By John Ward



She was abandoned with her brother on the side of the highway. The sweet, considerate person who abandoned them wrapped them in a towel as some sort of conscious-assuaging salute to pseudo-altruism. They were four weeks old.

Luckily a kind soul found them on her way to work. She picked them up and took them to the Lucky Dog Animal Shelter. They got a medical check-up and were taken back to the shelter. They were too young to be left in the shelter overnight so were fostered by local families on weekends. The little male was a handsome fellow and was adopted almost immediately. The little female was being fostered by a couple when we picked her up.

The puppy raising ritual began. We have three Chihuahuas already. The mother is Sushi, the daughter is Sake and the son is Tako, so when a friend suggested the name Maki it was a foregone conclusion. At night Maki would get lonely and whine pitifully. Our bed is very high and there is no way she could sleep up there because if she wandered off, she’d fall and injure herself, so my concerned and caring wife volunteered me to sleep on the floor with Maki so there was nowhere to fall.

The first week I felt like I’d entered the last circle of hell. Maki would not sleep in her bed beside me on the floor; she had to feel the warmth of a body beside her. I thought, “The poor little thing didn’t have much time with mother and siblings, I can understand the need for company.”

To avoid piddles on the floor I would have to get up every hour and a half, in the dark, half asleep, to take her outside so she could go in the grass. Unfortunately, each blade of grass has to be checked for its last anointing before a new anointing can be bestowed. She is most equitable in urine dispersal.

In the meantime I am doing the cross-legged “need-to-pee” hop. I will confess there were times I just peed in the grass myself. After the lawn began to die I went back to the hop. Any gentle encouragement like “Pee, damn you” only results in distracting her and she loses count and has to go back to checking each blade before actually releasing the seven drops of pee she has managed to store in her pea-sized bladder.

Luckily, in her third week of having me on the floor and as her personal valet, the frequency of her having to pee reduced to the frequency I normally have to pee, so I would get up, go to the bathroom, come back and get her before her whining could wake my wife in the bedroom and take her out to the garden to begin her pre-urination pastoral analysis.

Sometimes she would come in from the garden and decide she had to play for a half an hour before she can go back to sleep. The toys are strewn all over the lounge for this purpose. Getting up in the dark with toys everywhere often results in stepping on one causing a sharp squeak filling you with horror that you’ve stepped on the puppy and waking everyone, including the puppy, who now wants to play. Alternatively, she wants to eat and whines until you feed her and give her milk. This is usually at three in the morning.

My regular bed-mate Sake, who owns me, is very upset. Sometimes she comes to sleep with me on the floor too, but as soon as Maki moves she emits a blood curdling growl. I lie there with all the hair on my neck standing at attention trying to remember what two hours of uninterrupted sleep was like. After the symphony of growls and yips dies down, Maki falls asleep and I wait for the next time she, or more likely I, have to pee.


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