Story by Geri Creque
Archie was going to be put in a high kill shelter when his owners lost their house due to a foreclosure. The family’s neighbor decided she could not let that happen to Archie, so her friend put a message onto a Yahoo group in Mendocino County to see if anyone would take him. Many people responded to the email, but only four of us followed up and I was the only one to call.
I drove from Modesto, CA up to Ukiah to get Archie, the five and half-month-old Great Dane. He was living outdoors on a farm for a week before I rescued him. I thought he was Merle color, but after my son-in-law bathed him the next day, a beautiful black coat was visible from under the dust & dirt. Upon first sight, I felt his name should reflect his dark good looks. I named him Archibald Leash, as a play on Cary Grant’s real name, Archibald Leach.
Archie was underweight at 57 lbs, but he adapted and grew quickly in his new home. He now weighs about 175 lbs. Now he’s a bit overweight, so it’s portion control for him. He’s been a good-natured fellow who LOVES any member of his family/pack.
After our first year together, while at the Modesto dog park, a woman found a very young Chihuahua/Terrier mix pup. I volunteered to take him home & bring him back every day until we found the owner. That was a Monday evening. On Friday during the afternoon, my neighbor’s husky but the toe off the pup’s foot through a hole under the fence. The husky’s muzzle fit through.
I rushed the bleeding pup to the vet in my nightgown, with no shoes or bra (yes to clean under-panties). Luckily I was the only one in the clinic and the entire staff was very attentive. They put a lot of effort in trying to get him out of my arms & into a room with the vet. I was in shock & so was the pup. Once they got me to sit down, they got “Puppers” (the first of a string of names) into a treatment room. His right outer toe was bitten clean off, but the next toe was barely attached.
The little dog went through two months of laser treatments and daily changes of a sugar bandage that first month. He was the featured patient on their website after his successful and complete recovery. He’s now five and Archie has been ultra protective and aware of his needs. If the little guy (aka Randolph Scott, Lefty, & now Yappy) whined or barked, Archie would come charging to defend him. It got so bad we really couldn’t mingle when the dog park was full. The dog walkers came daily then & the boys were as happy as the dogs. They each got $5/walk & came in pairs.
Archie maintained his incredibly sweet demeanor with everyone he considered a friend. Unfortunately, he was a big tail wagger. He developed the most inappropriately named condition, “Happy Tail”. He had 8″ docked off. Within one year he got it again and had all but 6″ cropped off. Still a most handsome fellow and loved a bit more by my young granddaughters, who were often on the receiving end of that tail wag. They love the little guy because they got to know him as a young dog while at an age to understand.
The newest member of the pack came quite unexpectedly. I went to Petco because Orchard Supply Hardware didn’t carry dog shampoo. When I found the shampoo and got in line, I met a woman in a wheelchair holding a tiny Chihuahua pup. They went to Petco from the groomers to get the dog a flea bath. I asked how old the puppy was and the lady told she didn’t know. She said it was found at the dog park. The puppy climbed under her chair and wouldn’t come out for anyone but her. Her family vetoed keeping the new guy. By the end of her story, I was holding & bonding with the TINY guy. His story was so similar to my other little dog, that I took him home. That was a Saturday.
On Monday, we went to the vet. The little dog was just over 3 lbs 1 oz and seemed sick. My vet told me I could only adopt if the dog was not claimed in 14 days. He appeared to be a purebred Toy Chihuahua, but only had one descended testicle. AKC standards stated mean he couldn’t be used for stud. Her evaluation was that he was closer to 18 – 24 months due to the tartar on his teeth. She agreed he was not in good condition or health, so we went ahead with neutering, cleaning his teeth, & finding the undescended testicle. He came home on pain medication and antibiotics. I repeated a round of antibiotics for his persistent cough. Once his cone came off, he proved to be on the younger side of 18 months – still chewing on everything. Two months into his new life he loves his big friends and tries so hard to engage Archie in puppy play. Bugsy nips at Yappy in just the way Yappy used to do to Archie.
These “free” dogs all came with a hefty vet price tag, but I’d do it all over again. They are wonderful dogs and excellent companions to me. I moved to a different rental house and this backyard is almost as big as the dog park. They get plenty of romping & running time. Both little dogs come in quickly at night since we do have some hawks in our neighborhood. I think they are aware of night dangers, even with lights on their collars.
Geri would like to thank Sylvan Vet Clinic in Modesto