Story Told by An American Traveler
During my travels, I get to know different people; listening and enjoying their stories, I never cease wondering about things they have seen and heard.
On this particular occasion, I met a veterinarian from California who worked on the Mexican border, checking the import and export of animals. This time he saw something quite unusual.
A middle-aged couple walked into the vet’s office holding a small creature. "Doctor,” they said, “we got so lucky - we found it on the road by accident, and the children were so happy -- they fed it, gave it water...”
The doctor knew that they were thinking of a small canine breed of Chihuahua that lives in the mountains of Mexico.
In America before the times of Christopher Columbus, these mysterious little dogs were used in religious ceremonies; the highest nobility circles had Chihuahua dogs as pets. The breed gets its name from the Mexican state where it was found. These dogs are small in size - from 15 to 23 centimeters long, and live about 14-18 years.
There are different theories about the origin of this species, but according to archeological findings, Mexico remains its primary pace of origin.
Identical images of Chihuahua dogs can be found in the paintings of the Sistine Chapel made by Sandro Botticelli in 1482. However, one cannot argue with the archeological findings, so it is widely accepted that Chihuahuas are descendants of the Techichi dogs, a small dog kept by the Toltec people of Mexico.
According to the archaeological research results, the ancestors of Chihuahuas were slightly bigger that the contemporary dogs.
Their remains were found in the pyramids of the 2nd century BC and can be traced as far as to the excavations in the 16th century. When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, the dogs were treated with reverence; they were believed to have special powers.
Pictures and sculptures of these miniature animals were used as ornaments in urban architecture.
There are two types of Chihuahuas - long-haired and smooth. The latter type is called "a royal miniature;” the long-haired type is called “sun dogs.” Their ears are also different and have small tufts of fur at the tip.
Their eyes are round and expressive, dark in color, their ears are big and erect, and their tail is long.
Their coloring varies, with an occasional blue tint, and they weigh between 500 g to 3 kg. This breed is very loyal to its master, and generally boasts good personal traits.
In 1904, the Chihuahua breed was recognized by the American Kennel Society.
And what did our travelers, who had very little knowledge of the breed, hear from the veterinarian? The doctor examined their new pet and asked very gently whether they have ever heard their “dog” bark. “No,” the family replied in a chorus.
It was time for the vet’s verdict: You never heard any barking because it is not a Chihuahua… it is, in fact, a rat!”
Oh, what a surprise this must have been for our travelers!
The moral of the story is – when you are traveling, before picking up something unfamiliar, learn as much as you can about the country and its inhabitants.