Because not everyone has two furry lights-of-their-lives, I’ve put this page where it can only be discovered by fellow nuts like me. If you found this page you are like me- puppy crazy. I would be kitty-crazy and lots of other animals-crazy but Gil has allergies. Stupid Gil. He’s ruining everything. Anyway, here you can read Rosie’s remarkable history and learn more about our newest addition, Bluebell.
I was heartbroken for almost ten years after my Lucy ran away. My mom was now volunteering for the National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado Springs. I don’t know if you know anything about puppy mills, but they are way worse than you can even imagine. Mom was always fostering one dog (or five) when I’d come to visit my folks. I never had a second thought about the poor pups that came in. I knew they were safe now and someone would love them. I could play with them for a week and then go home empty handed, despite my mom's none-too-subtle urging to adopt. One trip, a ridiculously small puppy was there. My mom described stacking empty crates at midnight after the team returned from a rescue in Missouri. It was December and about 19 degrees outside in Colorado Springs. She said she heard some newspaper rustle in the back of a big crate so she reached in and pulled out this two-pound puppy. She brought her home that night and had been fattening her up ever since. Rosie was blind, too. Poor nutrition for the mothers and inbreeding the dogs sometimes leads to microphthalmia (small eyes) in the puppies. Brain damage is also common in cases like hers. Rosie had clearly been traumatized during the first four months of her life. When I first saw her, she barely came out of her crate and then only to eat. She was so ugly! Her eyes were deformed-one was bigger than the other- and her fur was patchy. She looked like Sloth from the Goonies. But when this tiny little scrap of a life staggered around looking for her bowl, I felt my heart explode with love. She didn’t have much going on behind her eyes but I saw a flickering of light, and knew someone was in there. I scooped her up and tucked her into my shirt. She stayed there for the rest of my visit.
Not wanting to arrive home with a surprise puppy, I agonized over the decision to keep her. Gil, who’d never had a dog growing up, wouldn’t understand why I loved her so much already. He didn’t want a dog and most definitely did not want a Chihuahua. He would be angry, and rightly so, if I made a unilateral decision like this. Then, a few hours before I was to leave for the airport, Rosie survived death a second time. Over the week, she’d begun exploring the hallway, sniffing around and bumping into the baseboards. My dad uses a power wheelchair- I bet you can see where this is going- and backed up, not knowing she was there. She let out a series of ear-piercing howls. We thought she was dying. My mom rushed her to the vet while my dad and I sat there in tears. Just before I got on the plane, I got a message that she was only bruised and would stay the night under observation.
It only took 48 hours after I got home before I broke down sobbing and told Gil I wanted her to come and live with us. I stated my case: nobody would ever adopt her because she was blind and possibly brain damaged. She had already survived death twice and I thought we could give her a happy life for however long she’d live. Plus I’d let him pick her name! “Of course!” he said. “I’m surprised that you came home without her!” This guy is a keeper. We decided that he would fly to Colorado Springs to get her since he wanted to do some marathon training at high altitude. My mom picked him up at the airport and plopped Rosie into his lap. I got a text from Gil a few minutes later. It read ‘Rosebud. Her name is Rosebud.’ Ewwww, I thought. Rosebud?
We took her to the vet and got a clean bill of health. No brain damage that they could ascertain, no liver shunt, absolutely no vision but her eyes looked otherwise healthy. She was starting to light up a little more each day. We fed her special food, gave her lots of time to play in the yard and cuddled her constantly. She wrapped Gil right around her tiny paw. After a while, she learned her way around the house. She started barking. She grew into her fur. We took her everywhere we went. We got her a puppy sitter to look after her while we were at work. We got her to follow us when we went for walks. Pretty soon, she'd chase us around empty fields. At 3 years old, Rosie is a firecracker. She’s indomitable, unsinkable, impossible to ignore! She chases bees and charges at dogs ten times her size. We adore her. Her puppy sitter’s family became our family. She’s the star of every preschool class she’s ever visited with our puppy sitter's son. People all over town remember who she is. She’s gone on trips to the coast with her other family. That's right. This puppy goes on vacations without us. Rosebud is a perfect name for her. We had no idea we’d love this little creature so much. She’s our teeny-tiny ball of joy.
Then there was Bluebell. I’d been searching for a companion for Rosie for over a year. This dog had to be special- Rosie is a special pup. She needed a dog that would be gentle and playful with her. In October, I saw an ad for a 5-year-old Chihuahua on Craig’s List. Her family had recently become homeless and they needed to find a good home for her, Bella,and fast. When we went to meet her, she hopped up onto my lap and rolled over for a belly rub. Done. We brought her home with us right then. Since her first family named her Bella, it didn't seem right to change it. I added "blue" to it but really, who calls their dog by their actual name? Having Bluebell live with us these last months made us realize that ROSIE IS A MONSTER. She is bossy, defensive and gets really jealous if we give Belly any attention at all. She’s basically a two year old child. Belly is more independent and easygoing. She is a champion beggar and gets super jazzed when we come home. She can go up and down stairs by herself even though her back leg is not exactly working. Badly healed fracture? Severe luxating patella? We still aren’t sure. She is patient and sweet. She is much more obedient that Rosie is. Bellybutton is basically an 8 year old child. Rosie will take what you’ve said into consideration. She'll think it over and then do whatever the hell she wants to. Bells will actually listen when you tell her she can’t go into the street. It is so much fun to see Bluebell’s personality emerging and how she and Rosie interact with each other. We can’t imagine life without them.
Gil and I rarely take pictures anymore and when we do, they are usually of the puppies sleeping on us. I think it's safe to say we take a lot of naps at my house. I'm almost embarrassed to post these. Almost. There are many more photos of us with Rosie but that’s only because we’ve had her longer. We’ll catch up with Bluebell, too.
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