October 18, 2012

by Ron Johnson

Maya and I went to a puppy place in North Palm Beach more than eleven years ago looking for a dog. We went around the room and looked at the adorable puppies but one stood out.

The beautiful little golden haired puppy was in a cage with five other pups and when it came time to eat he sat back and watched the others all at one time frantically trying to get food in their mouths from one big bowl. They pushed and shoved and gulped.

After the five pups were done the golden one stepped up to the bowl and peacefully ate the remaining food by himself. There was something very telling about this. First, he was patient and had no penchant toward fighting with the other dogs over the food! He seemed to know that he was special.

In an almost regal manner he slowly ate the food and when done stepped over to the side of the cage away from the others and layed down. This was a dog with wisdom as he seemed to know the difference between scarfing down food and, well, dining.

He looked up at us as if to say: "Take me home with you and I'll be loyal and I will love you."

Once home we named him Martini because Maya and I first met at a birthday party at the Blue Martini. It was a great name but we had to explain through the years that we didn't even drink martini's!

Under the advice of the puppy shop woman we had purchased a cage for Martini and put it in the kitchen. The first night we placed Martini inside the cage and went to bed. We laid awake to the sounds of Martini crying.

Maya and I couldn't take it any more so we took him out of the cage and put him in bed with us. Who cares if the little puppy had an accident in our bed. We already loved him. He was right away, as Maya would say, a valid member of our family.

We carefully and tenderly trained Martini. He was so well-trained that our friends and even people on the street would marvel over his behavior. Martini went everywhere with us. One afternoon we decided to go to a movie at CityPlace. We placed Martini into one of Maya's big leather purses and took him inside the theatre. Martini never made a peep!

We took him to the beach and on car trips.  When we ate outside at Bice, Martini had his own chair and even when food was right in front of him he woulldn't attempt to eat it. He would look into our eyes and of course we gave it to him. Amazing!

We would play ball for hours. We threw the ball from the bedroom all the way down the hall into the living room and Martini, a very fast runner, would chase it down and bring it back. He would growl and show his teeth as I tried to take the ball out of his mouth but it was all in good fun.

We bathed him in the shower just like a human. After his shower he would go nuts running around like crazy while we chased him to dry him off. It was our best game trying to catch Martini after his shower!

I haven't seen Martini since our divorce more than two years ago but I thought of him often and especially when I would see a small dog walking down the street with his owners. I haven't wanted to get another dog because I knew their would be no comparison to Martini.

Now he is gone and a part of me is gone. I used to say: "Martini is a fine, fine pup." and that he was. Good-bye beautiful Martini. I will always love you and miss you.

We would take Martini for a walk every evening. Many times people on The Avenue would greet him and take his picture. Martini especially loved children and would stand motionless and let them pet him. He was never impatient.
Martini at Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Looking regal as always.
One of my favorite photos ... Martini sitting by the front door. If either of us left he would stay by the door until return. If we were getting dressed for an evening out Martini would go to the
door and stay there until we got back.  We had to be careful when we opened the door because Martini's nose was almost under the door!
A perfectly matched rug for Martini's nap by the door in the warm sun on a cool day in the mountains.
Maya always put bows in Martini's hair and we often laughed when people thought he was a she. I'm not sure Martini appreciated it much! In this photo Martini is a bit out of breath as we played ball for hours! But he's still ready to play!
At our cabin in the mountains Martini wasn't much for running around in the woods and preferred to stay regally on the deck!
Martini was a star around the island. Here Maya dressed him up in Masha's jewelry at a Sak's show. He liked the attention.
Martini liked to visit my daughter's home in Hilton Head so that he could catch up on the latest news with his friend, Louie. I'm pretty sure Louie knew Martini was a he even though Martini always had his bows on.
Maya came up with the idea of a Palm Beach Today "Pet" issue and as usual Martini was a perfect model for our page. They say that dogs resemble their owners and that was true with Maya and Martini. They appeared on Channel 12 when they did a clip on how Martini and Maya looked similar. That they did! This photo was taken in May, 2010.

Martini loved to go to parties with us.
Maya, Martini and I walking down Worth Avenue talking about whether Martini was gay or not (because of the bows).
Martini 2001-2012
Dom, of course. Martini loved black-tie parties!