Our weekend took an unexpected turn when this little dog ran into the middle of a busy street.
My daughter and I had just left the house on Saturday to hit some yard sales when my daughter practically started screaming. I'd already seen the dog, but hoped there was someone watching her. When the chihuahua started running back and forth from the sidewalk into the road and no one tried to stop her, we knew we had to help.
From past experience, I figured that we could try to catch the dog, but that she'd never let us touch her. I was shocked when the chihuahua let my daughter pick her up! She had a collar but no tags.
We tried knocking on doors to find the owner, but no luck. I didn't want to take her to the shelter right away (because there are fines you have to pay to get your dog back if it's brought in, not to mention the stress and trauma a little dog like that would go through at the animal shelter), so I posted about her on as many local lost and found pet sites as I could, and we kept her with us while we went yard saling.
I absolutely love animals and can't help but want to save any that I can, Even though this one was actually really cute and seemed kinda sweet, I thought I was safe because I've never liked chihuahuas. They're ugly little rat-dogs that are always shivering and peeing everywhere. And Erik, my husband, is even less than a fan than me. It would be easy to let this one go after we found its home. I'd just let me daughter enjoy dog sitting for a little while (build some character and all that).
A few hours later, she had grown on me. I tried to joke about her ears being bigger than her body, and her quivering like a leaf, but as she got used to us, the shivering stopped. She got more affectionate by the minute and kept trying to snuggle with me and lick me, even though I kept moving her back to my daughter's lap. And she didn't have a single accident (for which I was grateful and relieved!)
By the afternoon, no one had claimed her. We drove to the shelter, where they could check if she was microchipped, and we would leave her for the owner to find.
In Utah, if you brought in a stray, they had to impound it and that was the end. It was as strict as closed adoption records. I'd dropped off strays before and they would never tell me if their owners had picked them up, if they'd been adopted, or if they'd been put down. I always felt horrible taking strays to shelters there, and I tried to foster them whenever possible instead (with mixed results—I remember one dog kept coming back to us after we found its owners but eventually stayed home, and we ended up adopting a stray kitten, which you can read about here) but there were times they just had to be taken in.
Apparently, California animal shelters are a lot different than Utah's. We took the chihuahua to the Solano County Animal Shelter, and they told us she wasn't microchipped or reported missing. Then, the receptionist caught me completely off guard by asking me if we wanted to take the dog home and foster her until she was claimed or leave her at the animal shelter. My daughter, holding the little dog, gave me the saddest, most hopeful look.
I already had guilt and issues from losing track of all those other strays before, I could let this little darling (which we'd nicknamed Eloise—Ellie for short, after the Eloise books because I could already tell she was a little scamp) get put into the system if I could help it. I was sure we could find the owner by Monday.
I figured it would be a bit of a long weekend. I didn't know if the dog was potty trained or how she would get along with everyone. I assumed our dog would be fine, she is terrified of any dog her size or bigger, but absolutely loves smaller dogs. Our cats actually didn't mind too much (Dobby just avoided Eloise and Kylo eventually made friends).
All the rest of us fell for her. Between her playfulness, snuggles, following us around like, well, like a little puppy, and how excited she got every time you'd walk into the room, we are smitten! She's so tiny but has a big heart.
We couldn't figure out why she wouldn't stop digging in the couch! Before I started recording, I thought her head was stuck!
Tiny Catwoman says, "Nope, still too big. Try again." Sorry, Selena, this is just about as small as dogs come.
According to the shelter, Ellie is a smooth-haired chihuahua around six months old, Our best guess, from her physical state, is that she ran away or escaped when she was in heat. Judging from the level of flea infestation we had to eradicate, she's been on the run for a while now.
We knew we were getting to attached to this dog. The law is that if we foster her, we have to wait 30 days before starting the adoption process. In that time, an owner may or may not show up. But, if we kept her any longer and had to give her up, it would leave a permanent scar, especially for the kids. If we gave her to the shelter, they use their resources (which are broader than ours) to search for the owner, but she could be available for adoption in as little as 1 week.
We'd just decided to leave to take her to the shelter, and this happened (see the video above).
So, we took her to the animal shelter yesterday. It was a very tearful goodbye,
We'd given her a few toys and the bone that she dug out of the couch (a treasure she'd rightfully earned), and the shelter promised she could keep them (you can even see the toys above in the background of the picture the shelter posted on their website).
While Eloise's owner never claimed her, she was put up for adoption and found a new home right away!
If you are planning to get a new pet, please consider adopting from your local animal shelter! There are so many sweet animals like Ellie out there that need your love and will give you even more love than you can imagine in return.
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I'm a single mom with 3 special needs children, living in Utah, overcoming mental illness and crazy health problems to pull my family out of poverty and live my dreams as an author.
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Medical information is based on my own beliefs and experience. Nothing on this site should be used instead of professional medical advice.
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