We weren’t ready for a puppy. It had been too soon after our beloved cocker spaniel, Scooter, had passed away after a long illness. His loss left a big hole in our house. My husband, mom, son and our Chihuahua, Pica – all felt profound sadness. Occasionally, a tuft of his long black hair would scoot across the floor and we would all tear up.
When a friend emailed me a link to ‘Rose,’ a teeny, tiny rescued Chihuahua-mix pup, I wrote Rebecca at Lil’ Waif Puppy Rescue just to ask about Rose, I told the family, ‘not to bring a puppy home.’ Rebecca told me that Rose was spoken for but her sibling, Lil, was there, just waiting to go home to a good family. Their mom had vanished in unknown circumstances when they were about a week old. The puppies were very small and fragile but adorable and feisty.
Okay, I said, we would just go have a look, just a look, but we were not bringing a puppy home. After I filled out the paper work, collected our driver’s license and checkbook (just in case), we all crowded into the car to meet Lil (Lil’ Waif requires a meeting with the entire family). My husband wondered if we would need our passports to prove citizenship.
When Rebecca met us at the door, we didn’t even notice the tiny bundle cupped in the palm of her hand. And suddenly, there you were. You couldn’t have weighed much more than a pound. You looked straight into my eyes. I had never seen a dog look at me so directly and intently. My mouth opened and these words fell out, ‘Am I your mommy?’
Out came my checkbook and away we went with you cradle in my coat to protect you from the cold. We named you Pixel because of your size.
You were so small that we carried you up and down the stairs to go outside. We never left you outside alone because you were so vulnerable. You were afraid of everything, the rain, the wind blowing a leaf, a crow’s shadow. Until this day you will not go in the big, bad, scary backyard without your dad or I and no one else will do to protect you. Really, it was your dad who carried you everywhere with him. Your tiny paws hardly touched the ground your first couple of months in your new home. You two loved to watch baseball games and take short naps together.
It didn’t take long for you to develop quite a ferocious personality in the safety of your home. You would do that 90-mile-an-hour-sprint in a circle around the house for hours. And then slip into the sofa pillows for a nap. But your favorite pastime was stealing treasures and hiding them behind the sofa. Your lair and it was about 5 inches deep of stolen goods.
No one’s purse was safe in your presence and we advised all innocent visitors not to leave them open or on the floor. You love to take chewing gum, breath mints, pens, pencils, paper, checkbooks and lip balm.
There was that dinner party when you sprinted through the house dragging a red thong belonging to my daughter-in-law tight in your jaws. I grabbed it, held it high for everyone to see and asked, ‘Does this belong to anyone?’ I probably shouldn’t mention the birth controls pills I discovered hidden under sock mates and my big pink briefs. Remember those expensive hooked wool decorative pillows that you chewed up into little wool bits? And the time you stole chocolate from a friend’s purse, ate that, foil wrapper and all? We had to spend a long night at the emergency vet, didn’t we? My favorite leather sandals you kept chewing up and the shoe repairman told me I should feed my Chihuahua?
Well, all is forgiven because watching you play hard, grow up, cuddles, big kisses and our hearty laughs are great trade-offs. The funny thing is that – you rescued us, not the other way around.
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