LESLIE CRISS: Little dog with large attitude celebrates big day

By Leslie Criss / NEMS Daily Journal

“Even the tiniest Chihuahua is still a wolf at heart.”
– Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

“If Chihuahuas were people, you’d find them in the hammock on sunny summer days, instead of hiking, canoeing or swimming.”
– Jacqueline O’Neil

I grew up with family pets of the feline and canine kind. Most were strays or rescues. None possessed pedigrees.
Nothing against pets with papers, but when I was a kid, the two animals with whom I was acquainted that boasted a “fine” bloodline scared the living daylights out of me.
Pyewacket was my friend June’s Siamese cat. That cat loved June, but he had a low tolerance for all others. Honestly, he was just plain mean.
Another friend had a Chihuahua named Rusty.
My family’s dogs had always bordered on big. Sure, we’d had a few from puppyhood, but puppies grow up quickly.
I’d never been around an adult dog the size of a sweet puppy. And Rusty was nowhere near sweet.
He nipped at me every time I visited. And he growled much more than necessary.
Pyewacket primed my permanent perspective on cats of the Siamese kind. And Rusty? Well, he did nothing to open my mind – or heart – to Chihuahuas I might meet later in life.
Then I met Thom Thom.
Part of a litter born somewhere in Jackson five years ago today, Thom Thumb II was a gift from my friend Cheryl to her mother, who’d wished for a Chihuahua like the one she’d had as a child.
When Cheryl placed the 3-pound puppy in her mama’s hands, a bond was formed that probably helped make the next few months of Barbara’s life a bit more bearable. Soon after Thom came into her life, she was diagnosed with cancer and died one month later.
Cheryl inherited Thom after her mama’s death and the two became inseparable.
Thom’s friends in south Mississippi abound, and since his move to Tupelo, he’s made even more friends.
Unlike the other Chihuahua I’ve known in my lifetime, Thom can be very sweet. He can also be a terror.
He’s no longer a 3-pounder – at a recent weigh-in at the vet’s, he was called “fluffy” by Dr. Stephen King, who was being kind. Let’s just say Thom Thom’s treat train has left the station and won’t be back for a while.
Still and yet, in comparison to a 21-pound George and a 90-pound Chunk, Thom’s the smallest of our pups. But that doesn’t stop him from thinking he’s the Alpha dog, or trying to prove his top-dog position to his co-dwellers.
George and Chunk simply tolerate Thom’s tendency to tyrannize. I think it tickles them.
With a penchant for flip-flops, brown work boots and long pants worn by humans, Thom grabs hold with his teeth and hangs on, growling while being dragged across the room with each step the person takes. It’s hysterical.
Thanks to this slightly overweight, black Chihuahua with a big heart and black eyes that can conjure tears when necessary, my whole perspective on the breed has changed.
He’s a keeper.
Happy birthday, Thom Thom.

Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@djournal.com or (662) 678-1584.