I’m quite convinced my husband and I have the smallest dog in the universe. Here’s the story of how we unintentionally acquired him.
It was the day after boxing day and my cousin Kim, who is quite genuinely one of the most fascinating/hilarious/brilliant human beings in the aforementioned universe, was driving to Dublin to drop off her son with his father.
She invited Steve and I along for the drive and we said yes. It was going to be an early start, and we were both quite tired from all the festivities of the past few days, but it sounded like a fun mini adventure.
Kim said she’d pick us up at six.
At half-seven, when she still hadn’t arrived, Steve went to bed.
I stayed up, knowing she’d show up eventually – this was classic Kim.
And lo, another two hours later, a car appeared in the street. I stepped out of my house at the same time Kim opened her car door and placed four tiny paws on the footpath in front of me.
“This is Beans,” she said, “He’s coming too.”
Now, guys, I cannot do justice to just how small this pup was. He fit in the palm of my hand and was shaky on his feet. At about eight months old, he had barely developed beyond his birth-weight, and he’d been the runt of the litter.
Kim, who was a dog groomer at the time, explained that she’d been given him and his uncle (Boss) by a client of hers that used to breed them but had given it up. Beans and Boss were all that was left and they needed a home.
My cousin already had a dog (the size of a pony), two-and-a-half actual horses, a number of cats, and a nine-year-old. But, not being someone who can turn away an animal in need, of course took them in.
Boss and Beans joined the menagerie, but Beans didn’t grow and Boss liked to push him around (hence the name). This went on for some time, until this fateful December day.
Beans had begun the day by falling over and getting hurt – something he was prone to, having the reflexes of a dyspraxic ninja with no feet – so Kim decided to give him a bit of a break and take him along on the journey: a bit of respite from his uncle.
Back then, Beans pretty much slept all day. He was so severely underdeveloped, he’d never even wagged his tail.
I held him the whole way down to Dublin, and the whole way back. And as we reached Belfast, he started to perk up a little.
His tail began to twitch, now and then.
Delighted by this (and the devotion in my eyes), Kim started giving me the hard sell.
“Look at him, Ellie. He loves you! He needs you. Propper one-to-one care. Won’t you take him home?”
I was torn. Everything within me wanted to say yes, but I had a cat and a husband to consider.
Both the cat and the husband had the exact same initial reaction.
I brought Kim in for a cuppa and Sox went on high alert – back arched and hair on end. I carried Beans away from her, up the stairs to the still sleeping Steve who rolled over, blinked, and put it quite eloquently: “What is that and why is it in my house?”
(To this point, my darling husband didn’t know the difference between chihuahuas, chinchillas, and Chiquitas – a brand of banana – bless him.)
The rest, as they say, is history.
I went to bed leaving Steve to spend some time with Beans. He sat on his lap as he played Skyrim and the cat adjusted, coming to a place of begrudging tolerance.
By the time I reemerged, Steve was in love.
“We have to keep him, don’t we?” he said.
“Yes,” said I, “But not the name.”
We call him Giles and today is his second birthday. He’s grown quite a bit – relatively – but he’s still the smallest dog I have ever met.