Penguin loved his dog biscuits, but his favorite food was omelets. He loved to open the presents and knew the words "omelet" and "present." So that he wouldn't get too excited when he heard his two favorite words, his family would spell them. "Would you like an o-m-e-l-e-t?" or "Did you wrap the p-r-e-s-e-n-t?" they would say. Always loyal and true, Penguin had been a Rosenfeld since he was six weeks old.
Penguin was six weeks old when we got him from the breeder on January 8, 1984. I remember because it was Elvis’ birthday.....a freezing cold Sunday, and I had crocheted him an orange sweater for the trip home. For the first two or three nights, we had Penguin sleep in his room, which was the laundry room, and we put towels and a ticking clock to keep him company. He cried, of course, so I would sneak out of bed, take him out of his room, and sleep with him on the couch. He would lie on my chest lulled to sleep by my heartbeat, and I think because he was so young that he always thought I was his real doggy mother. The first time my husband took an out-of-town business trip I brought Penguin into bed with me. After that, he ended up sleeping in our bed for the rest of his life. He always slept under the covers behind my knees --- the spot that Pogo has now claimed since Penguin is gone.
The weather was so cold --- it was that awful winter when Chicago had 70 and 80 degrees below zero wind chills for most of January --- that Penguin just hated to go outside for his walks. We would ask him, “Pengy, are you ready to go for a drag?” because he would plant his feet and refuse to go out the door. But, of course, eventually the weather warmed up and he liked going outside, if only to bark at everyone he saw. He was always so protective of the family.
When Penguin turned ten years old, I decided that I needed another Boston Terrier, and we got Pepsi. Penguin was so terribly upset that it took more than a month before he would even tolerate the new dog. One Sunday we were watching a movie on the VCR, Penguin in my lap, and Pepsi slyly sidled up to me and hopped up on the other side. By the time the movie ended, Penguin and Pepsi each had his head on my lap, noses touching, and after that they became great pals. However, the age difference was apparent, since Pepsi would want to play and play long after Penguin was tired of the game and fed up with Pepsi.
When Pluto and, later on, Pogo (the twins) came along, Pepsi was delighted to have more company; and Penguin, I suppose, just decided he had no choice and accepted both of them immediately. We got Pluto in the summer of 1995 and Pogo in the fall of 1996, and we knew at that time that Penguin wouldn’t be with us much longer. He had always had health problems --- a heart murmur when he was a pup, a hernia operation when he was eight, thirteen teeth pulled when he was eleven, and the loss of his hair of which numerous doctors and tests could not find the cause --- and he was rapidly failing.
When Penguin died at age thirteen on April 3, 1997, he was deaf, blind, incontinent, had thyroid problems, and was almost completely bald. He had a stroke, and we didn’t want him to suffer so he was put to sleep. I told him I would love him forever and never forget him as I held his head and kissed his face when the doctor gave him the injection. That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
We had him cremated and his ashes permanently sealed in an engraved copper-coated zinc urn which now rests in the middle of the antique marble-top credenza that belonged to my husband’s parents. The urn is surrounded by a pair of brass candlesticks with gold candles, photographs of Penguin, his collar, and his rabies tag --- a little shrine, I guess you could say.
My husband had Penguin’s nametag engraved on the back with his date of birth and date of death. I wear it on a silver chain around my neck, so my beloved Boston Terrier Penguin is still only a heartbeat away.
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Last updated March 13, 1998.