Miracles of nature: A second chance to do things right, all because of three furry friends


Chihuahuas (L-R) Kiko, Yoda and Shandy are memorialized in this painting by Mary Dibble. The Chihuahuas gave unconditional love. They were the light of their owners’ lives and changed their lives forever. (Alexis Ramon Ponce)


“Pets belong outside!” she yelled. “They never have to be on our sofa or in bed. Never!”

I had an extremely strict grandma; a great lady, yet strict about animals and their interrelation with humans. The way she taught us to treat animals wasn’t exactly the right way. I discovered that many years later.

Here is where the saying “A dog is man’s best friend” – which has been said many times – makes a presence, but this time for me it has real meaning.

It is especially important to understand that not only dogs, but also any kind of pet might be a great presence in our lives, and they can demonstrate to us in some way the meaning of the words company, support and love.

In 2010, on a sunny day on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, two Chihuahuas came into our lives. My husband and I named them Kiko and Shandy. These hairy twins showed me things in life that I couldn’t learn in school. They came to change our lives forever.

How did they arrive? I’m sure it wasn’t a coincidence. We were going to the movies and on our way, for some reason – maybe destiny – we felt an attraction to go inside a pet store to take a look only.

Immediately, when we were inside that place, we were attracted to a couple of 2-month-old puppies, brother and sister. The connection was immediate. They adopted us at that magical instant and we could not say no.

From that moment on, we started to look for information about the breed, all about Chihuahuas. I want to start by saying that the correct name of the breed is “Chihuahueño or Chihuahuan, meaning originally from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico.

According to the American Kennel Club, Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed in the world. In contrast to their little size is their huge ego, attitude and loud bark.

We found out that Kiko and Shandy’s ancestors are from a breed that was raised for the Mexican royalty in civilizations like the Aztecs and the Toltecs. The ancestor dog was an extinct breed known as the Techichi and it was the alpha; the genesis of the Chihuahua.

Chihuahuas have compact bodies. Nevertheless, they come in different shapes, with weights that range from 2-20 pounds. They have short or long hair. However, they all have something in common. They have big ears, huge, bulging eyes and for sure, a truly short temper.

In the beginning, when I started interacting with my puppies, I used to walk with them in open green areas surrounded by forest.

They are territorial little things and super protective of their pack.

Walking with my lively, full-of-energy pack was a new experience. Every day was a different adventure. Building great memories was the most important thing of all, creating bonds that last forever.

In Hawaii, it is quite common to find hens or roosters and their little ones living free in the wilderness. It was those poultry that immediately caught the attention of my Chihuahuas, especially Kiko who, on occasion, ran after them until the chickens went to the top of a tree looking for shelter.

As it was explained in the beginning of this story, as a Latin man, I was raised in a rich, colorful culture that has a special meaning for the word family. Even so, the connection to pets is different to the way people in the United States treat their furry friends.

In my case, I used to see animals as an inferior breed. They always slept outside and never came inside the house. It was unthinkable to see them sleeping on the family couch.

Nonetheless, my little twins changed that vision, my past feelings for pets. I changed from the inside out. In my mind, the words equality, dignity and love started to have great meaning. I never imagined I would not only share a space in our house with them, but share a part of my soul.

Through the years, my husband and I discovered that our very brave, Napoleonic complex-suffering doggies, who acted like lions trapped in tiny bodies, were perhaps misunderstood creatures.

As a result of the love they gave us all the time, we filled every space of their lives as well, with love and compassion. Of course, in the end they gave us more than that.

After 10 years, the moment came to say goodbye. Shandy, along with Kiko, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Our little Yoda left a year after them, leaving behind a legacy of understanding, respect and love; a great teaching of life that is above all kinds of prejudice.

Now we have a whole new generation of brave Chihuahuas, three to be exact: Camila, Seamus and Tiffany Lulu, every one of them with different personalities – or should I say doggienalities?

Seamus hates baths and getting his nails clipped.

Camila loves eating, but hates other people and all other dogs.

For Tiffany Lulu, our puppy who recently turned a year old, the day is all about playing. She plays with the expensive toys bought in the pet shop, but her favorite toy is a tube sock. She also plays with her favorite living toy, Seamus.

Tiffany Lulu has been known to chew her way through shoes as well. Her youthful vigor has energized her brother and sister, as well as her two dads.

We can’t imagine life before our lives became so intertwined by these miracles of nature.



Editor’s Notes:

  • Headline was updated on Sunday, June 4.
  • Photo was enlarged on Sunday, June 11.