I haven't been shy about this fact and, although I know I have many friends who have gorgeous and awesome dogs (shout out in particular to little alien Eva, Alfie pug, Willow and Harveyboy), I'm afraid Sushi is officially the Best Dog In The World.
I first saw her online in this picture.
Something about her eyes. Something about her ears. Something about the fact that, shortly afterwards, this happened and she lost her leg. Just something about this small, obscure, middle aged pooch half way across Europe jumped into my heart cavity and wouldn't leave.
So, twelve months ago today my friend and I drove across to a random service station in the arse end of nowhere to meet an unmarked white van. Here we picked up a small bundle of fur, grime, excrement and confusion.
She promptly sprayed nervous diarrhea across her blanket and then gave up the ghost entirely and decided to go to sleep.
She had spent two long days in a van full of dogs travelling out of Romania, across Europe and finally into the UK.
And then she had to suffer the indignity of going on another ferry to the Isle of Wight.
By this time I knew that my life had changed irrevocably. This little peach was now mine to love, honour and obey. Oh wait, no. That's not right. But you know what I mean.
After she'd had the filth rinsed off her in her first bath (and oh she was so good, so eager to please, so patient through all the confusion) we set to work falling deeply in love with each other.
It took about 24 hours.
Confusion reigned for a while as she tried to understand what the hell was going on now. She was afraid of a lot of things and shares my deep ambivalence towards motorcyclists and children. It was a perfect match.
I spent ridiculous amounts of cash on a harness that would keep her safe (best buy EVER), I took her to the beach, which I was confident she would love. It took her approximately 60 seconds to detest everything about it, including sand, pebbles and sea.
She started to trust me.
She even lay on the beach for a while, just because she knew I wanted her to.
She learned what it's like to always, always have soft things to sleep on...
And piles of cushions to rest on...
She decided she loved rocks and skipped around like a mountain goat.
She learned to sleep with both eyes closed, completely content, relaxed and comfortable. These are the moments where I could cry with my love for her.
We kept trying the beach...
We found she's happiest in fields and forests. She hunts like a champ (I don't let her get anything, obviously) and when she gets the scent of freedom her face lights up.
She obviously misses the freedom she had - on good days it must have been wonderful to run with a pack of dogs and never have to do anything a human being said. But on the whole, I think she's happiest at home on the sofa with her grandma and me.
She loves being cuddled, she sleeps on grandma's bed every night, wedged up under the covers should she so choose.
She even let me do this to her:
But she just cannot handle the concept of selfies...
This was her an hour ago, patiently waiting to see whether I would suddenly become the kind of person who would give her some of the leftover Chinese food I was eating (no).
She is in the best of health, her fur has all grown back, she's silky soft to the touch, bright eyed, bushy tailed and so so so good.
I am so thankful I met you Sushi and that I have the honour of looking after you for the rest of your days. You are a special dog and I adore you with every fibre of my being.
Happy rebirthday you beautiful soul.