The Legend of Harry, the Chinese Crested
Dixie Dogs and Chinese Dogs
In the spring of 2001, my husband, son and I went down to Citrus County, Florida from our home in Tallahassee to visit my friend and family for the weekend. We spent the weekend at my friend's apartment and had a great time. That Sunday morning, my husband woke up early and headed down to Howard's Flea Market in Homosassa Springs to check out the bargains, and get one of the legendary Dixie Dogs. I slept in and enjoyed every second.
My husband returned and told me about a poor little dog he saw at the flea market. He said that he was the last dog and no one was interested in buying him. He looked very lonely, and was not the cutest dog, so that is why all the other dogs were bought. But not this little guy. He was awkward with patches of hair and patches of bald. He told me I should see him for myself, and that he seemed so sweet and curious. My husband prodded and of course, I had to see this poor little orphan dog he spoke of.
A New Family Member
We got to Howard's Flea Market and Bryan took me straight to the little orphan dog, a Chinese Crested. There he was, all of his brothers and sisters gone. Just this lonely kid in a cage. He looked right through me with his big brown eyes and I had to rescue him. He was so pathetically cute. We paid $75 for him and took him back to my friend's apartment.
We took him back to Tallahassee where we called home and set off to give him a happy life. We brought him home to our 4 year old Maltese Sonny. At last, Sonny would have a playmate, and this poor little guy would have a family of his own. We named him Harry.
The Adventures of Harry
My friend Becky had a rat terrier named Sammy, and she would bring him over to our house in Tallahassee for play dates with Harry. Sammy was a crazy little dog, full of energy, and he taught some bad habits to Harry, like jumping up on doors to try and open them.
Becky told us about a dog contest sponsored by the Leon County Animal Shelter, and encouraged us to enter Harry. We did, and Harry won 1st place in the "Most Unusual Dog" category! They changed the name from the year prior (from "Ugliest Dog"). At least Harry's feeling's weren't hurt.
We lived in Tallahassee for another year, and then moved to Crystal River, Florida in March of 2002. We had just settled into our new house, and didn't hear our brother-in-law knocking on the door. He decided to come in, and as he walked toward our kitchen, Harry came up behind him and bit him on the butt! He also bit our neighbor, so we hired a dog trainer to come over and give him a little Rover 101. It worked like a charm. Harry learned to sit, stay, come, and lay down. We taught him how to shake, too.
Harry was a fierce protector of our family. If anyone play fought, he would get very upset and try to intimidate whomever he saw as the aggressor. Harry was the biggest defender of the innocent and children.
Harry had an incredible appetite. He was ALWAYS hungry and knew the kitchen sounds on command! If he heard drawers opening, microwave doors, etc, he would run to the kitchen. I called him my kitchen mascot.
My Chinese Crested, Harry
The Last Days
Harry had a hard time the last year or so of his life. He kept gaining weight. We took him to the park for walks and he loved it, but it wasn't enough to keep his weight down. One night, Harry started having terrible seizures. We were devastated. The vet put him on anti-seizure meds, but break-through seizures still came on frequently. Harry continued to have seizures for months, and they got progressively worse. It finally got to be more than he could handle. They were very debilitating and he couldn't see, hear or keep his balance for a long time after these episodes. We made the painful decision to have Harry laid to rest in February of 2012. We love him still and think about him every day. Everyone in our families loved him and his gentle soul.
A New Beginning
After losing Harry, we were devastated. Our Maltese Sonny is 15 years old, so we never thought he would outlive Harry. Sonny was so lonely and instantly acted older after Harry was gone. The pain was great that we decided to not get any more dogs. After all, we still have Sonny, and we also have two cats, Lilly and Max, to keep us busy.
In August of 2012, we went with some of our best friends to Howard's Flea Market on a Sunday to get some more of those legendary Dixie Dogs, just as we love to do at least once a month or so. We decided to walk around afterwards and look at the day's treasures. As we walked along, lo and behold, we see Chinese Crested puppies in a crate. It is a brother and sister, both full blooded and one is a hairless and one is a power puff. I asked to hold the hairless (who is the boy) and he is so adorable. The memories of Harry were flooding back. I asked my husband if he wanted to hold him, but he was too shaken up. He quickly turned his back and walked away. I gave the puppy back to the breeder and told him about our Chinese Crested. They understood. The puppy was $400 according to the sign. They mentioned giving us a discount if we were interested in him.
I caught up with my husband and I couldn't stop crying. The emotions were so strong. My friends were all hugging me and offering comfort. My husband couldn't stop thinking about Harry, and that cute little Chinese Crested puppy. He said if he had enough cash, he would like to buy him. He looked in his wallet and had $300. I told him we should go back and that he should at least hold the puppy to see what he felt.
We went back and my husband held back his tears and held the little 6 pound puppy. He knew that we had to bring him home. We asked the breeders how much they would charge and they said $350. My husband told them we only had $300 on us, and they talked it over for a brief second and said they would be happy to sell him to us for that. They knew we would take good care of him and give him a happy home. My husband and I know that Harry had something to do with the chain of events - a divine intervention from doggy heaven.
I held the puppy in my arms that whole afternoon, and he slept in the crook of my arm the entire night. We named him "Lucky". He is the funniest little dog, and reminds us so much of Harry. We have had Lucky for two weeks and he is a very smart dog. Plus did I mention how spoiled he is? I cuddle with him every chance I get! He is the same type of dog as the dog in the movie "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days" with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.
Lucky is sleeping near me as I type this little blog in memory of Harry, the Chinese Crested who paved the way for him. He would have loved Harry as much as we do, possibly more. Harry must be his Guardian Angel.
- Dixie Dogs - 6269 S Suncoast Blvd, Homosassa, FL
13 reviews of Dixie Dogs: "Dixie dogs are the best on Sunday mornings! I've been going there since I was very little and I'm never disappointed."