Two weeks ago I was informed that Pancake the Corgi, my friend and animal companion, had very little time left. Yesterday, due to her failing health we had no choice but to put her to sleep. When I was first made aware of her dire condition it occurred to me that I would have to eulogize her in some way. Not just to share with the world how wonderful a creature she was but probably to process and deal with my own pain in a way that might be healthy. It makes sense that I pay tribute to her on my website since the only posts that have gotten any real traction on here were about her.
Pancake the Corgi entered my life in New York City during the late fall of 2008, the daughter of Crystal Ogram and very beloved grand-daughter to Mark and Karen Ogram. Crystal and I had been dating for a few months before Pancake had moved back in with her after a brief hiatus in Tucson (her second home). Even before I met the fluffy corgi she was a presence that I was very much aware of. Crystal thought the world of Pancake and it showed in the way she told stories of this wondrous corgi, Cake or Cakie for short. She even had a painted portrait of Pancake commissioned by her sister Erin hanging on her wall. I would later use this portrait in a comedy video I made with Pancake, as seen below:
This video marked the first time Crystal had fully entrusted Pancake to me. Crystal had gone out of town so while I was watching Cake I decided I would put her to work. Or, “Where it all started…” as Crystal would later put it. At that point I had known Pancake for a about 5 months. She had grown on me and I would sometimes walk her on my own. Early on my first impression of Pancake was that of a friendly little glutton that you couldn’t help but love, she reminded me of Winnie the Pooh. On most of our early walks I would sing the “Little Black Raincloud” song that Pooh Bear sings and forever was it imprinted on my mind that Pancake was Pooh. In fact many have remarked that my signature “Pancake Voice” that I use in conversation with or as Pancake is similar to Pooh Bear’s.
Eventually Pancake became part of my daily routine once I moved in with Crystal. In times of good weather we’d walk down to a dog run in Riverside Park to wait for Crystal on her way from work then walk back uptown together to get home, as a family. We’d usually let Cake off the leash so she could chase squirrels at her leisure, something she very much appreciated. In times of bad weather we’d play in the snow:
My best years in New York were spent with Pancake (especially because of her). A while back I wrote a post marking my one-year anniversary in Los Angeles, in it I featured the last picture I took of Cake in New York, in Riverside Park actually. Pancake enjoyed the New York years but transitioned very well to Los Angeles.
Her favorite place was probably Huntington Dog Beach:
She adored the Dog Beach and just recently participated in their annual “Corgi Beach Day”. She could play there for hours on end. Of course her SoCal lifestyle expanded beyond the beach scene, having been to Disneyland not just once or even twice but THREE times:
That third and final time she got to spend some quality time with her other grandmother Laura Rojo, as well as her aunt that loved her very much, named Laura as well. Her theme park experience didn’t end there, for her 13th birthday she went to Universal Studios. Also since the move to Los Angeles I’ve used her to shamelessly promote myself, but she always wound up the star.
Pancake will be missed by many, including her sister Laverne the One-Eyed Cat:
Obviously Crystal and I will miss her the most. She enriched our lives, made us a family, and brought us countless hours of joy. In considering my friendship with her and attempting to sum it up it’s hard to shake the obvious comment that she was my best friend. I’m forced to examine what defines friendship and what qualifies one for the mantle of “Best Friend”. Sure I considered her a daughter and loved her like one but our bond was that of friends. She loved me more than I deserved, she respected me more than I could’ve hoped, and made me happy whenever it was asked. It was in irony that I used Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” as the song for our comedy video only to have that irony flipped with the reality of my prescient song choice.
It’s with a heavy, heavy soul that I lament what could’ve been and the time with her that was taken from me. In my own selfishness, to date I fail to comprehend that Pancake lived a full life, well over a year her minimum life expectancy. But still, a life without Pancake is a life half-lived. As I waved good-bye to Pancake, knowing that she was no longer Pancake but just the vessel that once contained her effervescent life-force my sadness turned to rage. I was flooded with an anger that was almost comical, yet it wasn’t enough, it was not a fraction of the emotion needed to express the loss I’d just felt.
I’m not at peace quite yet, neither is Crystal, we know in our hearts we did the right thing. We know that in time we’ll feel better. We also know that we’ll never forget Pancake and treasure the time we did have with her. There will never be another Pancake and I can only thank her for sharing some of her life with me. She was the best friend I have ever known.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Pancake videos, because it always makes me laugh: