Leonardo d'Angelico Vespoochie, a.k.a. Lenny da Wag, is a 15-pound, short-haired, caramel-colored Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix. He has the Chihuahua eyes and ears, but after that things rapidly become very Jack Russell.
We rescued Lenny from the local pound. He was identical in appearance to a pup named Lenny that Mrs. Railroad had seen offered on the web (but he was unavailable by the time she got to it). So Lenny of the pound was immediately Lenny to her, regardless of his previous name.
At the pound, the keeper took me, Mrs. Railroad, and Lenny into a small room to see how we would interact. Lenny immediately stood on his hind legs and walked over to my wife, making eye contact and gazing soulfully into her eyes. Then he came over to me, sat on my foot, and sat erect (on just his behind) facing the others with both fore-paws crossed at his chest. With a very little petting, he was licking our hands. Needless to say, it was a matter of two questions: Where do I sign, and how soon can we have him?
Lenny is the silent caregiver of the two of us, but he works as hard, if not harder, caring for Mrs. Railroad as I do. He comes to get me when she needs me, he stays by her side from the time she gets up in the morning to the time she goes to bed at night, with the exception of trips outside to take care of potty needs. He does that 3 times a day, once in the morning, once at about 5 p.m., and once again around 8 or 9 p.m. He has had about 3 accidents (other than the occasional wee-wee of joy when one of the kids comes to visit) in 3 years.
Lenny sleeps with me at night. I am his recreation. Before time to sleep, I give him a chew bone and play with him a little. Sometimes he wants my attention, and he doesn't want anything other than to have me look at him and maybe talk to him for awhile. Once he's had his time to decompress, he scratches up an opening in the covers (or gets me to pull them up), and he crawls under them and goes to sleep. Then for him, it's time to get up when I do in the morning, sometimes at 5, when he waits and listens for Mrs. Railroad to awake in the next room. When she's up, he trots the length of the house to my desk to let me know she's up.
So it's very fair to say that Lenny is a most unusual pup with an unusually high intellect. He's treated like a person sometimes, but that's because he conducts himself like a person. He considers taking care of Mrs. Railroad (whom he knows as "Mommy") to be his job, his purpose in the house. He takes the job very seriously.
And although he can't take care of me, he holds me in high regard and doesn't like it when I leave. He also doesn't like it when I'm unhappy, and tries his best, including a full repertoire of clown tricks, to cheer me up (he does the same thing for Mrs. Railroad). Lenny is very much the alter ego I write him to be, and the interactions we have are quite like what I've written. I hope he lives many times as long as dogs normally live, or that I die when he does. It would be too hard to take the loss.