IMG_2664 Ralph is my dog. He sports a scruffy beard, bad haircut, and a cowlick on his forehead. He won't fetch, has bad breath, growls at everything, and sucks on the fir of his toy mammoth like a puppy at his mother's teat.

Ralph is stubborn. He will find the smallest pillow in the house, drag it to the ground, and make it his bed. He refuses to acknowledge that some pillows are just too small for him. Instead, he will do absolutely anything to keep all of his parts on top of the pillow—even if it means hooking a back foot into his collar to keep it from slipping.

Ralph has deep, soulful eyes that he uses to get extra treats or make me feel like he knows when I'm sad. He gets excited when he sees me get ready for bed because he knows he will soon get to burrow under the covers and sleep behind my knees.

Ralph has a very short memory and must bark and growl at all of my friends, no matter how many times they come to visit. He forgets he just ate an entire bowl of food and begs for more if he thinks I am headed for the kitchen. Ralph snuggles by my side even if I've just yelled at him for being a d-bag.

Ralph is happy to see me when I get home, and sad when I leave. He licks the sheets at the bottom of the bed just in time for my bare feet to make contact with it at bed time. He groans with pleasure when I scratch under his collar, and growls with impatience when I try to trim the hair on his feet.

Ralph is not just a dog—he's a friend and I am his human.