Back in the day, if I had to sum Simon up in one sentence it would have to be: Good thing he’s so cute.
But let me start at the beginning. A neighbour came over one day back in the fall of 1991 to ask if we wanted a Chihuahua puppy. Her sister had one and couldn’t keep it. She brought the puppy over, an adorable little tan coloured chi, and naturally the boys fell in love with him. After an afternoon of, “Can we keep him please, Mommy, please, please, please?” I relented and decided we would. That evening my neighbour came back and asked for the puppy back, telling me she’d decided to keep it herself. You can only imagine how heartbroken the boys were.
Hubby thought we’d dodged a bullet, but I felt sorry for the boys. Yes, we already had a cat and the best little dog ever, but there was an aspect of unfairness to the situation, and besides, I was partial to Chihuahuas, having grown up with one.
So I tracked down the pet store where the puppy had come from and that Saturday we made the trip to Salmon Arm to see if there were any puppies left. We weren’t keen on buying a pet store dog, but under the circumstances, we had little choice. There was only one puppy left, a cream-coloured male. He was very friendly and seemed grateful to us for rescuing him. I soon found out the poor little guy was loaded with worms. And I do mean loaded. Trips to the vet and numerous doses of meds sorted that out. But in hindsight, it might have been an omen of things to come.
Oliver and Simon took to one another instantly. They became inseparable and it was so cute to watch them play together.
I blame Simon’s days in the pet store for his greediness. He had a huge sweet tooth, but it went beyond that. Once time he got up on the kitchen table (no idea how, he was a teeny dog) and ate a dish of butter. Another time a neighbour sent over lovely Christmas gifts for the boys, decorated with foil-covered chocolates. Simon left the gifts, but ate all the chocolates. Yet another time, he got on my son’s bed, and somehow climbed onto the ponywall shelf and manoeuvred his way through the clutter to the Easter basket where he proceeded to eat every last chocolate/candy in that basket.
These are only a few examples. And yes, the poor little guy paid the price with terrible stomach aches. You could hear the tummy rumble from across the room and he had this funny little stance with his head down (and miserable expression) and butt up in the air. Whenever we saw him like this we knew he’d been into something he shouldn’t.
Simon had an even worse habit. He was a runner. After our experience with our first dog, this terrified us. Our yard wasn’t properly fenced to contain such a small dog, so we devised a line with long chains attached that we would hook onto the dogs’ collars and they could run and play safely. But Simon was a little Houdini. He could slip out of or chew off any collar we put on him and off he’d go. We could practically hear him sing, “I’m freeeee!!!” as he flew down the street. And unlike Titan, he refused to come when we called him. We finally had to put a choke-chain collar on him. I’m quite certain he was likely the only 6 lb Chihuahua wearing a choke-chain.
One time, after we’d moved to the Okanagan, we left the dogs with my mom, who lived a few blocks from our place. Somehow Simon got loose and poor Mom searched and searched for him. Finally in desperation, she checked our house, and sure enough, there was the little brat, sitting on the front steps, happy as could be.
Despite our diligence, Simon occasionally made his escape and one day the inevitable happened. In the summer of 1996, he got out of the backyard, and with my oldest son in pursuit, he headed down to the busy cross-street. He made it safely across but as he ran up the shoulder he somehow got clipped by a passing car. My poor son helplessly witnessed it all. And that heartless driver only paused briefly before leaving my son with his dying dog on the side of the road. Thankfully another car stopped and the woman helped my son bring Simon home. By this time he had passed away. To this day, I’m so very grateful to that considerate lady who unselfishly took the time to help out a young boy in need.
Simon’s death was a crushing blow to all of us and especially traumatic for my son. We decided then and there to never own another male dog.
He may have come to us serendipitously, a little devil who gave us as much grief as a small dog possibly could, but Simon was also such a sweetheart, affectionate and adorable. We’re glad we had him, if only for five short years.