We adopted Bo the Epileptic Chihuahua (aka, Buck Nugget, BoBo, BoBiddyBo, Twerp Dog) into our family as a rescue. It was Fall 2008, and we had recently brought a puppy into the household, another Chihuahua that we named Camo because his coat looked like winter camouflage. My massage therapist asked if we would like another Chi: a client of his, a veterinarian, had one who needed a home. Apparently, the dog’s owner was in a wheelchair and had become unable to take care of him. She sent him to the animal clinic office to be put down. Fortunately, the staff at the clinic saw that all Bo really needed was a new home.
We called the clinic, which was more than an hour away, and arranged to take Bo. When Mr. Stuck arrived to pick him up, the staff was sad to see Bo leave; he had been well behaved and quiet during his stay there. In fact, they left his kennel open for him to roam the office at night. We brought Bo home with the understanding that the main criterion for adoption was that he and Camo would get along.
The first night, all Bo did was make laps around the island in the kitchen. He trotted around and around and around. He ignored Camo’s ‘youthful exuberance’ and our attempts to distract him with toys or treats.
We took him outside and set him down to explore the yard. He trotted off in a straight line, gaining speed as we tried to follow him and thwart his escape. We would pick him up and turn him around, and he would take off in the new direction. He did not respond to calls or whistles, and he did not bark unless he was hungry. He slept a lot during his adjustment to us.
Bo looked like an overstuffed sausage when we first brought him home; he weighed nearly 10 lbs. He was on medication for epilepsy and had been neutered. He did not like to be picked up or held; he would panic and try to jump out of our arms. He was six years old, and he had no idea what to do with the toys we offered him. It was evident that he did not know how to play at all. Number One Son and Number Young Son tried to engage him whenever they could, and, little by little, his attitude toward us became less diffident and more responsive.
It is now nearly 5 years since Bo joined our family. He eventually gave in to Camo’s ‘puppy-ness’ and learned to play.
He has slimmed down to a normal weight. After some adjustments, his recurring seizures are mostly controlled by medication. He does have a tendency to leave his messes around the house, and we have not been successful in eliminating that frustrating habit. But by far, his worst habit is coprophagia; that is, he has an affinity for excrement (prompting Mr. Stuck to wryly observe that Bo was a ‘totally green, recycling dog’).
Otherwise, Bo is a great dog; he is laid-back and compliant, in sharp contrast to Camo’s boundless energy and assertive manner. This may be due to the doggy downers he must take daily, but much of it is just his personality. Mr. Stuck and I have noted with amusement that the two dogs are similar in personality to their human counterparts, Number One Son and Number Young Son.
One drawback to Bo being so quiet is that it is too easy to step on him because we never know he is there. He can be pretty sneaky, even though he seems rather thick-witted sometimes. Maybe we have it all wrong; maybe Bo’s not just a family pet.
Maybe Bo’s a ninja. An epileptic ninja.