Miss Idaho was one of the first two dogs I ever loved as an adult. She and her sidekick Harriet taught me what a dog’s love really was: true and unconditional and unwavering and REALLY excited to be those things.
Lala never meant to own a six pound dog. (Who does, though?) Miss Idaho was abandoned in a yard, covered with mange and had no hair left, just scabbed skin over half of her body. Lala wasn’t rich and it took money to get that little girl healthy. Miss Idaho was worth it.
She was small enough to sit in Lala’s hand.
Now, every unexpected chihuahua needs a sweater, especially one who goes back and forth to Idaho.
So Lala learned how to knit in order to make those sweaters for Miss Idaho, traveling dog of awesomness.
And because she learned to knit, Lala and I met. I fell in love with her dogs as well as with her.
So really, it’s all Miss Idaho’s sweater-wearing fault that I’m broken-hearted today.
Miss Idaho never knew she was small. I know that’s a small-dog cliche, but it was true. Once someone asked me at a dog park why I didn’t take her into the small-dog park, and I was stunned. It had never occurred to me to do so.
She always had her tongue out, asleep or awake. The tongue got longer and longer as she got older and older (tongues lose muscle tone, too).
Rarely shaky or barky in the traditional chihuahua way, she was the Alerter of the family, but only when we needed to be Alerted. She heard Lala coming home when she was still fifteen miles away. She liked to pee on anything soft on the floor, be it towel or rug or carpet. We couldn’t put down rugs, a shame in a house that mostly has tile and wood floors. We always joked we’d go straight to Ikea and buy a rug when she died (this happened early this morning. We’ve already been to Ikea, no lie).
She burrowed under covers when it was cold — I always knew it was time to switch to the winter blanket the first night she crawled under it with us. She slept with us every night, the only animal in this menagerie-house to do so. When she was younger and we were going on a walk, she would jump up and bite us on the butt.
All Miss Idahos wear cowboy hats, you know.
Miss Idaho was sick (congestive heart failure and a heart that was—quite literally—too big for her small body). Her breathing was getting worse and we’d just called the vet yesterday to see if we could increase her meds (the answer was yes, and we did). This morning her breathing got worse. We were on our way out of the house on the way to the vet when it became apparent she wouldn’t be around much longer, so we sat on the couch with her until the end.
Lala, the one who saved her, the one Miss Idaho loved best in all the world, held her as she took her last breaths.
Please don’t say everything happens for a reason. It doesn’t. We have proof that shit just happens. You don’t get over a loss — you just live with it, instead.
With Mom, Harriet, and a photobombing Clara.
But I found a dog on Sunday, a small, very young ten-pound Maltese mix. I’d dropped my wallet on the way out of the house and had to go back for it. (I have never dropped my wallet once. In my life. Anywhere.) When I got to the house, Theodosia was running past our gate. We’ve posted her info everywhere we can, and no one is calling.
Lala said that maybe Miss Idaho knew we’d need a tiny dog.