Small Dog, Big Love
on paper, 40 x 53 cm (©Carin Steen)
I absolutely LOVE dogs, but I admit that I'm not a big fan of Chihuahuas. A little too small, too fragile and too
snappy for my taste.
Along came Frankie who stole everybody’s heart, including mine.
Frankie is a toy Chihuahua that was rescued
from the coast of Guatemala. She was in a pretty bad shape. Somewhere
between 3 and 5 years old, the poor thing was skinny and covered in ticks and
fleas. A tremor in her right front paw and head are leftovers from canine distemper
that she miraculously survived when she was only a pup, as the decay in her
teeth reveal. The few teeth left were in terrible shape. Two of them were covered
in rocks of tartar that made her cheeks look like a hamster’s. And on top of
everything she tested positive for heart worm.
Worst of all: this poor dog had been used
for BREEDING, despite her heartworm and distemper, just to make a quick buck.
When she got too ill, she was discarded. Fortunately she was picked up by a
lovely lady who had all the goodwill, but not the means to take care of her. Because
of her lack of teeth, the dog can’t eat dry food, so the lady gave her soft
bits of corn tortilla she got especially for her. The woman realised that the poor
thing needed more specialised care and that’s why she gave the Chihuahua to my
friend Francesca who is a bit of a serial dog rescuer. And that’s how I ended
up fostering her at the home I stay in when I’m in Guatemala. All went well, except
that we have failed at fostering, because this Chihuahua, Frankie, is not going
Thing is, Frankie is a hoot! She’s funny,
mischievous, cute, cuddly and social. Loves people, adores her big sisters
Chilli and Charlie and especially foster Jeanie who is about six times her size.
Frankie is super playful and not at all clingy or snappy. She loves to go out
on hikes, run in the field, chase and sniff. Until it gets dark. Then it’s
lights out for her and she just wants to cuddle up on the sofa. What a delight
to have around!
It’s been two months now since she first
arrived and she is doing much, much better. She gained almost half her weight
(from 3 lbs. to almost 6!) and now has lots of energy to play and explore. She’s
on medication for heartworm which is quite complicated for a dog this small and
not available in Guatemala. It was provided by our good friend and veterinarian
Dr. Jim Bader, who has been monitoring her from a distance and sent her
medication down. Another tricky part was her operation. She needed to be spayed
and some of her teeth needed to be pulled. All vets involved agreed she didn’t
need anaesthesia twice and that both procedures should take place before starting
her second and more aggressive heartworm medication. Thanks to Unidos para
los Animales, this risky surgery was done at Ortovet in Guatemala City and
all went well. Frankie has completely recovered already. Hopefully after six
more months of heart worm medication, she'll have a compete clean bill of
It really takes a village to save just one
dog’s life. But what a joy to see her healthy and happy! Thanks a million to
Francesca, Linda, Catherine, Jim, Unidos para los Animales…
|Jeanie and Frankie