Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chuparosas and Chihuahuas

We in the compound never really expected to have any dogs--much less two--running around. Yeah, Luz and I had joked about getting a Chihuahua for oh, about six years.

Then Jenn decided to get a dog to strengthen the soul. She chose a rescue dog named Herbie, whom we originally thought was a small lab, but since have tentatively identified as a Jindo Gae, native to the Korean island of Jindo, a hunting dog whose prey includes raccoons(“Hurray!” squawk the chickens! “Our hero!”). Like many Jindos, Herbie is extremely reserved with anyone outside his immediate family (i.e. Jenn). He is good-natured, mellow, and slow-moving, except during a jog or when he has slipped the leash and is running up the street, laughing at us.

It wasn’t long after this that my pining for a dog became quite vocal. I even tried that old ploy of declaring “I want to have a baby!” Luz, of course, was not deceived.

But then on fourth of July, our day started out very hard and seemed to just get harder. After a long day out, Luz went into the garden to relax and encountered…a chihuahua! A very sweet whitish girl with wavy hair and big brown eyes. She had fleas and very long nails. And she was clearly very frightened. Of course, in our hood, fourth of july means firecrackers starting from late june and going through mid-july. So all the dogs and cats tend to go into hiding, or, like this little lady, looking for an escape.

I kept declaring “God sent us this Chihuahua!”

In the first hour that we found her, she encountered every single cat in the compound--which is itself notable, since Siren the cat is not fond of our company--and the cats and the dog showed a mellow lack of interest in one another.

Luz liked her, but insisted that if she was coming into the house she had to be bathed immediately for fleas. We bathed her in dr. bronner’s castile soap and toweled her dry. I ran out to the grocery store fifteen minutes before it closed, and came home with a couple of cans of Mighty Dog. She slept in our bed with us that night, snuggled with us, and went outside in the morning "to do her business"

The next day I took her to the lesbian-owned pet store while my friend A* was visiting. We were all on the down-low, because I was afraid someone there would recognize the dog and I would be forced to give her up. So with all the stealth of a professional dognapper, I avoided all the questions about how old she was and how long I’d had her.

One funny thing is that Paws & Claws was in its new location and was also changing over from their old “punch card” reward system, to a new, automatic computer frequent buyer program. So when they asked me for my name, phone number, and name of my pet. I fibbed a little and gave them the name of our oldest cat.

So, lovely queer purple harness for the perrita. A* held her while I clipped her nails. She was pretty patient with the process.

Now, left to myself, I would’ve hidden the dog in the house forever, because, after all “God sent me this dog,” therefore, obviously, I am intended to keep her. However, Luz convinced me that the right thing for us to do would be to put up ads around the neighborhood with “found: small white dog” with our phone number. Because this dog was obviously NOT a stray: she was too well behaved and expected only good things from us. Luz posted to the neighborhood list, and printed out the flyers and I tacked them up on the telephone poles, including the one next to Mr. McDaniels house.

The next day I happily took the doggy on a walk around the block, wearing her new purple harness and sporting one of our old leashes (from back in the day when we used to co-parent Saffy the border collie mix in New Mexico). The little dog really enjoyed running back down the hill to our house. But as I paused to unlock the security door, I noticed a big bronze continental slowing down to take a look. At the dog. My first impulse was to get the damn door open and hide my dog away and never walk her on this block again. But I finally took a deep breath and walked over the car, asking the driver (Mr. McDaniels) if he recognized the dog. He was happy to have her back and I reluctantly let her go. I only glimpsed her a couple more times before Mr. McDaniels moved away, and he was careful not to let her escape again.

That Chihuahua had come to us on a particularly hard day, and brought us a lot of joy and comfort. And as a result of that experience, Luz decided we were indeed ready to get our own dog. The next week we went to Oakland Animal Services and adopted a little male pup, whom we named Nopalito. But that is another story.