My little Valentine puppy
My little puppy was an early Valentine
Every year when February rolls around, I remember the day I rescued my precious baby from a dog pound. I like to call him my little Valentine puppy because I got him on February 12 in 2002.
To commemorate our special day, I always tell my baby the story of how his mama found him. And this year, in honor of our 10th anniversary, I'm going to share our story with everyone.
All photos © 2012 Lynda Makara
Searching for my baby
In January 2002 I was living alone in the Montana countryside having just lost my beloved Samoyed. I really needed to find another dog to love and to save me from the unbearable loneliness of my empty house. I did lots of searching locally and online at various animal shelters. I filled out an online application with my information and the type of dog I was looking for.
About a week later I got a call from a dog pound 200 miles away from my house. An owner had turned in a one-year old Pomeranian, just what I wanted. She said I could pick him up in a week, after giving the owner seven days to change his mind. They sent me his picture. He was black with white whiskers around his mouth. He was perfect.
I put his picture on my computer screen. I looked at it often and talked to him. I thought about names for him. His old name was Max, but he didn't look like a Max. He was going to have a new home and new name. At first I thought about Chewbacca Choo Choo. But by the end of the week he was just Choo Choo.
Our first meeting
The happy day finally came when I could make the three hour drive to pick him up. Fortunately, the weather was good. Even the mountain passes were clear of snow which was very unusual.
I was so excited to finally arrive at the dog pound. They took me through the kennels to his cage. Before he could even see me he started crying. I like to think he knew his mama had come to rescue him.
They said I could walk him around the yard awhile to get acquainted. The first thing I did was feed him some chicken that I'd brought for him. After that he wasn't interested in taking a walk. He just wanted to be by my side, or preferably, in my arms. A short while later we went into the office to make it official. At some point I excused myself to use the restroom. He started crying and followed after me. We had bonded.
We made the long drive back home. The weather was still good, and so was he, in the seat beside me nestled in a blanket.
Our new life
For the first couple of days Choo Choo was a little timid and wanted to sit on my lap all the time. But he soon got comfortable in his new home. We played, went for walks and cuddled. Life was good. But not perfect.
About six months later I discovered he wasn't entirely housebroken, as I'd been told. I talked to several dog trainers and found one who said he could help. Choo Choo had to go to doggie boot camp for ten days. That was a long ten days. After that, the trainer trained me so I could continue with the exercises.
When Choo Choo came home, not only was he housebroken, but he had learned several tricks. He's a very smart dog and willing to please. The trainer taught him all the basic commands: heel, sit, stay, come, and my favorite, "bang, you're dead," where he rolls over. I've also taught him some tricks like shake, high five, teddy bear, mama needs a hug (puts his paws on my shoulders) and give mama kissie. Sounds a little sickening, I know, but it's really cute when I come home and ask him for a hug and a kiss.
Choo Choo speaks
I used to live in another house with different people. There were lots of dogs. We fought over the food and I didn't get enough to eat. We were all Pomeranians but I was the largest. The people said I was too big. They didn't like me. They never taught me how to go potty outside. They yelled at me when I went potty in the house. They called me a dumb dog. Then one day they put me in the car and took me to a strange place. A big gray building with cages and concrete floors that smelled like pee. They put me in a cage and left. I was scared and lonely. I cried. I don't know how long I was there. It felt endless. Then one day a lady came and took me out of the cage. She gave me chicken. I liked her. She said she was my real mama and she'd been looking everywhere for me. I felt safe with her. She put me in the car and took me to my forever home.
Photos of my little Valentine puppyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Every day I'd take my little Valentine puppy to a nearby park where we would practice our training. I made up some silly little songs to sing to him. One of them was to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot" but the words are:
My baby Choo Choo's short and stout
So darn cute from his tail to his snout!
He follows his mamma all day long
And misses her when she is gone.
Then when she comes back all is well.
He runs around the house and wags his tail!
I made a painting of him and the poem.
My Choo Choo painting
For the past ten years Choo Choo's been the light of my life. Still as frisky as ever, although a little grayer, just like his mama (if she didn't dye her hair!)
Happy anniversary, my little Valentine puppy!
Does this mean I get breakfast in bed?
The final chapter: My baby's dead
Choo Choo died on April 1, 2013 following an illness. I did everything I could to try and save him but he just kept getting worse. I realized he was dying and I hoped he could die peacefully at home, but on that last day he became very uncomfortable and I had to put him down.
My heart is broken. We spent 11 years together and it went by so fast. It all just seems like a dream. I miss holding him with his little fuzzy head under my chin. He was so soft. And smart. And funny. He was everything to me. Now he's gone and all that's left is a lock of his hair.
The last picture of Choo Choo
This picture was taken two days before Choo Choo's death. He was very weak. I thought he was cold so I put the blanket over him.
I will always love you, my little Valentine puppy.
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© 2012 Lynda Makara