I love a good Disney movie, don’t you? I mean who doesn’t love classics like Aladdin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or my all time favorite, Cinderella? Did you know that as of 2016, Disney has released 55 animated classics into theaters? Well one of those classics was just released on Blue-Ray/DVD in celebration of its 25th anniversary. It was the first animated movie to ever be nominated for a best picture Academy Award, and if you are too young to remember that far back, I’m talking about the 1991 classic, Beauty and the Beast.
You all know the story, and if you don’t, I definitely recommend giving it a view. It is probably one of the most beautiful movies out there, and it has nothing to do with the fact that my favorite scene ever is in it. But despite all the times I have seen it, it’s was only recently that I realized how much life imitates art. As it turns out, I have my own love story, with my very own “Beast”… although, I’m sure if you ask him, he’d say the roles were reversed. That is, if he could speak.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m referring to my beloved Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix), Jack. It is a great love story, and as the song goes, a tale as old as time. And just like all great Disney stories, this one begins Once Upon a Time...
Barely even friends… Then somebody bends… Unexpectedly
For years, I considered getting a dog. I always wanted a tiny, hairless dog that could fit in a shoebox, and that would just be cute… and quiet-ish. On May 17, 2014, it was time to finally put that dream into fruition, so my boyfriend at the time and I decided to comb through a few of the shelters (it was important to me to rescue a dog) in Manhattan for a Chihuahua. After checking out two places, and only seeing Pit Bulls, we started to lose hope, but continued on to Animal Care and Control up in East Harlem. Naturally, all they had were Pit Bulls.
I decided to use the restroom before we left, and as my ex tells it, the people at the front desk asked him what I was looking for, and he told them I was looking for a Chihuahua. They told him that as fate would have it, they had just gotten a Chihuahua-mix puppy in about an hour earlier that wasn’t even in the system yet, and would I be interested in seeing him. My ex said yes, and we were taken to a room about the size of a closet. A few minutes later, two of the ladies there walked in with this absolutely adorable black puppy with a long, gorgeous tail named Chocoa.
He was the absolute picture of cuteness. We could see he was trying to get his bearings. I mean after all, he had just gotten there himself, and he was already around all these strangers. He finally walked over to me, so I leaned in to pet him. Everyone was adamant that I be careful because Chocoa would bite my face, but instead, he sniffed me and licked it. I was whipped, and in that instant, I knew that this was my puppy. End-of-story. Now all we had to do was the paperwork, which would involve a name change.
Now I’m going to make a confession… I always wanted to name my dog “Fucker,” just so I could say things like Come Fucker. So when the woman doing the paperwork said I should change Chocoa’s name, I was more than happy to oblige. Unfortunately, the person before me wanted to name their dog something racy and the shelter refused, so I was put on the spot to come up with an alternative. Of course, the first name that popped into my head was my original name, and Chocoa was reborn as Jack.
I was told that he had to stay overnight so he could be vaccinated and neutered. My ex and I went shopping that day for Jack’s essentials, and we returned the next day after AIDS Walk NYC to pick him up. He had a cone around his head, but he was still the absolutely cutest puppy around. And more importantly, he was MY puppy and we were heading home.
Just a little change… Small to say the least… Both a little scared… Neither one prepared…
The first three months that Jack came to live with me were probably the most stressful of my life. I’m sure they were for him too. In the beginning, Jack would never use his wee-wee pad, or make outside when I walked him. He only peed or pooped on me. He also liked to bite me, and he would not stop barking. I took him to puppy school, where I was told I needed to crate train him, and recommended I get a shock collar to stop the barking. My ex didn’t like the shock collar, so I changed it to the one that sprays citronella to stop the barking. Of course, Jack was the one dog in the world that liked being shocked and would lick the citronella. I was at my wits end between being told by the puppy school what to do and my ex telling me everything I was doing wrong.
On top of that, the landlord of my complex informed me that my neighbors were complaining about all the barking. Because of my work hours, Jack spent large amounts of time penned in my kitchen, and he was acting out. I felt that I was stuck and failing miserably, and I made the decision that I needed to find Jack a better home. My ex reluctantly put a posting on Facebook, and we found someone interested in taking Jack pretty quickly. With everything settled, I brought Jack out to Long Island for the other family at the end of July 2014. Well, it turned out that my ex wanted Jack too, so he made up some story to the family, and in the end, Jack stayed with my ex. This will probably be the one and only decision I will give my ex props for.
The eight months Jack spent out on Long Island we refer to as “Boarding School,” because it basically was. He was there with another dog, and was learning how to behave from him. I was out there on weekends and holidays, and I spent my time with Jack, walking him around the neighborhood and playing with him. And Jack would always get super excited to see me and would never leave my side. My ex would actually describe us as the step-sisters who left Cinderella out because he felt I paid less attention to his dog. After we broke up, the only thing I wanted was to get Jack back to Staten Island with me, where he belonged. He left “Boarding School” in March 2015, and we haven’t been apart ever since.
Bitter sweet and strange… Finding you can change… Learning you were wrong
I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful it has been having Jack back home. He has grown up and calmed down quite a bit, and I always joke that he’s like the perfect boyfriend. I mean, I wake up everyday to him in my bed, he always wants to cuddle, he gives me kisses whether I want them or not, he gets my ass out of bed and going, and he’s always by my side. It freaks me out sometimes, but he definitely knows when I’m getting sick (sometimes even before me), and when I’m having a bad day, he always tries to cheer me up. PLUS, who can resist that face of his?
Believe me, he has his moments where I wanna scream. Like when he decides to start barking in the middle of the night because the wind is moving the bedroom curtains. Or when he eats bugs or crap from the floor and then throws up, or his occasional poop or pee in the house. Or when I have to chase him around the house to brush his teeth. And don't even get me started on how he behaves around other dogs in our complex. But when you compare that to how his cute butt wiggles, or how excited he gets when I take out his hairbrush, or how he skips every morning on our walks around the neighborhood, or jumps up and down whenever I walk in the door, or most importantly, how he curls up in a ball against my chest and exhales (shoop, shoop... Oops, wrong movie) when he goes to sleep, he can do no wrong. My heart melts every time... even with his snoring.
And just in case you didn't already think I've gone off the deep end, my absolute favorite moments with Jack are usually when I'm laying on my couch watching TV or reading or something, and he decides to come lay next to me and just stare at my face. I absolutely love staring into his eyes, because they say so much. It's like he knows I'm his daddy and I will never let anything happen to him. And as much as people like to applaud me for rescuing Jack, I can say with all honesty that it's Jack who actually rescued me. He's just a bundle of unconditional love.
Two summers ago, I was walking down Broadway after dying my hair pink. A woman stopped me on the street and told me she was a psychic. Now, I personally don't believe in all that stuff, but I humored her. Well what she said to me could not have been more accurate: the great love of my life's name starts with a "J." Now, as much as I love my manfriend, and let me be extremely clear that I love him with all my heart, even he knows that nobody on this planet will ever hold a candle to my Jackie-Wackie boy.
And that, my dears, is certain as the sun… Rising in the east.