, he gave her a kiss goodbye.
Martin changed my life. He is smart and funny and handsome and likes to cuddle and travel and walk. He tolerates my working and studying at the desk, sitting on my lap, patiently.
He sleeps under the covers in summer and winter, practically nude, he suffers from cold.
I love him.
i LOVE him.
I live in a country where he can go everywhere: the butcher, Christmas mass, tea in the bar, dinner at the trattoria. He comes to business meetings with me. When he isn't with me, people ask where he is and I usually say, "Home, playing computer games."
The summer we spent in New York, Mary was here in Lucca, sitting on the piano, watching Sara composing songs in her aerie.
Mart and I walked the streets of Manhattan and we were happy.
I snuck him into Dean and Deluca and the Angelica cinema.
The only place he couldn't go with me was the MOMA because they would have discovered him when they put my bag through the metal detector...But Gessica ( or was it Dorene?) , convinced the man at the New York Public Library to let us in and the guard said as long as the dog stayed inside the bag, it would be ok.
All the subway staff let him come on the trains and he rode in a bag on the buses, too.
He was at Takashimaya with me and Tiffany's. He remembered where Lynn and Marty lived and would lead me there most days, preferring Spring Street to Prince.
I want to thank Luana for babysitting Mart when he was a baby when I was still working a lot; all the people who have welcomed us into their homes in the USA; Ella for babysitting; Einat for letting me put her phone number on his tag; Dorene and Gess for being his aunties; Kenzie for having an open mind; Isabella for giving him his name; and finally, Mark and Sara for taking me to pick him up. Mark was right. He is my dog.