Nurture and Be Nurtured
The black and white Chihuahua and I bonded as soon as I held her. I carried Lily around the house by day, snuggled with her at night, and lamented her whimpering whenever I left the house. Acquiring a six week old tan Chihuahua puppy I named Rosie, gave Lily something to nurture, so her whimpering stopped.
Over the next decade my dogs grew from young to middle aged, and eventually crossed that invisible line into old age. It was easy to envision our placid existence flowing on forever, but that changed last summer when Lily underwent surgery to remove some malignant cysts. The next three months were magical, and not morbid. I gave special attention to both dogs since Rosie too had been diagnosed with cancer. Extra time spent cuddling, petting, nurturing, and talking to the dogs helped all of us find comfort in a final ritual of bonding.
During that same summer, there was a cream colored Chihuahua who was not being nurtured at all. She was tied up outside, nearly starved and awaiting either adoptive care or destruction when Chihuahua Rescue found her.
Lily’s condition grew worse. She died in my arms minutes before I was to have her put to sleep, and when Rosie was euthanized three weeks later, I was exhausted from bouts of profound weeping.
“There is a dog in town that needs to be your dog,” a friend told me after seeing a picture online. “It may be too soon for you but it is not too soon for her.” So I adopted Leela, the cream colored former starveling who had been rescued two months earlier. It may be she who rescued me, for as soon as she became my little dog, I could speak about the two dogs I had lost without any tears.