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Mandy is a four-year-old pit bull mix.

Life has not been easy for Mandy, a deaf dog who has survived cancer. Regardless ...

She is happy. The second time I took her for a walk, she licked my face all over like a lollipop and wouldn't stop. A little gross, but I was happy too.

She is calm. One time we passed a little dog that lunged and barked furiously at her. Mandy just stood there, calm as a buddha.

She is curious. Mandy likes to look at all kinds of things for long periods of time. Usually I can't even tell what she is staring at. During one walk, we passed an abandoned construction site. She insisted on stopping to scrutinize some John Deere heavy equipment. For minutes.

What she is not: an exerciser. Forget running. Mandy doesn't even like to walk. She is more of a lounger. It doesn't matter where we go. Whenever she gets a chance, she lies down. We were crossing a street once, and Mandy flopped right there in the middle of the intersection.