It was a Friday, well after lunchtime, after a week of trying to patch servers, some of them fast, some of them unbelievably slow.  In fact, this one box was so slow – I swear, if the electrons had been lemmings, they’d have been asking for directions at the top of the dang cliff.  Sigh…

(Side note: If you don’t get that reference, it comes from the notion that lemmings do these mass suicide things by jumping off cliffs, having to ask for directions to do something that should come as naturally as falling off a log – or in this case, cliff.   If you’re curious, you can find out where this started by looking here, and here.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled story, already in progress.)

Among other things, it was a week of hurry up and wait, with the adrenaline and pressure of the tasks at hand helping to keep me awake, but the constant waiting was making it more than just a little challenge to add the word “alert” to that.

And that Friday morning, one that seemed to be a couple of days long all by itself, I just had to get away from those lemmings – or electrons – whatever they were.  I was going to get some coffee, but realized that no amount of caffeine, even in Seattle, was going to help, and going down to the lunchroom to nuke my “gourmet” can of soup just wasn’t going to cut it.

Besides, nuking meant I’d be dealing with those fool electron/lemming things again.

And who knew, if the microwave saw me coming, at the going rate, it’d probably take 2 hours to nuke a can of soup.

I had to get away from the electrons, really.

I needed to get outside…

I needed to breathe real air that hadn’t been breathed (brothe?) all up already.

And so I went.

Down the elevator to the lobby.

Down the stairs to the door.

Through the alley to the little grassy shortcut to the sandwich shop I’d been to once before.

Also in the shortcut was a young lady walking her dog – a little black blob with legs – at the end of her leash, doing what little dogs do in the rare grassy areas in the city – and I have to say, this was one of the friendliest dogs I’d seen in years.  Without knowing me, he came over, said hi, asked me how my day was going… How’s the wife and kids? Job treating you okay? How ‘bout those M’s? – I mean the whole nine yards.  He was the warmest, cuddliest, most lovable little ball of fuzz I’d ever seen, and he simply did the thing that pets are so good at.

He just loved me to pieces.

He was also the ugliest little dog I’d ever seen in my life.

My Grampa used to try to convince me that dogs like that had squished noses because they had run into walls when they were puppies before their noses had hardened.

And if that were true, this dog had definitely hit the wall.

The other thing about this dog was that his eyes were all catty-wompus (doggy-wompus?) to the point where if he’d been standing in Kansas and facing north, his left eye would be looking toward Seattle, his right one toward Boston.  (wait… that explains the running into walls thing – he couldn’t see a dang thing straight out front…)

But he just loved the stuffing out of me, to the point where I could just feel the fuzz therapy gently allowing the weariness drift away as he climbed all over me.

The fuzzball’s owner patiently explained that he loved everyone, and this was how he said hi… No territoriality with him, no ego, no, “I’m better than you.”

Just pure, unadulterated love.

I’d been calling him ‘puppy’ during the whole encounter, and was taken aback at her answer when I’d asked his name.




I couldn’t figure out why someone would name this little fuzzbucket Rasputin.

For those of you who don’t know – Rasputin was a fellow in Russia many years ago who, it seemed, had gotten some very powerful people very upset, to the point where they saw him as a problem that needed to be solved once, in a particularly final way.

He apparently didn’t get that memo, and – well – refused to go along with it.

What’s rather intriguing about this whole thing is that most often when someone “writes a memo” of that nature and directs it at you, it’s generally not something you can refuse to go along with – but it turns out, he did…

They tried to poison him with enough poison for 5 men.

It didn’t faze him – to the point where while they were waiting for him to die, he was sitting there, kind of bored, playing a guitar. And they were worried.  I mean – enough poison for 5 people and he wasn’t showing ANY effects?

This was a little spooky.

So they shot at him, they – wait, they didn’t shoot *at* him, they *shot* him, He fell down, and they figured their problems were solved and it was time to celebrate, so they got drunk… Sometime later, out of morbid curiosity, I suppose, one of them went back to check on him… To – get this – see if he was still dead, – and – well, to use one of Billy Crystal’s lines in “The Princess Bride” he was “mostly” dead.

…but not quite dead enough to keep from getting up and trying to choke the guy who was checking on him.

Okay, we’re past ‘a little spooky’ now…

In fact, I don’t know about you, but that would just freak me right out…

Do not pass go…

Do not collect $200.00…

Go directly to freaked…

So given that they were now running on pure adrenaline and blind freakiness, they shot and – well, just know they did all sorts of bad things to him and he kept getting up and refusing to die.  They finally tied him up, wrapped him in a blanket, and threw him in the Malaya Nevka River in hopes that he would just simply drown, because it was obvious that bullets, poison and the other more complicated things just weren’t going to do the job.

Just a note about this concept of drowning.

This was in St. Petersburg.

In Russia.

In December.

The river was frozen.

It seemed like they’d have to wait till the spring thaw to drown him, but apparently they were lucky and found a hole in the ice and dumped him in, wrapped in that blanket, and they finally, it seemed, “solved” the problem they had with him.

So… by now I’m sure you’re wondering, “What on earth does this dead guy from Russia have to do with the little fuzzbucket who was loving me to pieces?”

Well, not much, other than having the name in common, he also has an irrepressible urge to live.

And as I got up – and the little black fuzzball on the end of a leash went his way and I went mine, I found myself hoping that the ugly little dog that I met on the way to lunch that day would far outlive his namesake, and would be able to spread his brand of love for the rest of his life.