Time Hop reminded me that today, June 18th, is my dog's birthday. He's 16 today. About three years past his "expiration date." About four years ago, my vet told me that he had stage four renal failure and his body would soon shut down. I refused to stand back and do nothing, so with the help of Shebangs Natural Selection in Reo, IN, I devised an herbal medicinal plan.

To-date, though he is on a special diet for and takes herbal and western medications to control both heart and kidney issues, he's happy and pretty darn healthy. He goes on mile-long walks every other day and even musters up some energy to play when our grandpuppy comes over. He loves to ride in the car and unlike my family is there every single night to help me clean the kitchen! A normal dog life...

This little spitfire has been a constant at my side for 15 years now. He's walked through pregnancy with me. He evaluated my husband when we first met - still not really a fan. He comforted me through heartache and tears, and celebrate unimaginable joy with me. I know he won't last forever, but the years have been good to us. And in this life, I will never find anyone whose pure unconditional love surpasses that of my Chaz. 

And to think; it almost never came to be.

You see, he was the dog that no one wanted. He's a basic brown dog with ginormous ears and a bad attitude. When I got the call about Chaz, I was told he was abused and starved. At only eight pounds of skin and bone, he didn't even know how to eat dog food. He lived on scraps a man threw out to him and the other dogs on occasion. He's doubled in weight since that day. Because of his upbringing and chihuahua lineage, he was incredibly aggressive. He was a biter and a fighter.

The good people at the Hopkinsville Humane Society called me up - I had put myself on a waiting list for any Yorkies that became available. They told me he was from an abusive situation and though they did tell me about his size, they didn't tell me about the aggression or the fact that he definitely wasn't a Yorkie.

Ashley S

When I got to the Humane Society, he was in the death room. They explained he had bitten everyone that worked there or had tried to get close to him. They reluctantly allowed me to view him. I walked into the room of dogs - all of which were destined for the Rainbow Bridge. I went up to his cage and he gave me those black, blank chihuahua eyes. It's so weird how they do it... I just stood there and said, hello. And, without much coaxing, he softened. I took him out of the cage and like most dogs do, he sniffed around. But then, he came up to me and hopped in my lap and wagged his tail. The workers were stunned. STUNNED. Then, they lowered the boom. If I didn't take him, he was going to be put down.

Crap. I wanted a Yorkie. Again, not a Yorkie.

Ashley S

I had to take him. But, I figured I'd find a home for him. I couldn't say, "Good luck, Chuck," and leave.

So, I loaded him up in the car and set out for home. On the way home, we talked, laughed, sang, ate snacks and vomited. Okay, I did the laughing and singing - he did the vomiting. The bond was instant.

The aggression didn't subside until he was into his twilight years and even now he'd mess you up if he could. He's just too old. He took his role in my life as vigilant protector very seriously. He even bit my 80-year-old 4'11" grandmother for hugging me once. Yikes. Still so sorry, Mamaw!

I hate to think what would have happened if I didn't have time to go check out a little abused dog. Or if I had said, not what I wanted. Peace out, little buddy.

Happy birthday, Roo. I hope we make it to the big 1-7! And in honor of Chaz' birthday, I'd encourage you to not pass over the "basic" dogs and the shelter dogs. He changed my life - and they can change yours too.

Ashley S