Pepe Chihuahua is a very patient dog. He puts up with a whole lot, mainly from the Goose. He has had his toenails painted many a time. He has been painted more than once. (Again, non-toxic. Don’t call the cops.) I’m not sure how our family ever existed without him.
I really had no intention of getting a dog. I felt like I was doing good to keep one husband and two kids alive. However, we learned on a homeschool field trip to a petting zoo that our children needed an animal. Since I would stop breathing and die with a cat, horses aren’t supposed to live in the house and turtles don’t like to cuddle, a dog was the most logical choice.
It all started at the petting zoo. The Beetle was almost 6, and the Goose was almost 2. The other “normal” children were all holding and petting baby ducks and baby chicks. Our kids were terrified and ran if any of the animals came toward them. Mr. Everything grew more and more agitated as the day went on, mainly because he was embarrassed that his children were little weenies. The final straw was when they were afraid of the baby bunnies. We knew something had to be done. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Mr.’s exact words were, “Something has to be done.”
I started researching dogs. We knew we wanted to get one from the pound, partly because we wanted to help society (blah, blah, blah) and mostly because we did not want to have to housebreak a puppy. I hadn’t quite housebroken the Goose at that point, and the Beetle was questionable. I didn’t want to deal with the urine of anyone else. I had looked and looked at the SPCA and animal shelter websites. They posted photos of their prisoners, er, I mean, rescues on the sites. Finally, I found a dog that I thought would work. It was not a big dog, but it was big enough to survive my children. It looked pretty hearty, and the website said it was in good health.
We prepared the kids to go to the SPCA. We talked to them about the responsibilities of having a dog, and we discussed the dog we were going to see. I told them all (including Mr. E, the Tenderhearted) that we were NOT coming home with just any dog. If that particular dog was no longer available, we were leaving. (Mr. E had been known to bring home strays now and then, and he couldn’t pass up sad eyes. Remind me to tell you the story of Jake the Wonder Dog another time.)
We went to the SPCA and found the dog from the photos. He was everything I had dreamt of, except for the large red sign that said, “Not for families with small children.” So, there went that plan! I said we were leaving, and Mr. Everything suggested we just look in one other area of the shelter. I was pretty sure that wasn’t a good idea, but I lost control of the situation. We went into the other room, and I saw the cutest little white dog. It had curly hair and looked like a poodle mix. It was so sweet, and it wagged its tail at me. I was hooked, until I heard the death rattle come from its chest. The dog got so excited and was wagging its body, and it started hacking this terrible, awful cough. I decided maybe that one wasn’t the dog for me. Then, Mr. E said, “What about this one?” I looked in the cage and saw nothing but ears and eyes looking back at me from the corner of the cage. “What is it?” I asked. Mr. Everything, AKA The Dog Whisperer, got it to come from the back of the cage, and I saw one of the ugliest dogs I had ever seen. He was trembling, and I knew I was in trouble. I knew the sad eyes and a trembling body would be more than the Mr. could resist. Of course, I was right, and we ended up with Pepe Chihuahua.
Pepe started out as the perfect dog. He used his best manners and said, “Please,” and, “Thank you,” for the first two weeks. Then, the bad habits began. Day by day, he developed a new irritating trait. The dog licked us, constantly. Then, he began licking the couch. Then, he began licking my sheets. I would get in bed at night, and my feet would hit wet where the dog had been licking. In case you haven’t had the joy of experiencing it, let me tell you that is a nasty feeling. Then, Pepe showcased his most annoying habit of all. The dog bit his toenails. I’m not kidding. I wish I were. I really was beginning to wonder what kind of creature we had adopted.
Luckily, the bad habits settled down. I think he was just nervous. He still occasionally bites his nails. He does lick the couch and the sheets if I don’t keep an eye on him. More than anything now, he just goes to bed without us. We’ll go to get in bed and find him under the covers sleeping.
Probably the worst thing he ever did happened one night about 4 years ago when I was brushing my teeth. I was wearing my nightgown and my Crocs. There’s a mental picture. As I stood at the sink brushing and Mr. E sat on our bed in our nearby bedroom, I suddenly felt a warm sensation. Then, all at once, I realized what it was. The dog had pee-peed on my leg, and it was running down my calf into my Croc. Crocs hold a lot of liquid, by the way, because of the shape of the shoes. I instantly started gagging. (I don’t handle bodily fluids well…especially canine bodily fluids.) The Mr. was laughing hysterically. I was yelling with my mouth full of toothpaste for him to help me. He couldn’t help me because he couldn’t catch his breath from laughing. My knight in shining armor. I managed to get to the shower without spilling (gag) the urine (gag) anywhere (gag). The fact that I didn’t kill the dog that night is a true testament to my love for him. I guess it was payback for making him live with the Goose, the graffiti artist.
All in all, I’m glad we ended up with Pepe Chihuahua. He’s as weird as the rest of us, so he fits right in. I’m not sure if the dog shaped the family or the family shaped the dog, but however it worked, he ended up being the perfect dog for us. -Al