A Tiny Merry Christmas: An Animal Rescue Adventure

Dec 15, 2012 | 2012 Articles, Joyce Brandon, Pets

by Joyce Brandon

Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Fresno.

I’ve been feeling a little bah humbug about Christmas this year. I think the days have just gotten away from me. I haven’t done much to prepare and finances are never what I had hoped they would be. I was grocery shopping the other day and almost panicked when I realized carols were playing and there were only 15 days until Christmas. I called my husband and said “What’s wrong with me? I just can’t get into the Christmas spirit.”

I came home, put away the groceries, and sat down to unwind for a few minutes. This funny little dog we call Tiny was hopping around my feet, vying for my attention amongst the fan club I had gathering. I suddenly realized that I had my own little Tiny Tim, the female four legged variety that is.

I’ve had Tiny a few months now. She is a silly little five-pound Chihuahua. At first glance, she looks like any other adorable little big eared Chihuahua, but, if you observe her for a few minutes you realize there is something not quite normal about her. She moves with stiff legged, jerky motions. She shakes and wobbles with varying degrees of severity, dependent upon her level of excitement. And when crated or put outside, she paces until you give in and let her in/out.


I first heard about Tiny in a message from ACT and Orange Cove shelter volunteer, Tish Turman. Tish posted a picture of this skinny, big eared, tiny Chihuahua and said she had been found under the steps of the Orange Cove library. Tish felt that since she was so tiny and the shelter was so hot (middle of summer) she might not survive the weekend. I couldn’t resist so Tiny came home with me.

Tiny was terrified of the other dogs initially. She would cower in the corner when they approached her. She wasn’t too fond of being picked up by humans either, you had to hold her really snug or she would squirm right out of your hands.

I had to learn new ways of handling her. For example, if I am carrying her and put her down I have to pause before letting go because she doesn’t always put her feet down. When I pick her up, I will loop one finger into her collar so she can’t wiggle loose and fall. She is special needs for certain, but it doesn’t get her down. This little dog has a heart as big as the state of Texas.

I was watching her yesterday having fun trudging through the fallen leaves in the backyard, some as big as she is. There was a blanket the dogs had pulled onto the grass and she set about making a nest, laying down, and enjoyed soaking up the sun. She had a twinkle in her eye as she watched the activities of the other dogs. She has come a long way from that panicked little dog that arrived at my house. She is an absolute treasure.

Short video of Tiny at the shelter:

Tiny has recently discovered that if she hops at my feet when I am sitting on the couch I will pick her up and hold her. That is her signal that it’s snuggle time. You don’t hold Tiny on your lap. She crawls up to your chest and will look you straight in the eyes then plaster herself to your shoulder. It is like a hug from heaven.

In Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol, Tiny Tim symbolized the underdog. He was poor, he was crippled, and he was small–sounds a lot like my Tiny. Like the character in the story, my Tiny has a heart of gold and, I believe, cherishes life to fullest in spite of the difficulties she has been handed.

I actually do pause and consider the plight and life of the animals in my house if my life had taken a different direction. If the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come took me to visit the future without the work of the animal rescuers I know, Tiny and the many wonderful animals that fill our valley rescues would indeed cease to exist.

I am going to celebrate the spirit of the season and resolve to enjoy each day. Miss Tiny will be right there with me….unless of course you would like to celebrate Christmas with her: she is looking for a family who will cherish her just the way she is.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas this year. I ask you to please consider what you can do to help the animal rescuers in your area. Many wonderful animals are celebrating Christmas this year because of them.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section.

Joyce Brandon is co-founder of Animal Compassion Team, has lived in Squaw Valley for 21 years and has always had lots of four legged friends sharing her mountain home along with her husband Jim, and five children. Joyce works part time for Mountain Valley Community Church and splits the rest of her time between family and animal rescue work. Joyce believes animal rescue is a mission field God has called her to and has given her a passion for.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



powered by TinyLetter