Mood: hug me
The litter of puppies had been reduced to two; one of whom was predominantly some black on white, and the other predominantly some white on black. Frodo was undecided about his choices until he felt something perched on his foot. He knew that he had been selected, and that the selector was rather determined not to be left in that garage, all alone with his mother. Naming an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix would not be difficult since Frodo was unacquainted with anyone from that continent, except for the character Paul Hogan played in "Crocodile Dundee." A single syllable is most appropriate for a working dog, thus the predominantly black wonder dog became "Mick." He became the Wonder Dog when "Baby" came along.
Ten years later, Mick, the Wonder Dog, is all male canine. He is gentle and shy, except when another dog invades his space, then he becomes extremely possessive of anything and everything. He learned a great deal in the "dog school" conducted by his surrogate mother "Lovey," and he is extremely accomplished in service to the Hobbit as his teacher required of her successor. His best friend in the whole world is his adopted sister "Fiona," and they share everything from supper dishes to the rear seat in Frodo's motorcar. When the much smaller Fiona calls for his assistance, he drops everything to ensure her safety, that is, except for the Baby.
Baby was originally a furry, light-colored, squeaky toy. After several years of service as a substitute teat, the Baby became matted, dirty, and generally disgusting. None of those factors impacted on the affection shared when Mick, the Wonder Dog, required some quiet time. Eventually a tear developed, and much of the Baby's stuffing disappeared. Frodo conducted replacement surgery with a similarly constructed artificial, and the implant held perfectly. Now however, Baby is a floppy concoction that could have been used as some sort of alien life form in the early episodes of "Star Trek."
Frodo and Mick, the Wonder Dog, share many words in common. "Squirrel," "ball," "pee," "Vitaman" (a tasty treat mispronounced in honor of Lucille Ball), and as one might expect, "Baby." Mick, the Wonder Dog, frantically recalls where last he left his Baby whenever Frodo calls for a game of "Boob-Boom," so that he can mouth the Baby while his Hobbit scratches his back vigorously. The Baby shares moments of physical pleasure as well as the silent solace of dog and the now-silent squeaky toy.
Frodo watches his friend with both curiosity and amusement. Maybe Baby is a cigarette, or a glass of beer. Maybe Baby is the feeling of being up against his real mother when she cleaned him while he fed from her breast. Maybe Baby is just something that is his alone. Frodo imagines that many of the same thoughts have been in the air since that wonderful night, epochs ago when first the canine came close to the fire. It was a wonder then, and it is a wonder now.