Boo Boo obtained his nickname “the Little Terror” from me. In most ways, this was not a tagline that necessarily fit him. Mostly, he was a chill canine (especially around other dogs which is saying more then what Chief and Nala are like) but the Chihuahua evoked frustrations in other family members due to his sometime obstinate behavior and his trademark bark. An unmistakable sound, often at night, which would go up an octave on his first bark and then down to a lower octave on the immediate followup (ruff, ruff). He was feisty as hell but, really, only when a person annoyed him.
Boo Boo passed away on September 10, 2016 prior to midnight. The decision to put the Little Terror to sleep was difficult but our hand was forced due to his older age and decline in quality of life.
I first met the Chihuahua in the fall of 2011 when Michelle and I started dating. At first, I’m not sure he liked me. We would be seated on Michelle’s living room couch and Boo Boo would often walk over, across from the couch, and hang out under a decorative bench. His motivation for this was the heat vent directly under the bench. He would stand on the vent, warming himself and look at me suspiciously with his one eye.
How the Little Terror lost his eye is the stuff of family legend. Boo Boo stood up for himself when Chief (the border collie) came over and tried to steal from his food dish. As I mentioned, Boo was a laid back dog until someone tried to pull something like this. Growling at Chief and trying to get him to go away, Chief nipped at Boo Boo and took out his right eye. The scene horrified Michelle who lived alone at the time.
Given this consequential fight and Boo’s tough resilience, I offered a few times to Michelle about getting Boo a pirate eye patch to increase his intimidation (let’s face it, limited as a 6lb dog) and street cred. I was rebuffed on each occasion.
Boo’s fight is evidenced by his life story. When he was born, he was a part of a puppy mill. Abused. Pushed around by humans with brooms. People that knew Michelle, while she lived in Canada, contacted her one day about a Chihuahua they had in their shelter. Boo was scheduled for execution for aggression and had a reputation of snarling and lunging at shelter staff from his kennel.
Michelle took him into her home and worked with him. When I met Boo 3 or 4 years after that, I was stunned to learn he was very close to being put to death for aggression. The Little Terror certainly had a suspicion of me at first but was not threatening at all (and sure, a part of that is most people are not threatened by little Chihuahuas).
Over time he grew to love me. We would hang out downstairs on our old sectional couch and Boo would walk over and sit in my lap. His demand to be petted would be to look up at me with his one eye until I succumbed. Sometimes he had horrid breath too.
After Michelle and I’s wedding, Boo gradually began a physical decline as he aged. The condition became especially pronounced within the past year. Watching him walk became painful at times. Other moments when he was out going potty, he would have trouble finding his way back inside due to his limited eyesight.
Boo’s enjoyment of life was limited to laying out in the grass of our backyard on a nice, sunny day. He would lie directly in a sunspot and not want to move for hours. Either that or sleeping is where he derived his pleasure. At the far end of our sectional couch is a light blue blanket and, even as I type this, one can still see the circular indentation in the exact spot where Boo would lie down night after night.
We miss him. Naomi asks about him whenever we go down to feed the dogs. Boo would hobble outside to go potty last among the three dogs taking his time to get up from his bed. Naomi would often watch and be excited to see him. The smaller frame of a dog was less intimidating for her.
Unprompted, Naomi declared just two days ago to Michelle: “Boo Boo went to Jesus. He’s with the Father. God made the clouds.” Being two, she may not fully understand all the implications or nuances of a part of the family passing away but she appears to be developing a kind of Augustinian theology in her youth. I guess I cannot complain about that.
So here is to the Little Terror who won’t be soon forgotten.