On my 13th birthday I was bitten by a dog that belonged to my good friends who were twins.
We never understood what caused the dog to attack me, since I was a frequent guest at their home. After the dog was checked out by a veterinarian, the family decided to give him away.
I didn’t grow up around dogs, and after that incident I feared them all.
My boys always called me the worst mother in the world because I never allowed them to have a dog. We had cats, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish — you name it. But I would always put my foot down when it came to a dog.
Then last summer my husband gave in to my daughter’s pleas for a puppy, and came home with a tiny Chihuahua.
She was the most beautiful puppy I had ever seen. She was so small, she fit in the palm of my husband’s hand.
My daughter was thrilled and I was torn between wanting to take care of this tiny little thing, and not wanting her in the house at all.
Mila is a smooth coat short hair Chihuahua. She is tan with white markings and has cute little ears that flop down — not stick up, like the Taco Bell Chihuahua’s.
She has huge soulful eyes that make your heart melt, especially when she leans her head to one side.
I have never liked having animals in the house, but this little thing was so delicate that she had to be kept indoors.
At night, Mila sleeps cuddled underneath a pink blanket, and in the winter she has to wear a sweater to keep warm.
This summer we celebrated Mila’s first year with our family, and although she is too cute to get angry at, there have been days when Mila drives me crazy.
She is now potty-trained and is very smart. It is amazing how much she understands, and how protective she is of the family, especially my daughter.
When my daughter is home, Mila will follow her around the house, always wanting to be on her lap or in her arms.
This little dog has infiltrated our lives with her undiluted loyalty and affectionate ways.
I have adapted to having this little creature around my feet. During the day she follows me around the house, always staying close, but giving me my space.
Mila loves me. I don’t know why, since I am not as affectionate as my daughter and my husband are with her. I don’t watch television with her on my lap or let her lick my face.
I feed and bathe her when my daughter doesn’t have time. I take her to the veterinarian. I let her out so she can do her business, and give her treats when she behaves.
I have tried not to care too much, but it’s almost as if she’s decided to persuade me to love her back.
Last week, when I walked in the back door after being away for eight days Mila greeted me with so much joy that I had to sit on the floor and hug her.
Mila loves me unconditionally, and she has taught me so much about acceptance. She loves me despite my indifference toward her, and because of this I have fallen in love with this irresistible, 6-pound Chi.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily or contact her at her website at www.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.