My dog, Baloo, is a blazingly fast Chihuahua. She’s bigger than most Chihuahuas, with a long spine that contracts and expands like a slinky, so she flies across the ground like a little greyhound. Plus, either because she is part Mexican hairless, or because she is hormonally unbalanced, she is mostly bald – not so easy on the eyes, but good for the aerodynamic flow.
Her Bald Back
Last year, I saw the finals of the Chihuahua races on TV, and the winning Chihuahua was nothing special, so when I heard they were having qualifiers at a Petco in my area, I rounded up some friends, warmed up Baloo, and it was off to the races. If my dog was faster than the champ I saw in action, as I suspected, these local pups wouldn’t stand a chance. Still, I was worried poor Baloo, as a paperless, strange-looking rescue dog, would be rejected on grounds of mutty-ness but as it turned out, these “Huas” came in all shapes and sizes.
Baloo was looking good – some of the dogs we saw made her look like a regular super model, and I was sure her long legs would carry her to victory. There was a bit of a wait for our heat, so I passed the time by taking pictures, chatting to other “Hua-Hua” owners, and saying “awwwwww,” and “cute,” until my throat hurt.
At the Starting Gate
When it was our turn, my friend Robyn held Baloo behind the starting gate, and she was off!-
Or would have been, if she wasn’t too tall to fit through the gate. Long legs were her blessing, but they were also her curse. But just as all hope seemed lost, and as the other contestants milled around waging their tails, Baloo ducked under the gate, and trotted toward the finish line. I screamed myself horse (or dog?…) as the women to either side of me, hollering for their own pets, squeaked rubber hedgehogs and hot dogs in my ears, and elbowed me in the ribs. Time seemed to slow down, as Baloo hopped across the finish line, and into my arms. She had actually won! Baloo was going to the finals! My little street dog would have a chance to attend the national Chihuahua championships in San Diego, rub doggy elbows with the tiny toasts of Hollywood, sample the finest kibble.
There was a commotion at the judges’ booth. A very large, very angry woman, was insisting her very small, but equally angry chihuahua had won. I didn’t argue with her, Baloo seemed happy enough – and there was a really long wait in an very warm parking lot until the final heat. Baloo would return to race another day, leaving her plenty of time for a walk on the beach, and me plenty of time for an unplanned Margarita.