My Funny Friend and Me

August 18, 2020

One year ago today I said goodbye to my best friend. He was my dog. He was mine, and he had been mine since he was just 7 weeks old. He was 16 when he died and he had lived a good, long life. He was an angel from heaven and he taught me how to love. He comforted me when I was sick or sad. Once when I had a terrible fever and was convulsing in chills, he stretched his whole body out on top of me to regulate my body temperature and stop me from shaking. When I would cry he would gently approach me and look into my eyes and lick my tears off my cheeks. When I was stressed about my son in the worst days of his disorders,  I would collapse into bed at the end of a day and just stare at the ceiling in shock from what I had witnessed and all I was feeling. And my dog would lie at the end of my bed, press his paws down on my left foot and he would lick that foot so soothingly that I would begin to calm down and could eventually sleep. Last year, after he died, I had his name tattooed on that spot.

His name was Baby Fish Mouth. He was legendary. He was one of a kind. He was my best friend and my constant companion. I miss him every single day.

After experiencing 9/11 in NYC, a lot of my friends wanted to get married or move out of the city or have a baby…I wanted a dog. I was fairly broken at that time in my life and had become a hardened woman. I lived a rich life, full of friends and adventures, but I was distant and couldn’t seem to feel things very deeply. Baby Fish Mouth changed that. He softened my heart. I had always been one of those people who liked a lot of personal space. But he was one of those dogs that did not. He would spoon with me at night, sit on my lap when I was sitting down, and was at my feet when I was standing up. He would follow me from room to room, and if I got engrossed in something that didn’t involve him, he would sit by me and grumble until I bent down and gave him a hug. Because of him, my heart opened up.  I began to cry at movies. I began to love snuggling with him. At night I would sing him songs as I rubbed his belly, and he would fall asleep. I would hold him like a baby and walk around my room singing. When we would go visit my parents and he would spend the day running around like a maniac, he would collapse on my lap at night, his arms and legs hanging off my body, in a dead sleep. 

He softened my heart. And after a few years with him, I wanted to open my heart more. I adopted my son and our family grew to 3. Rahul called Baby Fish Mouth his “dog-brother”. The first time Rahul walked in my house, he marched up to Baby and patted him on the head. They were friends ever after. The first time I ever heard Rahul say the words “I love you” it was whispered in Baby’s ear. Rahul (now 19) recently told me that the closest friend he ever had was Baby Fish Mouth. 

Of course, I knew Baby Fish Mouth wouldn’t live forever.  I used to whisper in his ear that I needed him to stay with me as long a he could. And that I really wanted him to try to live until Rahul went to college. He died one week before Rahul’s first day of freshman year at City College. He heard me. He listened to me. He taught me. When I had no one, I had him. When I was in pain he soothed me. 

I used to pray for him before I met him. I asked God to create a dog just for me. And when I went to meet this crazy litter of puppies — half pug, half terrier — I prayed that God would show me which one was mine. As I sat on the porch of the shelter in Connecticut where they were living, I reached out and petted each one. They were all tan, with short hair and sweet faces. Then this weirdo oddball came sauntering by, brindle, with long wiry hair. He was so tired that he was stumbling, so I picked him up and put him on my lap. He immediately fell asleep, with his nose tucked comfortably inside my elbow. The woman who ran the shelter looked down at him and said, “I think someone picked you!” That was the moment he became mine.

On the day he died — one year ago today — I wrapped my arms around him as he lay in the cart my friend José had bought for him, cushioned on Rahul’s childhood comforter, and I sang to him and thanked him for all he had given me. As the doctor inserted the needle in his arm that would stop his little heart, I whispered into his ear how much I loved him and my tears wet his head. I wanted him to leave this world knowing he had done what he came here to do. I wanted him to know he was not alone. And that he had changed my life completely.

Many years ago,my friend Winston and I did a small show here in NYC, where we covered the music of Sting. Each night, I ended the show with this song, dedicated to Baby Fish Mouth. My funny friend. My best friend.

My Funny Friend and Me, written by Sting. Performed by Renée Smith (vocals) and Winston Philip (keys).

6 Responses to “My Funny Friend and Me”

  1. Mr. P said

    What a touching post my love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️😄🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🙂👍👍👍👍👍


  2. Elizabeth Lorris Ritter said

    xoxoxo So beautiful

    On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 10:54 PM Me and George Bailey wrote:

    > > > > > > > Renee Smith posted: ” > > One year ago today I said goodbye to my best friend. He was my dog. He was > mine, and he had been mine since he was just 7 weeks old. He was 16 when he > died and he had lived a good, long life. He was an angel from heaven and he > taught me how to love. He ” > > > >


  3. Juliet said

    K. Made me cry. I needed to cry. Thank you Baby Fish Mouth.


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