Norma's chihuahua, Poquita, had a challenging upstart. She was born with a missing shoulder joint, leaving her the usage of only three legs. Her mother had struggled to give to birth to her and her sister, and ended up having a C-section. Poquita was third the size of her sister and could fit in the palm of Norma's hand - head to tail. Her mother sensed something was wrong with her and pushed her away. She didn't want her to contaminate her healthy pup.
Norma intervened after finding Poquita shivering in a corner, mal-nourished and on the verge of death. She bought a tiny feeder for kittens and started feeding her several times a day with formula. It wasn't quite the same as her mother's milk. It caused some indigestion problems, so Norma put gas drops in her water and massaged her tummy.
Norma took Poquita to a veterinarian who specialized in smaller dogs. The diagnosis was not good. The vet informed her that Poquita had to be fed every 15 minutes to be kept alive and that she only had about two weeks to live. The vet figured that no one in their right mind would dedicate themselves to feeding a dog every 15 minutes. The vet had apparently not met Norma. The dedicated chihuahua lover went on a feeding frenzy for the next three weeks. Norma tried forcing Poquita's mother to feed her, and eventually she nursed. Norma would give Poquita pep talks often. “You're going to make it, baby,” she would tell her.
Sure enough, she did. She became a healthy, feisty, loving chihuahua. Her favorite pastime was destroying things. She was particularly partial to shredding paper. For Christmas, Norma gave her a big bag of papers to revel in. Her bum leg didn't stop her from running with intense determination and pride. Her ears would pin back like she was a speeding missile. Norma would tell her she was the fastest doggie in Belmont Shore.
Although Poquita was full of life, she did continue to have brushes with death. She fell down the stairs while following Norma and choked three months later. Norma ended up having to perform CPR on her about five times. With very close to nine brushes with death, the family would joke that Poquita was really a cat in disguise.
The vet's estimation of two weeks to live was way off. Poquita lived for nine years. She died in March from kidney failure. There was no notice, and this time Norma could not save her. It was heart wrenching, as any pet lover might imagine, but Norma takes solace in the fact that Poquita lived the best and fullest life possible despite obstacles.
We hear stories every day about people who overcome adversity, but what about pets? And how do pets overcome adversity? It is a matter of their own will and spirit, but it is human tenacity and love that has such a bearing on the course of these precious little lives.
Both Norma and Dalet are passionate about rescuing dogs, and have rescued eight dogs collectively. Roots wants to encourage people in the community to touch the life of dogs facing daunting conditions, enabling them to have the kind of life that Poquita was so fortunate to have. We want more vets to be wrong. Please join us in our fight. On April 22nd we will be donating 10% of every order to Bill Foundation, an organization dedicated to rescuing homeless and abused dogs in Los Angeles, in memory of Poquita. We chose the Bill Foundation because they “do not discriminate against an animal because it's too old, because it has a tail or doesn't have a tail, because it's the "wrong color," size, shape, or parentage.”
We recommend using The Pet Work
, a directory for finding disabled and senior dogs to love.