Juhu was a very special little dog. However, his story doesn't begin with my picking him up from the animal shelter. His story begins in February 2006 when we got our first dog, Lola. Lola was a sweet tri-colored chihuahua dachshund mix. She came to us as a grown dog (all 11 pounds of her) from a coworker of my mother. This coworker had several small dogs and Lola just wouldn't be sweet to the other small dogs. Would I be interested in this dog? Of course! I immediately fell in love with Lola -- she had beautiful markings, she wasn't too big but she wasn't too little, and most of all, she needed me.
Lola was a good dog but she was quirky. She had an odd limp that switched from leg to leg. She was very meek and mild and anxious around new people.
We lived in Clinton when we acquired Lola. Our street was very quiet with very little traffic. We would walk Lola, without a leash, to the campus of Mississippi College for her to chase squirrels and run around in big open spaces. We continued this trend of letting Lola walk without a leash after we moved to Starkville. After all, she was our little shadow. Always walking next to our feet, never leaving our side....until the day she ran for a squirrel across the street. Lola was hit by a utility truck and Taylor buried her in our backyard. I mourned for that little dog like she was my child.
However, I learned my lesson. Dogs are not people. Dogs chase squirrels. Dogs don't know to look both ways before they cross the street. Dogs must be protected by their owner. Yes, yes, yes, I learned these lessons the hard way and still feel guilty about not protecting that little dog from manmade dangers.
About 6 months later, Maggie came into our lives. Another throw away dog that needed a home. She wasn't the perfect dog for me....too big, too much young dog energy, sheds too much. But, she needed a home and we have gave her all the love in the world.
After a year of just Maggie, I visited the animal shelter in search of a fully grown small dog. There was a Chihuahua growling viciously at every person who walked by and there was a little black dog who looked like a dachshund with Jack Russell ears. Juhu. It took a few days to realize why I immediately loved this dog when I saw him at the vet. I truly believe that he was an incarnate of Lola -- as Taylor would say he was 'Lola improved.' Juhu looked almost identical to Lola but he was robust, he never met a stranger, and he was never meek or mild.
Maggie and Juhu loved each other immediately. They were best friends -- chasing each other, biting face over the right to get the favored dog bed of the moment, taking turns eating. He was an escape artist -- one day he escaped 7 times in a matter of hours. Every time, employing a different escape route. We learned that he might find a new way to exit our backyard but he always came home when he got hungry.
Why am I referring to my sweet little dog in the past tense? Juhu was put to sleep on December 27, 2008. While we were skiing in Breckinridge, a friend was coming by daily to feed and check on Juhu and Maggie. That morning we got a phone call saying that she found Juhu laying on the top step outside unable to walk. She thought his legs were broken. After a visit to the emergency clinic at the vet school, we received word that Juhu was paralyzed from the waist down, with no ability to control urination, but thankfully, no pain sensation. The vet explained over the phone that he could press on and give Juhu more diagnostic testing and possibly perform surgery to further diagnose him. We asked if he would ever be the same dog. The answer was no. I passed the phone to Taylor. He explained that we had a 4 month old baby and were not in a position to care for a paralyzed dog. The difficult decision to euthanize our sweet little dog was made over the phone.
It was a sad day but unlike with Lola's death, I feel no guilt. Now we are just waiting for the next incarnation of Lola to come into our lives.