Several years ago, I was browsing on Craigslist when I scrolled through the pet column and saw the cutest pooch. She was a one year old female, black and white shih tsu–bichon fries, a “designer” dog that was being offered free. I had been longing for a dog but I hadn’t voiced my desire so I surprised my husband when I said I wanted a dog. Fortunately, he is very easy-going and agreed.
I contacted the party who placed the ad and a few days later a very nice lady showed up at my business with Valentina in tow. She was a friendly dog and when I sat down on the floor she promptly climbed into my lap. She snuggled up to me and I was hooked. I took possession of Valentina then and there. She was mine. She came complete with leash and collar, a dog dish, and a crate but not much else.
At the end of the day when I was finished working I loaded Valentina into my car to take her home by way of the pet store. There I got her a bed, dog food, and an I.D. tag. But I did not use Valentina on it, instead I chose Holly as her name in honor of her arrival the day before Christmas
Our first night was a disaster. Holly was suppose to sleep in her crate but when it was time for bed but she whined constantly so no one slept. In the middle of the night I finally took her out of the crate and penned her up in the kitchen with a gate. She was frantic. She ran back and forth and barked loudly. I was frantic as I was now very tired and sleep didn’t seem like it was on the agenda. This was definitely not working the way I had hoped. By 5 a.m. we were settled nicely into my bed where we both fell asleep.
The next day was a holiday so I slept late but not Holly. She had to go potty and did it on the rug. When I finally awoke I stepped on her wet spot and was not very happy about my dog choice. I decided to spend most of the day doing dog training. Holly caught on quickly and was soon walking nicely on a leash and doing her business on grass. It was fun to be out and about with a dog by my side and Holly was really a sweet girl. I sensed that she was just as happy to be with me as I was with her.
Eventually over time the lessons stuck. The good thing was that Holly was bright and learned fast. She really wanted to please. When she licked my hand or face I just melted. It seemed like she was saying thank you for rescuing me.
Holly had thick curly fur that needed a lot of care. I was soon brushing her daily and trimming her weekly. Over time I would trim her fur shorter and shorter. My background as a hairdresser came in handy. I saved on the high cost of grooming and Holly avoided being crated, something she clearly resented.
Holly became a great store dog. Every morning I packed up her toys, her food, her bed, and a water dish and we drove ten minutes to downtown Danville. Eventually I duplicated these things and didn’t have to haul them each day.
Holly was in heaven. People came and went all day long but always stopped long enough to say hi and pat her. She loved the attention. Luckily the store was next to the Iron Horse Trail so we had the perfect place to take walks. Life with Holly was now working out well.
Leave it to me - a few months later I was browsing on Craigslist when I saw a face I couldn’t resist. His name was Nacho – unusual name for a shih tsu, better for a Chihuahua – but what a face. And he was free to a good home with another dog. His owners wanted to him to have a companion. I couldn’t ask Holly if she was lonely but thought she would be a good buddy. We drove to Fremont to meet Nacho. I’d let Holly decide if she liked Nacho. Sure enough, they got along famously. Holly was gentle and friendly. Nacho was beside himself with joy. They were bonded in a flash and have been ever since.
I promptly renamed Nacho “Hairy Mop” (“Mop”) for short. His hair went to the floor and his feet looked like oversized pom poms. He truly looked like a dustmop. I used my hairdressing skills on him as soon as I got him home. Mop was a great addition to our household. He coaxed Holly into playing and they were cute to watch. His perky personality really came to life and brought out the fun side of Holly. Only one problem, Mop was never potty trained and had lots of accidents. Where Holly was smart and learned quickly, Mop was as dumb as a doorbell. It took months to get him trained. But he was the most loving little critter and curled on anyone’s lap like a cat.
Five years later I still have Holly and Mop and they still sleep with me. They eat out of the same dish, drink out of the same bowl, and sleep curled up against each other. Our standing joke is this: The first one to lie down is the pillow. They have such a good time. This is the first time in my life that I have had two dogs at the same time and I am so glad that I rescued Holly and Hairy Mop.
More dog tails to come…