The smallest big dog

mojo-and-me
True love since day one.

Since I wrote about Chica yesterday, it’s only fair that I give equal time to her big brother. After all, this dog is one of the great loves of my life.

Unlike with Chica, Mojo and I bonded immediately. I fell in love with him even before we got him home from the shelter (which insisted on doing a background check and spaying him before releasing him to me and my son). My mom tried to talk me out of our choice while we were waiting for the all-clear from the shelter. “Chihuahuas are trouble,” she said, “obnoxious, yappy little beasts who are impossible to potty train.”  (She was spot on with that, but don’t you go telling her I told you. I hate when she’s right all the time.) “He’s only half Chihuahua,” I responded weakly.

Dylan, who was about 15 at the time, liked Mojo because he could jump impressively high. The dog we had previously, Zoe (RIP, my love), had fractured her hip as a puppy, and we had to take extra care to ensure she didn’t fall or jump down from the couch, for fear she’d complicate the fracture or god forbid, break something else. Mojo was a different story. Half mini-pinscher, he has super long, springy legs. Combined with a natural grace and athleticism, he can catch some serious air. When we met him for the first time, we were amazed at how the shelter worker would tap his chest, and Mojo would jump into his arms. Even at age 9, Mojo can jump at least four feet into the air, without a running start.

Nicknamed “Bully” in the shelter (it was actually “Bulle,” but I came to believe that was a misspelling), this eight-pound, bright-eyed rascal had a big cage all to himself. I quickly learned why. He’s a curmudgeonly little SOB. Although he never had a problem with Chica (probably because she was a baby when we brought her home, and he instantly assumed the role of protector), this dog pretty much hates everything else that moves. He attacks larger dogs without hesitation. I always say that he’ll die in the jaws of a pit bull. (I pray I’m wrong!) He’s not really a fan of small dogs, either. The occasional chihuahua is just “ok” with him. In general, though, he’s a beast, and we have to keep him away from other dogs.

mojo-cuddling-with-dylan
With Dylan. See how cuddly he is? 

He’s not much of a fan of humans, either, until he gets to know them. Then, he’s an absolute love. But he has bitten delivery guys, passersby, a kid (ack!)–the list goes on. Fortunately, his teeth are so small that he’s never broken skin, and no one has ever made a big deal out of it. When I walk my dogs on their bifurcated leash, someone inevitably stops to say “oh, how cute!” and starts to bend down to pet them. I have to be really quick to say “No! The brown one bites!” before they extend a hand into the attack zone. So embarrassing. Even worse when someone doesn’t believe me. I should make them sign a waiver first.

Mojo got his name because of his swagger, and his, er, “member.” Seriously. It’s like half the length of his body. Yeah, his body is tiny. But, you get the picture. He’s an international sex symbol, I always say.

The swagger extends to him marking up the house all the time (he’s quite sure he’s the alpha beast in this joint, and I’ve been unable to convince him otherwise). It’s beyond frustrating. The vet tells me it’s my fault. I’m sure he’s right. Sigh. Chalk it up to one of my life’s many failures.

mojo-and-chica-in-sweaters
He’s an excellent listener.

I guess by now you’re wondering what’s to like about this little bully. The fact is, that after he decides he loves you, there’s no more faithful friend or cuddly companion. He looks at me with big brown, lovey eyes that tell me he thinks the sun rises and sets on my shoulders. When I got divorced, I sometimes felt like he was my only friend in the world. He listened to me endlessly, cocking his head to the side with the characteristic gesture that makes him look like he’s hanging on every word. He nuzzles into my neck like a sweet little infant. He truly would kill for me. I wouldn’t think of taking a thing like that for granted.

Of course, it’s cliché to talk about your dog as your best friend. But it goes deeper. The truth is that I really *get* Mojo. I understand this fierce little warrior, who fears nothing and no one. I relate to his confidence, despite his diminutive size. Sometimes, I even identify with his grumpiness at the world in general. I feel like we’re kindred spirits. Most of all, I am humbled by his love. Faults aside, Mojo understands love better than any human I know (with a few very notable exceptions). So, I forgive the marking, the biting, the attitude. After all, he graciously offers me the same forbearance.

Besides all that, how can anyone resist a face like that? Maybe you can’t see it. But to me, he is, by far, the most handsome dog in the world.

 

 

mojo-portrait-smiling
A face only a mother could love? Impossible!

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