In Memory of Penny

BELLA PENELOPE ORTIZ VANDEVER

She was born in my heart years before I had her, my sweet baby girl. It was during a visit with my sister Elena when I jokingly said, Sister, I want to be one of those ‘chi-chi’ ladies that carries a little dog in a purse. My sister’s reply was Yes, and we will call her Penelope! From that day forward I often referred to my little Penny as if she existed in my daily life.

When Penny needed rescued from her horrible existence in a puppy mill, I was ready. Years of producing puppies had taken its toll. She was a sick, little creature that needed a lot of TLC. The rescue group said she had mange. I didn’t care I took her anyway. I soon learned she had no hair for a reason. In the late 90’s a Chinese Crested Hairless dog was a rare and little known breed. Penny was truly unique from the beginning.

On my way to pick up Penny from the foster family, I was told she had a buddy, a male Yorkie, and they have never been apart. I didn’t want to separate them, so I came home with two dogs. I named the Yorkie Bear. Not separating the two was the best decision I ever made. It didn’t take long for me to recognize they were inseparable. Anywhere Penny went Bear would follow. When Bear would lay right on top of Penny, she never cared. She was his security blanket and protector. Penny loved him and Bear loved her.

That was the beginning of our lives together. Jeff said if I got Penny and Bear my travels would cease. I decided since I was teaching them everything new, I would teach them how to travel. Penny’s boarding card reads like an international runway model. She flew to New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Toronto, Vienna, Prague and more. Her favorite place was anywhere she could run on the beach and lay in the sun.

Our lives were completed when Steve came into it. The first time he looked down at Penny and she looked up at him I believe they had the same thought. Steve thought, You are the smallest creature I have ever seen. Penny thought, and you are the biggest creature I have ever seen. For the first time in Penny’s life she chose someone to watch over her. Often going to Steve when she was scared, especially when there were thunderstorms. Steve gladly accepted the responsibility and became the guardian of all of us.

We lived as a comfortable and happy family. One day Aunt Laura called and said there was a little female Yorkie that was found in a bad situation and needed a home. As long as the new Yorkie got along with the others, we would take her. We named her Elly. Penny liked her right away, as long as Elly knew the rules. I am the pack leader, got it? Penny said to Elly in her sassy way. Elly replied, Okay, then can we be best girl friends? A happy union was created, Penny and Elly became B. F. F. s.

All the years Penny was with us one thing was certain. The only way a 4-pound dog can survive a puppy mill is to be the toughest little dog she can be. Once she pulled her toenail out and never made a sound. When they found a spot of cancer on her stomach, Penny didn’t even blink and lived five more years.

Penny’s strength was obvious when her kidneys began to fail and she never complained. She fought hard and in the end we made the difficult decision to give her our last gift of love. Penny had a peaceful sleep and we stayed up with her all night. In the morning I dressed her in a beautiful black and pink dress with a sequence pink flower on the back. I wrapped her in a flower receiving blanket. I he’d her in my arms as her dad and siblings looked on. We told Penny we loved her, she closed her eyes and went to heaven.

Through our tears peace comes to us knowing we could be with Penny at the end and she is no longer sick. We smile when we reminisce of her sassy attitude. She would walk up our chests and smack us in the face with her paw. When the Yorkies were crazy, Penny would sit to show us she was the good girl. After her sleep she would wake up with messy Phyllis Diller—hair. Her love of anything cheese and most of all Penny’s favorite thing; to lay with her face toward the sun with her eyes closed.

She will live in the hearts of many. We love our little Penny and know the angels will look after her until we see her again. Thank you for all the warm wishes and prayers.

Steve, Eva, Bear and Elly