I adopted Barnabus six years after the traumatizing death of my first chihuahua, Macho. My husband would often comfort me into the early hours of the morning during powerful waves of grief. We adopted two cats, and though I loved them, a dog-sized hole remained in my heart.
I live in a state where chihuahuas are hard to find. In California, however, these feisty little dogs are dying in shelters faster than people can breed them. I found a picture of Barney on a website for a rescue in Bakersfield.
“I don’t know,” said Barbara, the sweet but paranoid rescuer. “Out of state adoptions are tough, and you’re in the coldest state possible. I promised Barney when I found him that he’ll never be cold again.”
Somehow, I charmed the woman, and I arranged to fly out and meet Barnabus. When we met, he clung to Barbara but kept craning his neck to stare at me.
“He likes you,” she told me, patting him on the head. “He doesn’t like anyone. It took me three months to get him out from under the bed. God knows what he went through. He’s important to me.”
After an hour of sideways glances, Barbara and I agreed he liked me enough to be comfortable in my home. We were wrong. Before his vet appointment at Petco, I took him shopping in the store. He made a break for it by leaping from the cart and then splatting on the floor.
In the vet’s office, though, he changed his tune. As we waited, he placed his paws on my knee and stared up with a pair of bug eyes. I scooped him into my arms, and he’s loved me ever since.
When my husband divorced me, Barnabus became my rock. He remained curled at my side while I suffered through the pain that surely would’ve killed me without him.
Can’t live without you
When my husband asked me to come back, I hesitated. Despite Deon being a peaceful man, Barnabus never liked him. My husband never raised so much as a goldfish in his life, so perhaps Barney picked up on his nervous vibes, who knows.
“Can we keep him in a kennel?” asked Deon. “He won’t let me near you, and I want to spend time with my wife.”
The third time Barney escaped from his kennel, he cut his leg to the point he needed stitches and scratched both corneas. One of the reasons Deon and I split the second time is Barney’s evident unhappiness. In a way, I chose him over my marriage. When I walked away from my husband with Barney in my arms, this when I knew I truly loved him. He protected and loved me during my darkest days without a thought, and still does.
The reason my chihuahua is my valentine
This is why we cuddled by the T.V. together watching Breaking Bad. I could have got a date, sure, but why bother? Barney stayed by my side when the world and my marriage failed me. This kind of love is the purest, and the reason I made my choice.
I’m open-minded, no guy is perfect. I don’t mind if my Prince Charming has a little fur.