Terry, who, now in her 70’s, has known several loves in her lifetime–the falling in and out of love, some romantic, some short and painful, some family and many longterm and lasting loves. However, there is one love story that has left an indelible print on Terry’s heart–the love of a three and a half pound, twelve-year old chihuahua called “Baby”.
Terry received a call one day from a friend at a rescue society who asked if Terry could foster this little dog. Terry was somewhat reluctant having already three dogs and a cat and was afraid they wouldn’t accept her as they were all older themselves. The lady explained it was just for a couple of weeks until a forever home was found. Baby arrived with a mangled foot, a limp, and an insatiable appetite. Upon arriving she gobbled up her food and then proceeded to eat all of the other dogs’ food as well. The other dogs seemed to know she needed the food and they didn’t mind.
Terry and her dogs had a morning routine to walk for an hour through a park and then to the beach and then home for naps for the dogs. Baby, despite her limp was able to keep up with the group. They learned quite quickly that Baby hated the beach–she could be found hiding behind washed up logs. As a result, Terry and her crew of three dogs, changed their routine to accommodate Baby.
Terry watched with amazement as Baby seduced each of her housemates one by one. Terry’s granddaughter adored her and was immediately smitten. Baby understood the household dynamics–Murphy was the oldest and only male and he easily succumbed to Baby’s charm. It took a little longer for Baby to win over Muggins-a four pound multipoo and her daughter Sashi but by day 3 Baby had moved into their day baskets. Then there was Big Blue–a very independent cat. Despite Baby’s ridiculous shows of bossiness, Big Blue did not retaliate. After four days, Baby had taken over–she slept where ever she wanted, they had changed their walking habits so she wouldn’t have to go on the beach, and she ate out of any and all dog bowls.
Baby was born a party girl–just like her owner, Terry admits. She didn’t mind having her toenails painted pink by a granddaughter or being dressed in ballet clothes. When attending a party, her feet never touched the floor until the party was over–always in some guests’ attentive arms. She had a fan club in the neighbourhood and it didn’t matter where she went with Terry–drug store, gift shop, the bank, she was greeted by shouts of, “Here’s Baby!” and out came the treats. The bank made a point of buying special small treats for Baby and she was even included in their staff photo. There’s Baby scooped up in the arms of the well dressed bankers in the middle of the corporate photo.
Somewhere along the line, Baby stopped limping–maybe a year after she arrived and she realized she didn’t have to eat everyone’s food anymore–that she would be taken care of and want for nothing. Terry, who has adopted a few dogs says it can take awhile–years for them to recover from trauma and a significant dose of patience but they are the most grateful, loving companions.
Baby never left the “foster home” and lived there til she passed away at twenty. Terry wonders how such a tiny little chihauhua could spread so much love and gratitude to so many.
All four of the dogs and the cat are gone now but my memories of their beautiful, unique Spirits will live with Terry forever. That is love.