Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jedda's Story - not a Chihuahua

Jedda loves a
good belly rub!

(Click to view larger image.)
One day Mum called me with a strange request. "Robert, would you like a dog? It's not a Chihuahua!" This was peculiar: Mum rescues Chihuahuas after all.

I asked Mum why she picked up a non-Chihuahua in the first place. She told me the request came from an elderly lady, Marie, who lived in a flat by herself but was being moved into a care facility that wouldn't allow pets. (Why do they break up families like that?!)

Walk now?
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Mum explained, "The dear grandmother described the dog to me; black and white, wiry hair, medium size. Her name is Jedda. I knew it wasn't a Chihuahua and said I could only take Chihuahuas in. Marie burst into tears over the phone, 'What am I going to do? I have no one else.' My heart broke and I couldn't say no."

Marie had loved Jedda for five years; Jedda was the light of her life and beloved by her neighbours as well. But recently things had gotten bad and she couldn't walk Jedda any more. Marie couldn't even perform the most basic tasks for herself without agony. Her family were moving her into a home.

Walk on a sunny
Melbourne day.

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Marie told Mum that Jedda was a very active dog: she needed walking every day plus she was the smartest doggie in the world. I have heard this before - the previous Chihuahua I took from Mum (since re-homed) was a "specially trained Hearing Dog" who would tell you when the phone rang or someone came to the door. We got him home and I rang our number from my mobile. The pudgy little fella sat there staring up at us while the phone rang and his tail swished once or twice. I swear the look on his face was either "what's that sound?" or "I know you can hear - answer the phone already!"

The paperwork was signed quickly and Marie said she wanted to let Jedda say good-bye to her favorite neighbour. She said "Let's say good-bye to George!" and opened the door. Jedda bounded out and down the driveway - her tail wagging fast enough to blur - turned left and waited at the gate to George's house, two doors down. Well, that sounds smart to me.

In our local dog
park, looking out for
other doggies.

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So we took Jedda, who is not a Chihuahua, but a scruffy, wire haired terrier. I walk her often through our local dog park. When she meets any doggie bigger than her she tries to boss them around. There is the initial "I smell you, you smell me", then she puffs out her chest and attempts to stare down (up) the other doggie, and sometimes gives a bark and growl! Off the leash I have never seen her do this, which I think attests to that intellect of hers.

Patiently waiting for
us to finish a coffee and
continue the walk!

(Click to view larger image.)
When I come home she is the first to greet me, barking and jumping and so outrageously happy that I cannot help but smile and play with her, no matter what sort of day I have had. She is 10 now, and deaf enough that I have to shout to be heard - so some days I have to search her out for that first greeting, which is nevertheless just as ebullient. Her sight is going too. Walking her at night, she does not bound out in front as much as she used to, and often stays so close to me that she is underfoot.

Whenever I am putting shoes or shorts on, suddenly she is there, sitting and looking at me with expectant eyes and tremulous tail, knowing the next step is to get the leash. I try and trick her by hiding the leash and holding out empty hands. She isn't fooled: she has worked out that if I am teasing her about it, I will end up walking her, irrespective of whether I have the leash in my hands. After each walk, she gets a Schmakos, and looks at me just as expectantly every time we get inside the house again.

Belly rub now?
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Like most other dogs, she doesn't like to be bathed and will hide under the lounge room table when she hears me knocking around in the laundry. Once in the tub she is pliant enough, except that if I don't keep one hand on her at all times she will very deliberately shake water all over me! After a bath comes a long brushing, which she loves even more than walks. Each time the brush goes down her spine and touches that sweet spot on her back where her tail bone starts, Jedda shivers in such a way that I am rather jealous!

Oh, you want to take
more photos.. ok. *sigh*

(Click to view larger image.)
I have had dogs around me most of my life, cats too. It is marvellous how different they are, and how each fits so perfectly into my life and family. Jedda is an endless source of boisterous joy, bringing laughter to us every time she wags her tail or rolls over to show her belly. My cat, Nebulous, on the other hand, is a much calmer source of contentment. Whenever I lie down on the couch, she curls up on my chest, purrs (and dribbles - she is 25!) and snoozes like a small furry massage device for the soul. Whenever I am not lying down she sits on the floor in front of me and miaows until I do!

I often wonder about Marie; how is she doing, does she miss Jedda - and I find myself wondering the same about Jedda. Does she remember Marie, and miss living with her? Once, while walking down the street with Jedda I passed an elderly lady with white hair and a very friendly face. Jedda jumped and ran up to her in a way I have never seen her do with any other stranger. I think she does remember Marie, and if that's a conceit on my part, I am glad for it. Because when I look into Jedda's eyes, I see someone looking back at me. My friend.

I dedicate this story to my Mum and Dad, who rescue Chihuahuas (and the occasional non Chihuahua). Find out more about them at the Chihuahua Rescue Victoria website.