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The pit-huahua meets the Great Dane
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Holli Deal Bragg

            Peke-a-poos and cock- a-poos have been around a while, but the designer dog thing exploded a couple of years ago and suddenly there were Labradoodles and chiweenies, Lhasa-poos, and a host of combinations of dog breeds.

            I was surprised last year when browsing at a flea market in Florida, I discovered mixed breed designer dogs brought just as hefty a price as the blue-bloods.

            I think I can top them all, however.

            Several months ago I responded to an advertisement on Freecycle ( a online swap-shop community) about a chihuahua. I won the "bid," and the woman brought me the dog.

            It was not until she had me in her sights that she warned me the dog was a rescue, had hair loss, and was afraid of people. Immediately I knew the dog would not fit the needs of  the family member for which I intended to get her, but being the animal lover I am, the dog went home with me anyway.

            Dirty, smelly, terrified of people, she was still a sweet dog. The hair loss was obviously a combination of flea infestation and heat, and I hoped I could help her regain her trust in humans. She feared women more than men, and the woman who gave her away claimed she had rescued the dog from a Millen lady who threw her against the wall.

            Imagine my shock when a couple weeks later I received a photo through email from the Bulloch County Jail. I'd requested a mug shot of a woman who was charged with animal cruelty, who had 10 dogs seized and her state kennel license taken away.

            It was the same woman who had given me Penny, the poor chihuahua who feared people.

            Penny was not house broken, and after trying her inside a few days we decided to place her in one of our kennels. She suddenly jumped from my arms and fled right as I was opening the door.

            None of us could catch her except a neighbor who lured her inside his house. He thought he wanted her, but changed his mind when he realized how timid and unhousebroken  she was.

            He let her back outside, and suddenly no one, not even he, could catch her.

            She stayed close to the house, and we fed her. She would wag her  tail and smile with teeth showing, but would not let us even get close.

            One day I noticed she was getting pretty pudgy and I figured she was getting extra treats from neighbors. Then it became obvious Penny was going to be a mama.

            I knew I had to catch her, because cold weather was coming and I did not want her to have puppies in a ditch. I also knew I would want to play with those pups and make sure they were healthy.

            One morning  I left the house and spotted Penny sound asleep, curled up in the sun on top of a pile of straw. I quietly crept up and grabbed her before she woke.

            Poor girl was terrified, but I soothed her as best I could. She didn't seem to mind being with the couple of dachshunds in the pen,and they all got along well.  She still trembled whenever anyone approached, however.

            Soon it was time for her to give birth. I suspected the sire of the pups was either my piebald male dachshund or a tiny male chihuahua down the road. Boy was I wrong.

            We brought Penny inside and prepared her a spot in our storage room. Cleaning up after her is a chore, but it was better than pups being born outside. We just don't do things that way.

            The time came. Stan was the one to find the surprise. It was only one puppy.

            But what a pup.

            Thinking it could be a chiweenie, coworker Jake Hallman expressed interest in the pup, so we made a deal.

            I wasn't sure he would still want her when he found out we identified the proud papa - it wasn't Toby the dachshund. It was Turbo the pit bull.

            Turbo is a mild-mannered, sweet and well-bred dog weighing about 50 pounds. Penny weighs maybe seven pounds.  Fortunately for her, she only had the one pup, which Jake still wants and has named Cuba.

            With a wide pit-bull mouth, bowed bulldog legs, and a chihuahua's bugged eyes, Cuba is comical. The color of her mama - black and tan - she also has her daddy's white blaze on the chest and face.

            She's got a pretty good grip with those jaws, too. Ankles beware.

            It's a pretty good bet Jake will the only Pithuahua in the area.

            Penny was likely abandoned as a poor breeder since she only had one pup. We don't care. She has a forever home where she won't be thrown against walls and will be well-fed and happy, even if she never does fully trust people.

            And Cuba will go live with Jake and his big black Great Dane America. It's a happy ending, the kind I like.

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