Hi, I’m Claude. I’m a raisin, a sweet little pug, wrinkled and adorable. I have so much love in my heart it shines through my eyes. It’s in my tongue when I give your hand a friendly lick. It’s in the way I wriggle my tail. It’s in my three legs when I leap to meet you.
Oh . . .
Did I put you off? Was it the three legs? Don’t worry. It does that to lots of people. Don’t feel bad. I don’t.
I am so happy now, and safe. I have an angel to protect me – and let me tell you this little secret: he had one to protect him, too.
You’ve heard of Clarence, haven’t you? If you haven’t let me tell you, Henry Travers did him a great justice. Well, I’m Claude. And Clarence? What a guy. He and I go way back. He’s sort of the reason I’m here.
I was born in a litter of five pups and, despite what you may think, I was not the runt. Oh no. I was Mammy’s pride and joy. I was alpha, her first-born, her biggest and best boy.
I had the love and companionship of my brothers and sisters – 2 other boys and 2 girls. I had my mother and I had our humans. It was a good world.
It didn’t last. One of our humans – Victoria – got sick. She suffered. All of us were sold to a pet shop – all of us but my mother. Saying goodbye was hard. I still remember, and it still makes me sad.
But, I was the eldest and to make Mama proud, I rallied the troops. I kept them happy and content – the most we had to do was cavort for the shop’s visitors. That was one of the things that all of us together could do very well.
But then, the Pet Shop owner – a little man with a squeaky voice and very little hair on his head (I had the strangest compulsion to chase him around the shop) – got it into his head that we weren’t doing our jobs! Our jobs! Imagine that. Well, that’s when the real trouble started. He threatened us. He threatened my brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t let that go.
To be continued . . .