CAUTION: Bias, prejudice and favoritism follows.
Ozzie came into our lives in 2007. He was a mere one-pound, something-ounce puppy. He was originally intended as a gift for my daughters from my roommate. That didn’t last the night. I insisted that he sleep with me so that I could house train him. I argued that Kyanna and Sierra were not old enough or responsible enough at 10- and 14-years-old to take on this huge task. I probably broke their hearts. But, this is the way it was. I didn’t want tiny puddles of pee and miniscule turds in my house. I had experience. I had house trained pets before. I was the best woman for the job. I could do this. And, to top it off, Ozzie was soooooooo cute.
My Chihuahua, Ozzie
He was the runt of the litter and born with a hole in his skull. This is a common defect from trying to create even tinier puppies in smaller breeds. Even though we were warned early on that he might be “special,” he could sit, lay, rollover, stand up and shake on command. When he was younger, he even agreed to play fetch. However, he outgrew that game as an adult. He knew what it was to go bye-bye and load up in the car and what it meant when he heard the word “stay.” Speak. I could never teach him to speak though he was a super intelligent dog.
Ozzie was named after Osborne Earl Smith, better known as Ozzie Smith—an American former baseball shortstop who played in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals from 1978 to 1996. Some say Ozzie Smith was the best shortstop to ever play the game. I think our Ozzie was the best dog to ever wag a tail.
We named him after the baseball great because my two daughters grew up playing softball. We spent countless hours and dollars at a softball parks all across South Texas. When we first got Ozzie, both girls played Little League. We’d frequently take Ozzie to the Little League fields during their games. Ozzie made fast friends there. Somehow, he would taunt the little kids to chase him. He would run up on them and bark and stammer his front paws in the ground and then turn and run off. He would do this repeatedly until the kids would chase him. He would have 10 or 12 kids trailing after him. He’d let them chase him for a bit and then he’d circle back and chase them. The kids loved Ozzie! This would go on for hours, sometimes two and three times a week. Ozzie was famous at the ball fields.
Ironically, later in his life, I would take him to games and he would sit with me in a lawn chair behind the backstop. Every time someone would score and run across home plate, he’d stand up in my lap and bark. He didn’t like all the commotion happening there.
He loved camping, sunbathing and eating ice cream (especially on his birthday). For some reason, he enjoyed running on only three legs. He loved sitting on people’s laps and getting petted. He had a special fondness for cheese. When he rode in a car, he had to be perched high on my shoulders so he could see. He always loved chasing things. Always. One day, he sped out of the front door after a piece of white paper that was tumbling across the yard. He loved to chase birds and butterflies and cats. He never learned to chase cars. Thank God. Almost daily, he’d visit with each of our neighbors. He knew they fed him table food—something he didn’t get at home.
He loved protecting us. We knew anytime someone pulled into our drive. He was infamous with our mail lady (who refused to exit her mail truck if Ozzie was outside) and any UPS, FedEx or DHL driver who needed to drop a package off. He may or may not have bit a few. One of the FedEx drivers tried relentlessly for a few years to become friends with our little Ozzie by bringing him a treat with each visit. Ozzie never fully gave in to this idea. I don’t think he ever completely ate one of the dog biscuits; some of them got not much more than a sniff. One of my friends wouldn’t visit unless she wore snake boots because she was scared of the 4# and 13 oz. we called Ozzie. He was a terror.
But only for a bit. If you came in our house and sat down, two minutes wouldn’t pass before he’d be in your lap. Put a blanket on your lap and you could easily cut that time in half.
Baths. He hated baths and loud noises.
Ozzie brought such joy to our lives. He was a little ball of love and enthusiasm. He loved us. And we loved him. TONS. It’s true. Dogs really are man’s best friend.
On April 21, 2017, a large, aggressive dog came into our yard and attacked Ozzie. I’m sure Ozzie was trying to protect our home and his yard. The larger dog broke Ozzie’s back, severing his spinal cord. Despite rushing Ozzie to the vet, there was nothing we could do. We would have to euthanize him that same day.
I have to give a HUGE shout out to the Deason Animal Clinic and to Dr. Apple in Floresville.
We made the decision to change vets when Ozzie was about around nine-years-old. The first straw was after I took a kitten I found to the vet. Someone had shot the kitten with a bow and arrow and the arrow was still lodged in its torso. I asked the vet to please help the kitten. He told me I’d have to pay for whatever services he rendered. I countered with me being a customer for the last seven years, asked him if he was in the business to help animals and reminded him that I found this kitten on the side of the road. He then agreed to examine the kitten, free of charge, and ultimately euthanize the kitten.
The second straw came during a visit where Ozzie tried to bite the vet when he was giving him a shot. The vet then threatened to end services for Ozzie. It struck me as odd that he didn’t anticipate an animal trying to protect itself after being poked with a needle. It also struck a chord with me that he’d rather threaten me and Ozzie’s health than follow whatever protocol there is to giving animals (five-pound animals!) shots. Ozzie never saw this vet again.
I finally made the change for Ozzie and my cats after they saved my daughter’s dog from parvo.
This was a very traumatic and sad time for my family. Dr. Apple and the staff at the Deason Animal Clinic were so compassionate and caring. Dr. Apple even selflessly agreed to stay late, after the clinic had closed, so my oldest daughter could be there for the euthanization. She was very understanding and answered all of our questions. She made this very hard decision as easy as she could for us.
Thank you to all of our family and friends who called, texted and left messages on our Facebook pages for us. Thank you to Karen and Allison for bringing flowers for Ozzie’s grave. Thank you to Tara for donating to the ASPCA in Ozzie’s name. It is proof at how many lives Ozzie touched over the years. Condolences came from as far away as Oregon, Florida and even Austria. Little Ozzie was a rock star.
RIP, my chihuahua, Ozzie. (1/22/2007-4/21/2017)
The takeaways I want you to have from this post are:
- Always love your pets and take excellent care of them.
- Takes lots of pictures of your pets and treat them just like family.
- Choose good, caring medical providers for your pets… don’t make choices based on convenience alone.
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I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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