Thursday, July 1, 2010


Poco was a cute tan Chihuahua who had a bit of an "attitude" but then what Chihuahua doesn't. She was given to me as a 13 week old puppy. There really is nothing cuter that Chihuahua puppy. They are so tiny it is hard to believe they can live in this giant world.

I didn't need her for I all ready had 40 rescue dogs but the people who owned her and her sister Taco had been killed in a car accident. My vet who was boarding them asked me to take them and find them homes as the family of the deceased couldn't deal with the tiny puppies.

Taco, the all black sister went right away to a lovely home. She was renamed Jaws for her ferocious nature. Somehow, no one seemed to want Poco who was actually the cutest. She had this perfect little white heart on her head. She was very hostile to anyone that wasn't me and very vocal about her hostility. She was the poster dog for a “yappy” Chihuahua.

I do believe no one can fully appreciate a Chihuahua till they own one. No dog will ever love you more completely nor be willing to defend you to the death with their ridiculously tiny bodies. However, while I only had 2 house pets besides her, most Chihuahuas don't quite understand the word “share”. As I couldn't give her proper attention, I was on the look out for a permanent home where she could enjoy single dog status.

I had taken her to be spayed at 7 months when my vet Jim told me he thought he might have a great home for her. Paul, one of his elderly customers, had just had to put his 15 year old poodle to sleep and Jim thought it would help if Paul had another dog to ease the loneliness. After he cleared it with me, he called Paul who was thrilled. Problem solved. ...well not quite.

I then did something unintentionally cruel and thoughtless. Poco was recovering from her surgery so Jim said that Paul could just pick her up right at the hospital saving me a 40 mile trip. Paul wanted to pay for her surgery but I said no. If the adoption was successful, he could make a donation if he wished, but for now, she was still my responsibility. So I left her there for Paul to claim but I would be checking up on her. She was put into a cat carrier in a groggy state and went to her new home.

About a week later, I called on Paul to see how things were going. He lived in a double wide mobile home in an upscale park. He was a man about my age now. He was small, thin and looked a bit fragile. He gave me a big grin when he came out the door to greet me and to thank me for giving him Poco. I asked him how Poco was and he just gushed how much he loved her but then his voice cracked as he said,”I don't think she likes me though.”

It was a hot day but he was wearing heavy leather gloves like a falcon handler would wear. He told me to wait while he went inside to get Poco. I heard terrible snarling from the inside of the trailer. He finally opened the door and the little dog leaped from his gloved hands and ran behind my legs snarling. She obviously hated that man.

My first reaction was boiling anger. What had he done to her? He then removed his gloves and I saw his mangled hands. Poco had bitten the poor old fellow to the bone on both thumbs. The rest of his fingers were thin and bony, the thumbs were black and swollen like sausages. It seemed impossible that such a little dog could do such damage but I believed him. Each thumb had multiple punctures.

“ I can only handle her with the gloves now.” he said embarrassed that he could not win over such a little dog. “Do you think she will eventually like me?” he asked hopefully.

Of course, that relationship ended that day for both their sakes. I drove Paul to the hospital to get those thumbs taken care of. He was quite infected.

Not my picture but looks a lot like her minus the heart on her forehead and shows a similar distrust and fear that took a while to overcome.

I apologized to Paul for I had badly handled the adoption. I had dropped Poco off at the vets and this man picked her up. She must have thought she had been stolen. Also, I had not realized just how attached she had become to me. Right then I decided that even a shared me was better for Poco than full attention from a stranger. That day, she became a permanent pet.

My vet later found Paul a lovely poodle puppy that did not attack him in any way. I did learn from my groomer however that Paul was litigious happy. He had sued several people for frivolous things, my groomer being one. She was amazed that Paul did not sue me for his mangled thumbs and I am really grateful he didn't. Fortunately, Paul healed nicely and was quite happy with his new poodle. Phew.

Poor little Poco took quite a while to realize she was going to stay with me and that I could be trusted. She developed an intense hatred however for my vet. Both times she had gone there, she ended up being stolen, first by me then by Paul.
V-e-t was spelled B-A-D in her little brain.

I went over board spoiling the poor baby. I was sick at what I had put her through. Eventually she forgave me and I forgave myself. I had her for 17 years before she one day curled up beside me on the couch, drew a long shuddering breath, stiffened and passed.

This episode was early in my shelter career and it taught me to be very careful placing a dog for adoption. Even I in the beginning was guilty of thinking a dog could be passed around like a piece of furniture. Even a great home can be a bad one if handled without concern for the animal. Another in the long list of lessons learned.


  1. Wow...what a story! I was so excited when I saw this post. I just knew it would be good and it was. Thanks for sharing. I have a chihuahua and your description of their personality is correct. LD (my chihuahua) has often been called a pit-chihuahua. He is now around 16/17 and is deaf and blind. I dread the day, I know is coming...he's been such a character.

  2. Loved your story of Poco! When a child, we had a pet Chihuahua, named Dobie...Dobie Gillis was a popular TV show at the time. Dobie was mostly attached to my middle sister and bared his teeth if taken from her, but very loving other times!


  3. I'm not sure who deserved the most sympathy, Poco or Paul. My mother loved Chihuahuas, had at least 3 in varying sizes.

    They all had a bed and tiny dog house on our enclosed heated back porch which served as common entrance to our house. Don't know why, but the front door was rarely used. (I'll have to give that some thought).

    When I introduced my husband to my family the very first time, of course, we went in the back door through the dog's domain. She began her ferocious bark when she heard the gate open.

    We entered as I always do without greeting the dog who promptly bit my husband on the of his ankle. He has never forgotten his introduction to the in-laws.

  4. ahhhhh another Patti fix. I am so glad you are back...You are such a softie. If anyone wants to dump a dog they should do it close to your house...

  5. LOL I knew it wouldn't be long before another storytime was on the way. Storytellers need to tell their stories whether there is an audience or not. Glad to see you back and kick'n it!
    Thanks for your comment on Max. He really would have loved you!

  6. Great teaching story. We all learn life the hard way sometimes. I am so incredibly happy you are back with your fabulous story telling ways. love you.

  7. Thanks, for sharing this story. I enjoyed reading it very much and was very happy you chose to keep Poco.

    I have had Chihuahuas and have found they tend to be a one person dog. They love and protect you with those little ferocious barks for as long as they are breathing.

    I am glad Paul was able to get another dog that was happy with him and he was happy with.

    Poco was meant to be yours.


  8. My mother once had a chihuahua very similar to this one - totally devoted to my mother! blessings, marlene

  9. See? I knew you weren't all out of stories!!

    Poor Poco. My son's children have a chihuahua and one that turned out to be half-chi and half-terrier (although she was sold as full chihuahua). I think that man didn't sue you because you took pity on him and took care of his thumbs.

  10. turquiosemoon,
    Thanks so much. I have seen your pictures of LD and he is precious. Pit/chichuahua is perfect description. They are fierce little creatures.
    LD is precious and we can only be grateful for the long life span of the Chi.

    I do remember Dobie Gillis--cute show. Dobie ( the dog) was true to species. They really do attach to one person the rest of the human population is basically just tolerated.

    They both did. Paul had just lost his pet and Poco totally rejected him. He had to have been crushed. He really wanted it to work out.
    They are little ankle nippers aren't they?

    4th sister,
    Shush, I am in hiding here. So far no one in Arkansas knows of my weakness or where abouts for drop offs. Now that I am retired, I have learned to say no, FINALLY.

    Thanks lady, I really did miss all this. I am so sorry about Max. He was a grand dog and you were lucky to have each other.

    Linda in NM
    Thanks a bunch. As you can tell, all my lessons are learned the hard way. At least they stick with you that way.

    Good to know another Chi lover. They really are unique little dogs.No one sneaks up on a Chi owner. They are superior alert dogs.

    So glad you Mom had one to enjoy.They really are mostly a woman's dog but I have seen men completely smitten. Mickey Roarke for example. An unlikely pair.

    Well if I only tell dog stories I have about 200 more. However I won't do that to you nice folks.
    I did dodge the bullet by making sure Paul got medical help. He didn't want to but I know dog bites are dirty and infection is common.

  11. Poco! Great story and so glad you're back at it.

    We have a chihuahua that stays with us (at the kennel) for most of the summer. It took a while but I can now handle him as though we'd been together since he was a puppy. He is very particular about whom he likes and dislikes and I love him. I just learned not to take his crap and he gave in. He's a great little guy. Poco was lucky to have you.

  12. What a great story and a beautifl ending, not that the dog died, but that she was able to come back to your home. I keep saying, you need to write a book about your days rescuing animals. I know you must have lots of stories. Happy 4th. early.

  13. What a story, Patti.... You surely have a 'way' with dogs. I couldn't handle a little yappy dog... There is a lady who lives not too far from us and she has two yappy poodles... GADS--we get so tired of hearing those darn dogs barking constantly... Glad they don't belong to me!!!!!

    I like dogs---but I'd be very picky when choosing one.

    Great story.
    Have a great 4th of July. God Bless America.

  14. Barry,
    Thanks, good to be back. Those Chihuahuas are really discriminating aren't they? Just being human doesn't cut it with them. If you win one over, consider yourself a charmmister.

    Thanks so much. Any animal story that tells of a long and happy life has a good ending. Too bad they don't have the lifespan of parrots but we enjoy while we can.
    Happy and safe 4th to you and Abe.

    Yappy dogs are like your own children, you just over look any faults you can't change. There is a type of dog out there for every need. Sometimes however the best course is to just enjoy other people's dogs. That is kind of like having grandchildren. All the enjoyment and none of the effort.
    Happy 4th.

  15. Just came by to say hello and to make sure you had not went AWOL again. lol
    Your story kept my attention as always to the very end and love way you tell your stories.
    So glad you went by and checked on him or you might have ended up in court with this guy.
    Glad you and Poco were together for such a long time. What would we do without our pets.
    Which reminds me of Blogzine stories...remember weren't you going to do one for me.
    Anyway need to go back to bed but wanted to say hello.

  16. Loved the story ...what a lesson learnt and a wonderful companion you had for so many years. I am so glad you are back ...dont care what you write ..its all good and interesting

  17. What a story....! Poor dear Poco. I am so glad you had her for 17 years, and even glader that SHE had you! It must have been horribly traumatic when Paul took her away....
    It is a delicate balance with adoptions, isn't it? And especially when an animal has been abused in any way....Little "Buddy" had been abused, so the Parks Family was stunned at how quickly he took to me. Of course, it made me feel! I thought his little growl was very cute, and that stopped almost immediately....
    He is a darling dog who is just a love!
    And it is wonderful that little dogs can live such a long time. You gave Poco such a good good life, my dear....

  18. Grandmayellowhair,
    Aw don't worry, if I go AWOL again, I'll let you know.
    I really think Paul was so embarassed that he could not win a tiny dog over that he would never have seen a lawyer.
    Do feel better soon lady, I do worry about you.

    Thanks so much, it is good to be back. Wasn't sure I would miss it so much but I did.

    You really need to pat your own back for winning over Buddy. They are not easy and he must be marvelous to have such a great personality after a rough start.
    I was always amazed at how tiny dogs could end up in the pound.

    Lynda G.
    Yep I am, ready or not. I just hope not like Chuckie.
    Thanks so much.

  19. Wow, something for me to think about. We have a little rescue chihuahua that is glued like superglue to me. If I'm not home you can't ask for a sweeter dog. If I'm home, look out, everybody is sight is in danger of having their leg chewed off.

    I've thought about trying to find Buddy a new home because I don't like dogs that bite. Guess not, huh, looks like Buddy and I are stuck with each other.

    He's totally sweet when it's only Bob and me but we're always very nervous when other people are around.

  20. Thanks so much for this great story! I am glad we can enjoy reading your posts again! Welcome back, Patti!

  21. Linda,
    Aw, you couldn't get rid of Buddy. He is just defending you from all comers. Mighty doesn't like strangers either but he doesn't bite---yet, he just annoys them to death with his incessant bark.
    Like you, I just remove him from temptation.

    Reader Wil,
    Thanks so much Wil, I had no idea I would miss this so much. Good to be back.

  22. Poco is such a sweet name :) Hard to imagine a little thing terrorizing ppl. Must've been a tiny dynamite! I loved the lesson in the story. Also the fact that you eventually forgave yourself.Many a time, that takes longer than seeking forgiveness from others ..

    I'm still shaking in disbelief at your marvellous comeback! (happily though) :-))

  23. lostworld,
    You are so smart for such a young'un. It is much harder to forgive ourselves, some people never learn.
    Little dogs usually can't do much harm outside of ankle nipping but she got him to the bone on his thin fingers.
    As for catching that disease from stray dogs, you can only get it from the blood of a sick animal or from a tick that bit them, then bit you. Just be careful.