The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

Remembering Nomdog.

This is the second day of work without Nomnom. I am writing this, before his short stay with us here slowly fades from memory. Because he was a good dog. He was our dog. He was a puppy that deserved more than what he got from the clinic we went to.

Even if he was my brother’s dog, I had taken to having him sleep in my room. He snored, and had a distinct scent, so he was a visible presence in my room. We even set up a bed for him, given to us by our aunt, whose dog didn’t want the bed they bought for him.

He snored in the corner, and when I would get up in the middle of the night because I had to pee, he would wake up too and check if I was okay before he went back to sleep.

Two nights before he died, I left him in the living room because our Ate Jean insisted that he was used to sleeping there. I got up at 1:30 am to pee and saw him outside my door. When I went back to my room, he was lying down on the side of the room that housed his bed. So I picked up his bed from the living room and set it down the usual space and we went back to sleep.

He made life interesting. He hadn’t gotten toilet training quite yet, and if you weren’t careful, you would go back to your room with a couple of surprises on the floor. It wasn’t his fault, we really didn’t train him enough on where the bathroom was. Since he had spent a lot of time without fur, we couldn’t bear leaving him a long time outside because he would be freezing after a few minutes, even with the sad little tank tops my mom made for him to keep warm.

Everybody had a different name for him. My brother named him Nomnom. My sister called him Nommy. I called him Nomdog. My dad simply called him “psst!”. Mom and ate Jean basically just picked him up and gave him rubs and hugs. He may not have been the dog to run when you called him, but he looked and knew that he was all those dogs.

He liked sleeping or lying down on people’s slippers or feet. The theory we had about this was that he liked the warmth. You’d realize that he was there because you’d smell him, or feel his warmth on your toes, or heel.

He liked soft things. We first noticed this when he was still staying at my brother’s room and go straight for the bean bag to nap, or when my sister left her door open, straight to her bed and inside the covers.

He wasn’t a barker. We rarely, if ever heard him bark. He did purr when he was happy, because he made the sound when being given rubs or when he was on somebody’s lap.

He liked to scratch walls or couches. We think it was him burrowing down to nap, because after the scratching and trying to burrow, we’d hear snoring after a few minutes.

He liked to play, but he had a limit. Our other dog, a lab mix named Oprah is quite energetic and three times his size, and after a few minutes of play with her, he would hide between somebody’s leg or inside my mom’s sewing machine, or on the base of the electric fan near the Christmas tree.

He didn’t like people food. He would sniff them, but would never steal or try to eat any of the stuff that was out there.

He wasn’t a needy dog. He would never come when called. He would wait for you to squat down to his level and that’s when he would approach, knowing he would be rewarded with a rub, or a few seconds of play.

The house feels so different without the little guy. The floors almost antiseptically clean. Our feet are quite safe from invasion. Even Oprah has a surplus of energy and seems like she’s looking for the playmate she had for a few months. It’s extra quiet without him snoring in the corner.

We miss him. Every second.

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