Monday, July 26, 2010


Meet Jazzebelle
© 2010 Leighann Lord

Although I’m a dog lover, I have to confess Chihuahuas are near the bottom of my list. It only takes one dog to mess it up for the entire breed and for me the culprit was Chico. When I was a kid, Chico the Chihuahua technically lived across the street from us but he roamed the neighborhood with impunity, terrorizing everyone. Most people look both ways before crossing the street. We looked both ways before crossing Chico.

This dog was beyond the help of Caesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer. Chico would have ripped his heart out and peed on it while it was still beating. I remember riding on the back of my mother’s bicycle, Chico in hot pursuit. And I was very well aware that if my Mom didn’t out pedal him, I’d be the first one he’d sink his terrible tiny teeth into. That sort of thing scars you for life. I won’t even watch reruns of "Chico and The Man."

And then I met Jazzebelle.

I was at U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen in The Netherlands, the first stop on my recent European tour with Armed Forces Entertainment. As my tour mates and I were walking on base, my doggie senses started tingling. A short distance away, romping through the grass, was a white ball of fluff so small I thought it was a Tribble. My friend Carole (tour mate and fellow dog lover) and I were both instantly smitten.

"Awwwww! How cute! How adorable! She’s a what? No way!" Three-month-old Jazzebelle is a long-haired Chihuahua? "Say it ain’t so." She looked nothing like my memories of the Terrible Chico who had the body the Taco Bell dog and the disposition of Charles Manson. Jazzebelle was sweet and friendly.

Jazze’s parents, Bianca and Richard, were two of our MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) hosts. They were very patient with us as we took turns holding Jazze and acting like puppy paparazzi.

I have a beautiful dog at home. A rescued Cocker Spaniel named, Rolie. I love The Old Man, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I wished we’d had him from a puppy. I fantasize that starting out in a loving home might have alleviated some of his neurotic behavior (separation anxiety, lack of interest in toys, morbid fear of German Shepherds, a steadfast air of entitlement; okay the latter might be my fault) but maybe not. All the same, before we found Rolie I was hoping we’d get a puppy, a small dog; not a pursed-sized pooch but something that weighed less than a cranky American toddler.

Jazzebelle was very tiny, a scant three pounds. I was very nervous the first time I picked her up since she was smaller than any baby I’ve ever held. I was terrified that I’d drop her but I learned once you picked her up you never wanted to put her down.

But watching Jazzebelle run was just as much fun as holding her. She’d get a good gallop going and be nothing more than a blur of fur. Reminiscent of Chico, but in a good way, Jazze seemed to have no idea that she was a small dog. A fearless explorer, she climbed up – unaided and catlike – into the back window of Richard and Bianca’s car. It was there that Carole snapped one of my favorite pictures of the tour: me and Ms. Jazzebelle in the mutual admiration society.

My image of Chihuahua’s stood redeemed.

I don’t know what happened to Chico. His family eventually moved but no one assumed that Chico would be leaving too. He was a free range dog who did as he pleased. His family was probably moving to get away from him. Come to think of, I think they relocated to Europe.

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. She's George Carlin if he'd been born a Black Woman. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

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