Oh, dogs. Aren’t they just the greatest. They love you no matter what phase of life you’re in. Or whether you’ve been in said phase wearing the same pair of sweatpants for three days straight. They also have zero sense of time, so five minutes to them literally feels like three days; which means my dog pretty much loses his mind every time I walk in the door, even if I just ran to grab a sandwich. What woman wouldn’t want that kind of reaction from a guy? Plus, he’s a rescue, so he’s moderately neurotic. Just like me.
They knew exactly what they were doing when they used this pic on the adoption profile.
I first saw Pasta donning a bowtie and he instantly stole my heart. I had noticed that there were a lot of Chihuahuas up for adoption when researching rescue pups, and learned that Chis are considered a challenging breed to own. I joke that Pasta has Small Dog Syndrome (SDS), which makes him unabashedly feisty and vocal, like, all the time as if he’s fifty pounds heftier than his mere fifteen. Until he finally chills out. Then he’s a total snuggle bug. Or a stink bug, as I affectionately call him.
How could you resist this face?!
I inquired with Animal Allies Rescue Foundation (AARF) in Baltimore, MD about Pasta as soon as I came across his adorbs post. Our first visit together was a quick jaunt around the block in a rundown Dundalk, MD neighborhood in January of 2017, and it went smooth enough, but I could tell that we both had some trust issues. Pasta was a dog of the streets, so he had this air about him that indicated he’d experienced his share of hard knocks, and I could relate. Soon after, we moved forward with a two-week in-home trial run to make sure we were a good fit for each other.
This is as much clothing as Pasta is willing to wear in order to humor mom.
I had already decided I was going to stick it out with Pasta no matter what, primarily because I’d been told that he had a handful of failed placements before mine and I couldn’t imagine sending him back again. Even though, or maybe even more so because, I was a first-time dog owner, I was determined that it was time for him to live his best life; and, speaking of timing, I had just recently broken up with my boyfriend of a few years who had the sweetest old man Jack Russell Terrier named Spud, whom I’d grown very fond of, so I was sorely missing a canine companion in my new space.
Pasta loves long, uninterrupted naps under blankets, but sometimes his friend Tulip can be a bit of a Chatty Cathy...
I remember the first night Pasta was in my home like it was just yesterday. We were both awkward, gingerly eyeing each other up to get a feel for one another. When asked to attempt to take his body harness off by the AARF representative who transported him, Pasta snarled and nipped my hand. It took me by surprise (and scared me a little, if I’m honest) since I was more accustomed to naturally good-natured dogs, like big dumb loveable Labs, and this was my first experience with a dog who needed a special kind of treatment. It took me a few weeks to gain Pasta’s trust enough to be able to remove the harness, but I remember feeling such a sense of accomplishment when it happened.
Pasta’s first hike on the Appalachian Trail, March 2017
I can say that being a dog mom to Pasta has not been without its frustrations; but the gains have far outweighed the grievances. For any of you out there with rescue pups, you know that feeling you get when you overcome a hurdle with them and the connection between you deepens. The imprint is even more powerful because you literally had to work so hard to earn that milestone. I can clearly recall the swell of pride I felt inside when Pasta had his first successful vet visit and hike in the woods, or responded to my voice as I calmly talked him through a stressful situation, or when he started to freely play with his toys in front of me (previously, he would stop and freeze up if I even looked at him).
Morning snuggles in a cold tent in the mountains of West Virginia.
For these last two-and-a-half years, Pasta has been my trusty sidekick for all da ups, downs and all arounds, and he really is the best road trip dog – all he needs is a cozy spot to snooze and he’s happy! He goes camping and kayaking with me, he’s won the hearts of many (and gets quite spoiled by some of them – I’m talking about you, Grandmother! Hehe), and he’s shown that, with the right environment, even an old dog can learn new tricks. So, for Dog Appreciation Day, I’m giving my little monkey a huge shout-out, and sending crazy cyber cuddles to all the dogs out there making this world a better place.
Giving Mom support at her home office!
"Helping" us pack orders at the studio!