Dexter — July 9, 1997 – August 16, 2016

Dexter was my constant buddy for longer than any human friend I’ve ever had.

April and I bought our first three Chihuahuas from pet stores. ?Chili, Nacho, and Taco. ?All girls. ?After those three, April decided she’d rather rescue the critters who already exist instead of enabling the “puppy mills” that are rampant.

The first rescue was a another female Chihuahua. ?Her given name was Holly. ?But, in keeping with our whole Taco Bell theme, we renamed her?Jala-peno. ?We figured?Jala?would be close enough to keep from confusing the little beast. ?(They’re Chihuahuas. ?Not a lot of brain power going on there. ?Scant few of them have made it through Harvard Medical School.)

Around 2001 or 2002 we got our next rescue. ?Dexter.

What are you lookin’ at?

Dexter wasn’t having any of that whole “renaming” thing. ?”Burrito” had to eventually go on to a pit bull puppy, but Dexter made it clear right from the beginning. ?”You’re not changing my name.”

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“Yeah, you can forget finding my name on a menu board. Now, STFU while I grab a nap.”

Being our first male dog, he quickly let the others know he was the Alpha. ?Never mind those pesky?humans?walking around. ?He was in charge.

“You’re welcome for the Evian in the water bowl, bitches.”

Dexter was an escape artist. ?On his first night living with us, we had him pretty much fenced in with an indoor fence / barricade. ?Damned dog climbed the barricade, jumped out, and most likely peed on whatever was the closest shoe he could find.

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“Only because I couldn’t find a bra to pee on.”

Despite asking her not to, as a typical 10 / 11 year old, my daughter Spud would keep food in her bedroom. ?Using his escape artist abilities, Dexter was able to somehow get into Spud’s locked room, jump onto her chair, then jump up onto her desk where the food was.

April happened to come by while he was merrily munching away. ?She hollered at him from the hallway, “Get down off of there, dog!”

That pissed him off.

He jumped down from the table to the floor,?ran?at top speed over to where April was standing, jumped up, and bit her on the butt.

He seemed to have a special animosity towards the cat, Beans. ?Dexter would lead the pack of critters in a fast chase of the cat. ?He was?always?surprised when the cat would escape every single time simply by jumping 10 feet straight up in the air.

“Big fucking deal. Cat can jump. But I can drive!”

Dexter was absolutely fearless. ?While he was all of 7 pounds, he knew he knew he was meaner than any junk-yard dog.

“You’re damned right you’re lucky I don’t have my wire snips. I’d be through this fence in a minute and would eat your ass.” — Dexter

Earlier I mentioned having to save the name “Burrito” for a pit bull we fostered for a while. ?Burrito was just a puppy. ?All he wanted to do was play with the five Chihuahuas. ?To the?Chihuahuas, though, Burrito was some dinosaur who only wanted to make them into Scooby Snacks. ?Dexter, of course, was the most vocal in his opposition to Burrito being let into the “pack.”

One day, Burrito — who was close to 60 pounds — had had enough shaming by a little creature 1/8th his size. ?Burrito grabbed Dexter in his mouth and shook that little dog like he was a paint can on sale at Lowe’s. ?To this day I’m not sure how April was able to pry open a?pit bull’s?mouth and rescue Dexter. ?I?am?sure that once Dexter was back on the ground, he bit April on the ankle and said, “Back off, woman. ?I’ve?got?this,” and launched at Burrito again.

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“That orange thing is all that’s left of Burrito.”

After the incident with Burrito, we had to take Dexter to the vet. ?He had lots of puncture wounds. ?He turned that into a positive though. ?On “Single Doggies Dot Com,” in his dating profile he wrote, “Took on a Pit Bull. ?Now he’s more like a Pit Cow. ?Call me.”

Dexter would even scrap with the other Chihuahuas. ?None more fiercely than little Taco. ?Eventually, though, they became each other’s favorite to hang out. ?Like a furry episode of “The Bachelor.”

“Yes, dear.”

After mine and April’s relationship went into the history books, Dexter and newly added-to-the-pack-but-didn’t-care Max The Beagle come to live with me.

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Grumpy Old Dawgs

Max and Dexter . . . existed with one another. ?They were beyond puppy years, didn’t care to play with each other. ?Just wanted to nap. ?Of all the years I had them both, I remember just one time where they actually put aside their “Odd Couple” personas.

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“For a little goddamned dog, you take up a lot of room.”
“For an old goddamned dog, you’re not very grateful I’m letting you on my couch.”

On Labor Day, 2010, Max let me know it’d been a ball.

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“Naw, don’t think Pupperoni Sticks are gonna be enough to keep me around, but thanks.”

Dexter was a little heartbroken that Max The Beagle was gone:

Naw, I’m kidding. ?Dexter had a little bit of confusion for a day or two.

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“Wait a second. You took the old dog away . . . but you didn’t bring him back. Hmm. All right. What’s for lunch?”

After Max was gone, Dexter and I did a lot of bicycle rides together. ?(Thus the hook I’m hanging this post on in the middle of a?bicycling?blog. ?Hey, it’s my fucking blog. ?I can write about whatever I like.)

I fastened a milk crate to the back of the bike. ?Put a blanket in it. ?Instant Chihuahua side-car:

“Great. I either look backwards and get motion sick or I stare at the fat guy’s ass. This is gonna be a hoot.”

Dexter rode everywhere with me. ?Not that he had much a choice in the matter. ?I took off on a Fourth of July ride about 60 miles south of my house. ?The temperature was well over a hundred degrees. ?You think I could get that silly ass dog to actually drink some water?

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“Nope. Gonna make you feel guilty for leaving an air conditioned house, you dumbass.”

Once we got to the hotel that day, guess who the?totally exhausted?being was? ?(Hint: ?it wasn’t the guy who did all the pedaling:)

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“I’m not sharing the bed with you, fat boy.”

The next morning we were headed back home. ?We stopped at a McDonald’s. ?I let him out of the basket to go do his thing. ?Somehow he got out of my sight. ?The next I spotted him, he was standing underneath a dual tire on a huge pickup truck . . . that was backing up.

I screamed, “STOP!” at the top of my lungs and fortunately the driver heard me and hit the brakes. ?Dexter came walking over to me, nonchalantly. ?”So, what’d you bring me for breakfast?”

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“And it better not be one of the McGriddle things. I will upchuck that sumbitch before we get 5 miles up the road.”

We took off to Cleveland on another adventure. ?As always, he was a chick magnet:

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He didn’t care what?species?of chick he attracted:

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He also was, “Meh,” on cultural items:

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“If they don’t have dog treats, what good are they?”

Though he gave appropriate respect to my mom:

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“I think you got the raw end of the deal, Ma. He totes your ashes around in a black bag. I at least get a milk crate.”

Around 2012, Dexter acquired a “brother”:

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“Hi! I’m Dipshit! Or Pepper! Or just call me, “Aww-aint-he-cute!”

Until Dipshit came to live with Dexter and I, I would have said Dexter still acted like a puppy. ?But Dipshit?was?a puppy.

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“I’m not babysitting him. Forget it.”

The contrast was amazing. ?It also made me realize that Dexter really?wasn’t?a puppy any more. ?He was 15 years old when Dipshit joined us.

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“Doesn’t that little black dog EVER shut up?”

Once I was taking the two of them for a walk at a local school. ?We were in a field which backed up to several houses. ?One of the backyards was home to a quintet of?huge?dogs. ?Doberman size and larger.

The big dogs were in the process of losing their minds at the thought of these two little dogs just out for a stroll sans leashes. ?Just able to run about as they wished. ?That offended the big dogs to their very core. ?They were quite vocal in their consternation.

Dipshit, being a “teenager,” did what teens all around the world did. ?He decided to “flip off” the big dogs.

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“All I’m missing is my baggy pants and rap music!”

Dipshit ran over to the fence and started barking?his?fool head off. ?The five big dogs reciprocated while Dipshit ran around in “Na Na!” circles, thoroughly enjoying giving both fingers and a giant “fuck all y’all!” rant.

Dipshit finished and ran back over to where Dexter and I were standing. ?Dipshit gave Dexter a big wide-eyed, “I fuckin’ told them!” look. ?Dexter ignored Dipshit’s victory dance. ?He just waltzed over to the fence.

The five big dogs were still out of their minds, having been cussed at by the little black dog. ?Now here comes this old white dog, just strolling up to face them.

When Dexter got to the fence, he just stood there. ?He never barked. ?He just cocked his head slightly and looked at the big dogs. ?One by one, they quit barking. ?One by one, they all just sat down and stared at Dexter.

After a few moments holding court, Dexter, imperceptibly nodded at those dogs, and trotted back over to where Dipshit and I were. ?He looked at Dipshit with condescension, contempt, and disregard. ?He said to Dipshit:

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That’s how you do that.”


Everything above this line I wrote a few hours after Dexter passed away. ?It’s now roughly a year later and I still miss the little dog nearly every day. ?RIP, Dex.