The Power Of Snuggles

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 3, 2018

My parents and I are stopping by a favorite restaurant for lunch after a therapy appointment, which was difficult but productive. After we get out of the car, we can hear what sounds like a man calling for his pet and, having a pet ourselves, instinctively look over to see what is going on.

It’s not a pretty sight. The shouting man is in a wheelchair, and he is wheeling after a little Chihuahua as fast as his arms and the bumpy pavement allow. Said Chihuahua, dragging along a retractable leash, is gunning for a squirrel which is headed to a side street. This being Massachusetts, the road is ridiculous; it’s incredibly narrow, yet still allows bumper-to-bumper parking on both sides, lets people drive on both sides, has a speed limit of 35 mph — roughly 56 kmh, for the non-American audience — and plenty of people who go faster than that limit. An able-bodied person, a tiny little Chihuahua, and a squirrel could bypass the parked cars, but somebody in a wheelchair has no chance of getting by them without taking a detour to the nearest crosswalk first.

In a panic, my parents and I rush over to the other side of the road to intercept the dog before it puts itself in big danger. The dog is laser-focused on the squirrel and doesn’t even acknowledge us at first. Fortunately, the squirrel is spooked by our charge and takes a sharp left behind a fence and into a tree, out of the dog’s sight. With the squirrel confirmed lost, the dog starts bouncing towards my parents and me and starts demanding that we snuggle — though Mom restrains me, not knowing if the dog is friendly.

It turns out the dog is the remarkably friendly pet of the man in a wheelchair. Apparently, the dog has the body of a Chihuahua, but his personality and mind are more like the Xolo breed, meaning that he’s social, quiet, loyal, somewhat active, and a lover of snuggles, but unable to resist the allure of a good chase. We have lovely, comforting snuggles, with the dog making the rounds to each and every family member. We make small talk with the man as he wheels over to reunite with his beloved pet.

The man and his dog are absolutely adorable. I will never forget the way that man’s face lights up when he sees that his dog is safe, and that we cared about his dog enough to try to prevent it from rushing into the road. He brightens even more when my mom hands him the leash, and the dog sees it as his cue to hop into his owner’s lap and snuggle. The two of them are like father and son. The whole experience causes us cheer up, too, after the difficult therapy session, though the man never knew what exactly had been going on in our lives.

Dog on lap, the man wheels away with a big grin on his face. We never saw him again, nor even remembered his or his dog’s names. The adorable bond between him and his Chihuahua, as well as both of their warmth and kindness, however, we could never forget. If you’re reading this, sir, thank you for being a kind, caring, and loving person. You and your dog were simply yourselves, but that was all you needed to be and more to make our day so much brighter when we needed it.

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