EDIT: Arthur is now adopted and enjoying his new home!
Older dogs at the shelter are usually the ones whose age is over 4-5 years old. They might be graying around the edges, but they’re still active and quite perky! In most cases, they’ve already experienced the rough-and-easy tumbles of puppyhood, training, and most often have a quiet confidence that is unique only to older dogs.
Arthur is an older chichihua mix (his age is anyone’s guess) who reminds me a bit of Anthony Hopkins in his role as a butler in Remains of the Day. His age hasn’t stopped him from enjoying walks, cuddling with volunteers, calmly watching the world go by, and munching on as many treats as possible.
Here’s a small interview with him:
Volunteer (V): Hello Arthur, I see you’ve made yourself a nice spot on my lap.
V: [chuckles] sure thing. So Arthur, why do you think many folks pass you by in the shelter?
A: I think it’s because I’m not the cutest thing there, not like the puppies or even the full grown adults. I’m a little white around the muzzle and on my back, and while it looks like I’m fading away, I’m not. It just happens that anti-graying hair formula for dogs hasn’t been invented yet, so I can’t keep up with my looks as much as I’d like. If I had my way, I’d get botox along with those nice silver highlights, but that’s just me.
The other reason is that I don’t think most people like to be reminded of aging, or signs of aging. There’s a prevalent attitude in this country that being young and hip is well, cool, and that being old generally means being feeble or weak-minded. This is total nonsense, of course, because I’m neither feeble or weak minded. Volunteers are pleasantly surprised that I walk very well for a small dog, do my bathroom duties neatly and efficiently, and that I might be amenable to learning ‘sit.’ Currently, I’m working on the eye contact thing when I get a treat.
V: Eye contact? Care to explain?
A: Yeah, so I’m learning how to ask humans for something I want, first by looking at them, then sitting. I’ve heard this is something one learns as a puppy, but apparently, in my case, it is never too late to learn. I’ve also overheard volunteers say that I’m much nicer to deal with than puppies, as I already know how to focus and don’t do the silly things like jumping or nibbling on fingers.
V: Why don’t you jump or nibble on fingers?
A: Because I already learned that jumping on folks doesn’t get you anywhere, and in my case, just imagine a tiny chihuahua trying to jump on a huge human. That’s just a waste of energy! I don’t nibble on fingers because I already know fingers are a no-no, and besides, they don’t taste as good as hot dogs anyway. I’m also not teething.
V: Some chihuahuas have been thought as designer dogs, in part because they are featured so often in popular culture and media these days. They’ve also been thought to be small yippy dogs. What do you think of all this?
A: I think thinking judging a dog by its breed should be done rather carefully. Just because I happen to look like a chihuahua, it doesn’t mean that I will act like one. Don’t judge by the breed, judge by the dog that I am now. Some of my bigger neighbors already have a bad rap even though they seem like awfully great fellows because of the way they look.
V: Well said. What are some of your favorite things to do?
A: I’m a very simple dog. As long as you feed and walk me, all I ask for is a nice lap in the evening (and maybe days), yummy treats, and you all to myself. I don’t mind other dogs too much, but I’d prefer to be your only dog because if there is one fault I have it is being an attention hog.
V: Well, thank you for giving us your attention and time. Here’s a treat.
A: ymre ashwalkam. [talking through his treat]