The first day with Sweetie the Long Haired Chihuahua was a lesson in patience. For Sweetie
MOMMA HAS A BRAND NEW DOG
Have you ever wondered how a fanatical dog lover is created? I used to until I became one. I used to think that dog lovers had one or two screws loose or were in need of some fundamental type of love. That may be all true, but there is more to it than that simple explanation. I believe dogs fit into a specific place in our hearts and all humans have that place, whether filled or not. It is only the fortunate ones that get to feel that special place being filled. I can testify to that fact for that is what happened to me.
The very next morning after getting Sweetie, I discovered that I too had a special place that had always needed filling. It was brought home to me in about 60 seconds. Since Sweetie was so small we decided that she could sleep in our bed until we found a better arrangement. She automatically settled down between my head and the headboard. She was quiet all through the night and gave us no trouble. The next morning was Saturday. We planned to open the shop at noon as usual so we slept in.
Heather, our eldest daughter, and her husband were staying with us for a few days so they could have a small vacation at the lake. They had been out when we came in with Sweetie the night before. As a result, Heather had no idea that we had gotten a dog, let alone a long haired chihuahua. We were still partially asleep when she came barging into our room unannounced, as most offspring do because they can't imagine that mom and dad actually have a private life.
She began to say something as she entered through the doorway. Whatever she was going to say was rendered moot because the reaction from Sweetie was instantaneous. From the head of the bed she bounded over my face, sprinted off of my chest and came to a halt at the edge of the bed. Heather was immediately brought up short with the most frightening, menacing growl coming from something Heather mistook as some awful critter staking a claim on her parent's bedroom. The sound that came out of Sweetie's throat was unbelievable. If we had not witnessed it ourselves we would have sworn that it was coming from a much larger dog.
Heather was equally astonished to find that we were fine with a strange animal being in bed with us, but made no move any further into the room. I was able to reassure Sweetie that Heather was one of the pack and therefore should be tolerated. She calmed down and decided to stand guard all the same. This marked the beginning of a very adversarial relationship between the two. Things could have worked out for the better if Heather had used common sense, but alas no matter how old they get they still do dumb things.
Heather and her husband brought with them their own dog, a Boston Terrier named Poopsie. Heather was used to his type of playing, which with all terriers involved some pretty rough cavorting through the house. Poopsie would go through several soccer balls in a month's time. He had the ability to grab them with his tiny teeth in the front of his mouth and invariably puncture a hole in the skin. At once the ball would be torn to shreds.
Since Heather was used to this type of rough and tumble playmate, she thought she would initiate Sweetie into the family. As I entered the kitchen I heard her squealing, "Weeeeeeeeeeee, did you like that?" When I finally was able to grasp the full sequence of events I, like Sweetie, was horrified. Our floors were tiled from the kitchen and down the hall. Heather was taking Sweetie, rolling her in a ball and sliding her down the hall at breakneck speeds. When Sweetie finally slid to a full stop, she saw me and made a run for the back of my legs.
"What are you doing?" I implored on the verge of hyperventilating. "Whatever would make you think that would be fun to a dog on her first day with her new family?"
"Poopsie likes it. Aren't all dogs about the same? She is just a smaller version of him after all," she said as I blocked her from trying to grab Sweetie from behind my legs.
"You must be out of your mind. She is scared stiff. I have a good mind to let her bite you if you ever do that again."
From that day forward Sweetie never forgave Heather. She made her feelings known at every opportunity. So much so that Heather was afraid of touching her.
During the day, the other two kids and I tried our best to make Sweetie feel at home. I went into the living room to watch some TV with them while holding Sweetie on my lap. When the program was over the kids came over to Sweetie and petted her, showering her with kisses and soothing sounds.
"I am glad she does not look like that chihuahua woman's dog," Jackie said as she patted Sweetie on the head. "I think that woman was crazy, she gave me the creeps. I could never stay in that house."
I was flabbergasted to hear her say such a thing, because I had found the lady amiable, kind and loving to the many dogs running around her house.
"I agree that it was unusual that she lived with so many animals," I said, trying to understand this new information. "But, the lady explained to me that she puts her dogs up into their crates after their exercise. Her house was clean with no odor to speak of. In fact, I know that she loves those little dogs. I saw many pictures on the walls of some of her past pets. I even saw a cute statue on the mantle of a Long Haired Chihuahua. It must have cost a pretty penny."
Just then Jackie's face turned white and Beau's eyes widened with disbelief at the words I had just uttered.
"What?" I asked, with the feeling that I was missing something in the translation.
"Mom," said Beau. "Didn't you even notice?"
"Notice what?" I asked incredulous.
After a moment of hesitation, Beau and Jackie looked at each other and nodded as if deciding what course to take.
"There was no statue Mom", said Jackie finally grinning at me. Beau put a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing out loud.
"Yes there was! I stood right beside it... I know for a fact that it was there. You guys stop teasing me," I said.
Jackie came closer so that she could lower her voice as if there was someone that should not hear the secret she was about to reveal.
"Mom, that was a real Chihuahua. It was the dog she loved the most. It died and she had it stuffed!" as her mouth broke into a full blown smile.
My mouth slammed shut and my breath came in short staccato spurts while Jackie and Beau began to laugh. It just goes to show you, there is no boundary for love. That woman loved her dog so much she could not bear to be without him, so she had him stuffed. I felt very silly indeed.