Rizzo cracks me up on a daily basis. She makes life sweet. No matter what’s going on, when she comes to greet me I feel good. Sometimes all it takes is looking at her and knowing she’s there with me. Whether we’re inside or outside, she usually seems to do something hilarious. It seems that every time I turn around she’s up to something else clever — or just plain funny. My camera has gotten a lot of use since I got her!
I waited 10 years to get a dog of my own. Living in NYC makes it a bit difficult to have a dog, especially when you live alone in an 11x18 studio apartment. But I was determined. In Aug of 2007, I found her picture on Petfinder.com in the section for adopting a pet. There was another picture of one of her 12-week old littermates who was black and white, so the pups were listed as “Chihuahua / Border Collie”. I don’t see any Border Collie in Rizzo though - she was only 6 lbs. and blonde! I assume the litter was a mix of Jack Russell Terrier, Chihuahua, and a lot of other things hidden away in there.
So I took the subway to the NJ Transit train to “fetch” her a few days after I found her picture online. When I got there I saw that she was covered in mange, a condition where the hair follicles are compromised and the hair falls out. She had internal worms from the mother’s milk, I was told. And she also really stunk! But when she emerged from her crate, she did this thing that I now call the “wormy squirmy” which stole my heart: her entire little bum wagged back and forth while she nuzzled up to me. She let me pick her up and then gave me lots of kisses. How could I not love this puppy!
We rode home together on the NJ Transit train, and then took the subway back to Manhattan. I bathed her immediately. That week Rizzo went to see the vet, which began a 6-month treatment for her ills. Thankfully, she overcame them and has since grown into a very healthy, happy little dog.
In 2008, we ventured to NH for a few years, which she liked for the outdoor activities (she’s got a fair amount of energy) but not for the cold. Now we live in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA (still cold) where we get to root for the sports teams every week with my family and old friends!
She “spreads the love” to others every day, which is an utter joy for me to witness as that was the main reason I decided to get a dog. I always felt so great after petting a dog, so I thought that if I got one I could help others to feel good, too, even for just a brief moment. Her first encounter with a person in NYC was on the subway while on our way home from NJ. A man came right up to her (stinky, and all) and expressed so much life and animation that it was clear to me how much love a pet can bring to—and out of—humans.
I am grateful every day for my little companion, Rizzo, and I look forward each day to spreading the love!