OUR CO-FOUNDER ABBY
About 4 years ago when I was volunteering with an all breed rescue, we got a call from animal control that they had a little tri color female chi with a bad heart murmur and would our group consider New Hoping her. A volunteer went to the pound picked her up, took her to one of their vets to be evaluated. The vet said that she had Congestive Heart Failure but, with proper care, could probably live another 2 to 5 years so she was New Hoped. At that time I had no use for Chihuahuas and thought of them as little nippy, noisy things. I had some friends who were going to foster her so delivered her to them. I paid little attention to her as I only liked medium and large dogs. They named her Abby. She was with them a couple of weeks when she had a skin condition, their sitter thought it was ring worm so said either get rid of her or the sitter would quit. They called me, there was no room in any home so I agreed to foster her. My two sons share a bathroom that used to be a utility room so is about 6 feet by 8 feet. I told them she would share their bathroom and they would have to walk her as I could not let her in the rest of the house because our big dogs would eat her. That went well for one day. On the second day, no one was around but me so I went into the bathroom to take her for a walk, found myself chatting with her and slowly developed a very deep love for her and a total love for the breed. By the 3rd day I asked my kids to help me integrate her into the family. No problem – this little lady became the boss of the big dogs and of us too. Abby was a tri color and so strong willed and very smart. Along came Michele and Rob who wanted to adopt her. They had lost their young Chihuahua, Taz to a snake and Abby looked a lot like an older version of Taz. They fostered Abby for a short while. Turns out, Michele’s other chihuahuas were not so accommodating to Abby so back to my house she came. But Michele and I bonded over Chihuahuas during this time. I remember when I went back to their home to pick her up, Rob said that I would end up keeping her. I thought he was wrong but he was not. I agreed to sanctuary her for the other rescue group. As Michele and I worked together eventually forming ACR, I asked to adopt her from the other group as I was leaving them and wanted to make sure Abby would always be with us. Abby was our little dumpster diving chi hootie. She would somehow get onto the top of the washing machine, then make a dramatic leap into the garbage can to see if there was any good stuff in there to nibble on. If the can was empty and she landed in an empty bag she would “chatter” angrily so one of us would hear her and get her out. She gave us many laughs. For about a year or so she had not been able to do her dumpster diving. Many times I thought she was going to leave us but she would rebound. She seemed to want to live and I was not going to change that. Often she would have trouble breathing as her lungs were very diseased but she never missed a meal and her output was okay. In the last six months she seemed to age a lot, her muzzle got very gray, her vision and hearing were not good and often she would potty in the house. I did not care as I was just grateful that she could still pee and poop. About a week before she died I had a nice private chat with her. I told her about all my early feelings and how knowing her changed my opinion of chihuahuas. I also told her she did not need to hang around unless she wanted to, that I would be okay. Then I told her how many lives she had been responsible for saving and how proud she should be of herself. Through Abby, Michele and I met and Az Chi Rescue was started.
AN ABBY STORY FROM BARB’S DAUGHTER:
A few years ago I was visiting my family, I’m from Tucson, for Thanksgiving. When we were all done eating I had gotten up to help Mom clear the table and throw the trash away. Well I had a huge surprise, because there was Abby sitting on top of the trash in the garbage can, munching on a huge drumstick. You have to understand that Abby had to do some climbing to get into it. As far as I figured, she had climbed onto the dog food, didn’t want that, got onto the counter and then jumped over the gate into the trash can. I thought I’d just take it away from her, but for such a small dog, she was doggone strong. I ended up taking the drumstick and her out of the trash, and she was just hanging on with her mouth and wouldn’t let go. I kept her over the floor close enough so when she finally let go, she wouldn’t get hurt. I so wish I had a picture of that moment, but will always remember what a tough and resourceful little bugger she was, and will miss her terribly!