On Wednesday, shortly before 1 a.m., I sat down to write this column, justas I’m doing now. The last dog-walk of the evening was behind me; my pack was blissfully snoozing, and my inner night owl was reporting for Dogster duty. No sooner did I open WordPress than I heard a deafening crash from the opposite end of my apartment (it’s a long, narrow “railroad flat”), which ismy cats’ domain.
I ran over to investigate, and was met with ascary sight: a substantial portion – about 8 x 4 feet – of the ceiling in my living room had crashed to the floor.
Two very sturdyshelveshad beenknocked clear off the wall,and all surfaces were coated with grayish-white dust,a combination of pulverized sheet rock and plaster. Because the ceilings are so high – 11 feet to be precise – there was more dust than there would’ve been if, say, I only had 8-foot-high ceilings. Gravity made sure that dust was ground extra-fine. The air was thick withchalky clouds of white.
I saw a few of my poor cats looking stunned, crawling out from under debris andtoppled boxes, then making a mad dash for the nearest safe hiding place.
I went into crisis management mode. Priority one was accounting for all missing felines. I began by putting the first two inthelarge dog crate I use to quarantine foster dogs with kennel cough (it’s not contagiousto cats or people). I managed to corral all the cats. Miraculously, no one was hurt.
It would take hours to sort through this epic mess. I never made it to sleep that night, and I’m still sorting through the mess, which is why I didn’t postyesterday. My new Bisselland I are bestbuds, joined at the hip.But I also have a new best friend who’s a great dealmore cute and cuddly than any home appliance, and her sweet presence tookconsiderable edge off this tense situation.
For almost four days, my cats had been hosting a newcomer in their quarters: Lady Bug the Chihuahua, the new foster dog I picked up on Saturday. The tiny stray had been picked up by animal control, and was now facing euthanasia at the crowded city shelter. That experience must’ve really toughened her up, because throughoutour nightlongnightmare, Lady Bug, a.k.a. Bug,proved herself to bea real trouper. While I worked to sort through the rubble recovering missing cats, she remained impressively calm.
I had to open the window to let in some air (and hopefully let out some dust). The temperature in the living room instantly plunged, but Bug didn’t complain – she just burrowed her nine-pound frame deeper into her blankets, curled up, and went to sleep. Lest yoususpect that’s because she’s old and deaf – far from it. Bug is young and her hearing is fine. She’s just a good dog, a real sweetheart. Talk about grace under pressure!
Chihuahuas are often lampooned as “yappy” little critters, and I confess that – having never lived with one before- Ihad noreason to question that stereotype. So I daresay Ifound myselfmore floored by the fact that Bug didn’t utter a singlepeepon our nightmare nightthan I was by thesorry condition ofmy living room!
I will never look at Chihuahuas the same way again.
In every way,Bug has inspireda major new appreciation for miniature dogs. She’s unbelievably sweet and gentle, and very generous with tender kisses. She even licksmy cats, and gingerly cleans their ears! Although she’s small enough to be a toy, she’s not – she’s a real dog, a bigK9personality in a small package. Think “Honey, I Shrunk the Doberman.”
The temptation is great to want to pick her up and carry her around everywhere – she’s a love Bug after all – butshe loves walkingfor herselfjust as all dogs do, soshe gets aroundon a leash just like all my other (large) K9s. I’ve been treatingBug exactly the sameway I treat my big dogs, and she seems to like it. She certainly trots along with confidence to spare, her head and tail held high.
And whenBug was introduced to my pit bull Lazarus yesterday – underthe tight and expert supervision oftrainer Robert Haussmann, a.k.a. Dogboy – she behaved like a lady and achamp. Don’t believe me? I’ll be posting video footage of the session soon!
Lady Bug is my hero. She may be a small creature, but she’s great.
Are you big on little dogs? Please tell us why in the comments!