Maya (formerly Trundoe) is one of 39 dogs (plus 1 cat) who were removed from a Tucson home in 2020. It was on the news.
When the dogs arrived at the animal shelter, they were dirty, matted, and probably hungry. Some had worn down teeth caused by chewing on their metal crates. At least one had serious eye problems. After being washed, shaved, spayed, neutered, and microchipped (and some teeth pulled), they were all put up for adoption.
The house was ultimately condemned.
I’d been looking for a dog. One day, the shelter called and said they might have a good match. “She’s small and cute,” they said. I’d wanted a medium-sized dog, but I decided to meet her anyway. Best decision of my life.
At the shelter, I sat on a couch and waited for Maya to be brought in to meet me. “She didn’t really want to be put on the leash, so go slow,” the animal care technician told me. Maya promptly jumped up on the couch, held out her paw, and coyly placed it on my hand as if to ask, “Do you come here often?” My preconceived notions about small dogs flew out the window. This one was a keeper. I brought her home the following day. Here she is that day:
It took her a bit of time to adjust. For weeks, she did little but hide under my bed. But she’s a different dog now. She’s gained 4 pounds (a good weight for her, up from her initial 12) and has now learned to walk on a leash, sit, and stay (all of which she didn’t seem to know how to do when I first got her). Sometimes she’ll even perform the combo sit/stay, but only when she’s in the right mood.
She now responds appropriately to “treat,” “food,” “bed,” “couch,” “go home,” and “inside,” so I have to assume she’s a language genius. Although it’s true that she usually plays dumb when I say “come here,” I know she understands me. How can I possibly know that? A BFF can always tell.
She still likes to hide under my bed, where she’s ripped my brand-new wool rug to shreds – but only under the bed where nobody will notice except me. (She’s a very thoughtful dog.)
And speaking of thoughtful, she observes me from a distance while I prepare her morning meal, only chowing down after I’ve started in on my own breakfast.
Maya is a night owl, napping during the day but preferring to go for walks after sunset. Her favorite thing to do in the dark is waking me up at 4 a.m with a vigorous shake of her tags. This morning it was 3 a.m. What was I saying before about her being thoughtful?
She doesn’t seem to know what toys are for, but she will chase blueberries that I roll across the floor to her. I think we’ll graduate to large blueberries next, and then perhaps cherry tomatoes. Maybe she’ll be ready for tennis balls someday.
She cried loudly the first time she rode in a car with me, convincing me that it was her maiden voyage, but she soon became my quiet, patient travel buddy as we made our epic move across 2,800 miles of highway from Arizona to New York two years ago. She never slept a wink in the car – she just stared at the back of her seat, occasionally giving me a nervous, sideways glance as if to ask, “Are we there yet?”
Her face is very expressive. She has her “I need to go out” stare, her “it’s bedtime” gaze, her “aren’t you forgetting my treat,” look, and that adorably crooked smile when she’s really enjoyed her meal.
Oh yes, she definitely smiles. I swear she even laughs! Silently, of course. And sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’ll hear her softly grunting with satisfaction as she gently removes a treat from my hand and goes scampering away with it.
Maya’s recent DNA results revealed that she’s mostly Chihuahua, poodle, and miniature Schnauzer, with 6 other breeds thrown in. But the best part about having her DNA tested was that I found a close relative – her sister (or possibly her mother), whose adoptive name is Sadie Nella Mae M’Lady Moonbeam Marshmallow Huffington (a.k.a. Say-Say). They’re a 50% match. It’s been fun comparing notes with Say-Say’s human. Both dogs are shy, sweet, nocturnal hiders-under-beds who love cuddles and treats.
And now it’s time to take Maya for her birthday walk, if I can get her to “come here.” Happy birthday, Maya, and many more!!