Our notorious little Chihuahua, known to folks here at kos as Senor Ricardo, died unexpectedly this morning. This feeling is probably a little like being water boarded. I keep thinking someone’s torturing me and I’m choking, on my own tears in this case.
It was near Christmas in 2007 when we first saw Ricardo up for adoption in a local pet store. He’d been born at a puppy mill. The rescue lady said they believed he was about 5 or 6 when the owner of the operation died suddenly. The owner’s son tried to sell some of the “stock,” but had no luck because the Chihuahuas were all in poor condition from years of neglect. Senor Ricardo was one of the worst off.
Ricardo had been kept in a small cage and underfed to keep him tiny. You could see every bone in his body, he was so starved. He weighed barely 5 lbs. His teeth had been neglected and were badly infected. He was very very weak. Nobody wanted him.
We’d dropped by the pet store to get wee wee pads for our toy poodle, who was recovering from surgery the month before to remove calcium oxalate stones from her bladder. We were exhausted and raw from that ordeal, and the vet bills were enormous. We’d also been desperately struggling to keep our small business up and running, and had invested every cent we had in it. The last thing we needed was another dog (we already had 2), and especially one with problems as serious as Ricardo’s. So, we turned heel, walked out of the pet store, and lived happily ever after. Well, not quite…
See, we made the mistake of holding Ricardo, and the little devil cast an evil Chihuahua spell on us. We didn’t adopt him that day, but we came back for him the next weekend, armed with a new leash & collar, and a small crate with blankies inside and his name in gold stick-on letters across the top. We also bought some plush toys for him. But Ricardo didn’t have a clue what they were for, because he’d never had a toy or a human to bond with.
We took him to the vet the following Monday, and were told he probably wasn’t going to make it. He was extremely malnourished and his gums were infected. He had a serious heart murmur—caused by neglect and repeated infections--that was going to make treatment for his other problems tricky. We had the option of returning him to the rescue folks, or trying to save what looked like a hopeless case. So, being the intelligent practical people we are, we returned him to the rescue group, and lived happily ever after. Well, not quite…
See, that was on a Saturday, and by Monday Senor Ricardo had begun to control our thoughts. His thoughts were that we were his people. It took three months of antibiotic$, numerous tooth extraction$, and dealing with behavior problems I won’t even go into, before the “Senor Ricardo” personality emerged full force. And that persona was exactly like the Senor Ricardo people here at kos have come to know—sassy, demanding, self centered, and not afraid of much, except for basement cats
When he died unexpectedly this morning, Senor Ricardo was plump, weighing over 8 lbs. During the 6 years he was with us, he had the best of everything. He traveled all over the country, enjoying pack vacations in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and his home state, Arizona. He never had one minute during those 6 years when he wasn’t fiercely loved and cared for. He even liked having the few snags he had left brushed every day, and would hop on my lap when it was his turn. He liked being bathed and cuddled, and taking walks around our ranch. Sometimes he’d even try to chase after a jackrabbit or stray cow. He loved snuggling with his best bud, Tobias the Yorki-poo, and despite their differences as to who was the true pack leader, he was very protective of Hilde, our elderly Toy Poodle, or as Senor called her, “Fah Seester.”.
Senor Ricardo’s passing is just way too much for us to bear right now, so we’ve decided to shrug off the heartbreak, turn our backs on the pain, and live happily ever after. Well, not quite…
Our undying thanks to everyone at kos who expressed condolences and concern for Mr. C and myself, and their appreciation for “Senor Ricardo.” I’d write more if not for the tearse in my ice.