I've been asked to explain why I decided to write my new book, The Gift of Jazzy. Why? Because Jazzy is the most delicious gift I have ever gotten. Because Jazzy's gift to me has been the gift of life. And who is Jazzy? At this stage of my life as a widow and an orphan Jazzy is my only blood relative. It isn't that I love him. I am in love with him. I'd leave this Yorkie my apartment in my will if I thought he could pay the maintenance. As I explain in my book: "Seven days after Joey, my husband of a lifetime, passed on, a friend sent this 3-month-old hairball to my door.

"He wasn't expected. Wasn't even requested. My friends, actress Deborah Raffin and her publisher husband Michael Viner, decided that I needed something to help me through. Their decision, however, was made unilaterally. Without me. "I had no idea what to do with this thing. For too many years my home with my husband had meant nurses, health care aides, midnight runs to an emergency room. I'd had nothing in my experience that signified life no plants, no kids, no pets. "This unwanted arrival weighed 2.2 pounds and arrived in the back of a limo.

"The minute I took him in my arms, a warm feeling came over me.

"Jazzy peed on me." And he's been doing it ever since. Three years and five pounds later, Jazzy is the master of my world. He runs my house. He determines my schedule. He lives on Park Avenue. And he still looks at me as though to say, "I know how to handle you, hon. My mother was also a bitch." This dog who lives with the New York Post gossip columnist has the universe in his paws. He listens in on phone conversations with Hillary Clinton. He's in the middle of arguments with Sylvester Stallone. He has play dates with Judge Judy's shih-tzu Lulu. He goes visiting to Barbara Walters' apartment. He does Thanksgiving with Joan Rivers' four-legged family. He hosts guests like Bryant Gumble and Cujo, Bryant's Maltese, at his birthday party.

He creates situations that cause embarrassment and stress. Like the time he hung up on General Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama, who was calling from prison. Like the time he locked out former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos. Or when he piddled on a friend's clothes. Or ate a houseguest's $2,500 alligator pumps.

Still, I was a new widow whose home was suddenly too cold and too silent. I took comfort locked in the warmth of this teensy creature who loved me as I did him. My husband and my mom, the only other close relative I have ever had and whom I treasured almost more than my own being, were the same age. My mother, whom I also tenderly cared for over a dozen of her last years even though she no longer knew who I was, passed on a couple of months after my husband. Despite friends and the seemingly mobile life of a New York Post gossip columnist, I was alone. I had nobody. The gift of Jazzy was for me the gift of life.

I began to leave events, even a White House party, to get home to Jazzy. Yes, I recognize the absurdity . . . still there it is. We became a Couple. At Christmas I receive cards addressed "Cindy and Jazzy Adams." This self-centered animal, who is the size of a rat's ass, who is smaller than a toupee, is now used to bones from Gallagher's steakhouse, Poland Springs chilled water, a car and driver, a penthouse that is dog-proofed and the fact that his mother hand-feeds him. What he has put me through is what has prompted me to sit down and write this book.

Even if you don't love dogs, even if you don't love gossip and the stories I drop because these celebrities are part of the work that I do, you might enjoy the laughs, which are about my experience and all at my expense. I was presented with a dog. I didn't request it. I didn't buy it. I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't understand how it could fit into my New York style lifestyle. I knew nothing about the care and feeding of a Yorkshire terrier. All I could do with the thing was the best I could do.

He has peed, pooped and whoops'd on me and still does. He demands attention. He has an attitude. And now, three years later, I can finally say he has me perfectly trained.

The book is a story of survival. Of coping. The book is a love story. As I've written in these pages: "Whether this is why I phone from across the world just to hear Jazzy bark . . . why I massage his gums with my finger with a doggy toothpaste that tastes like peanut butter because I sense he won't floss by himself, why I cut up a brand-new maroon, cashmere, four-ply turtleneck to make a sweater for him, who the hell knows. "I only know it's true love."

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