by Terri Coop
I was raised a cat person. However, in one instant, I was permanently transformed into a dog lover.
The time: February 2001.
The place: Just outside of Stillwater Oklahoma.
The catalyst: A near perfect faceplant on the dashboard.
That last part is because my then husband had slammed on the brakes to make a 90-degree right turn at a hand-painted sign reading "CHIHUAUHAS." (Yes, you are reading incorrectly.)
When that grizzled old man put that little black and tan bundle into Noah's hands, my first words were,
"I'll get the checkbook."
He wanted a Chihuahua pup so much! No five-year old had ever promised more solemnly to take care of his dog. Being feline-oriented myself, I was skeptical. Now, I was smitten. Charlie had found a home.
Fast forward to 2004. Noah had arranged with a breeder to have Charlie, um, ya know, serviced. Very soon, she lost her girlish figure and we knew puppies were on the way. No royal heir was more heavily anticipated than this litter. Noah read every book on Chi puppy care under the sun. On the appointed day, at ten in the morning, Charlie's temperature rose the fateful one degree. It was time.
Not a thing happened. For the next twelve hours we stared at her while she stared back wondering what she had done wrong. Finally, around midnight she started pacing and fussing. Suddenly, Noah remembered the camera was in the workshop and ran to fetch it. While he was gone, Charlie gave a little yelp, did half a backflip, and there was a puppy. She and I stared at each other . . . both absolutely clueless.
We were still staring when Noah rushed back with the camera. Doggie doctor to the rescue. I held the mouse-sized pup while he tied the cord and then I cut it. Repeat three more times. We had four pups. Nestling them under Charlie, we thought four was a nice litter.
Then she began panting and fidgeting. Fifteen minutes later, to our consternation, we had six perfect wriggling black baby doggies. Pretty much unheard of in Chihuahuas, single and twin births are more common.
The next twelve weeks were a joy as the little ones grew and thrived. I put away the good quilt and let them frolic and puppy-pee. We loved them while being careful not to hug the stuffings right out of them. Noah built an indoor pen and patiently weaned them on a gruel we called "smoosh." Once weaned though, pen cleaning became a lot less fun. One day, after changing the papers for the fourth time since dawn, he looked up and said, "run the ad." It was time our babies found their forever homes.
Just in case you're curious:
1. Pixie Willow went home with a female couple that brought a rhinestone collar and leash for her.
2. Fuzzy Bear was for a little boy whose father was shipping out to Iraq.
3. Scruffy is my beloved pet and best friend.
4. Lacey filled the hearts of a single mom and son who had recently lost their dog.
5. Dobie went to an adorable young newlywed couple.
6. Blaze became a companion to a wheelchair bound elderly lady.