Bif Loman was his name. The shelter named him Othello, which I changed to Sambo, but he didn't like it, nor did the black receptionist at the vet when I called to make an appointment (to which I say: read the goddamned story, for Christsake: it's the tale of a smart little Indian boy who outsmarted lions - no racism there, folks). I had him for about a week when I was watching a remake of Death of a Salesman on tv and he was asleep in my lap and I said, softly, 'Bif?' and he woke right up and looked at me. So, Bif it was. Other names he had over the years: Monkilly Man, Noodle Rancher, Not a Medical Doctor, BifLomanClature and Bifwack. I taught him to come to 'Cheese!', whereby I would reward him with said substance and after a while, I could spell it out and he would still come.
The day before I was to have my final chemo session, his breath became labored and two days later, his heart was failing fast and I had him put to sleep. Chicken Vickie held me together: coming with me to the vet and later, digging a grave for him while I washed his feet and wrapped him in velvet and said my goodbyes. I had no reserves for this: I was on empty and I was devastated. I mourned and wailed for a solid fortnight.
Thank you, Bif, for saving my life. I sure wish I could've saved yours.