Chix-a-Lot Friday: Mexican Food and Laundry

. . . continued from last Chix-a-Lot Friday, How I Met My One.

Well, we hopped in the car. I wouldn’t have known to call it that back then, I hardly knew anything at all. But The One has taught me a lot over the years. It smelled nice in the car, and the dog bed in the back was soft and cozy and not at all covered in dog food or drool or fur or pee. What a nice change. I was sleepy, but too nervous and excited to take the long-overdue nap I wanted. We drove for a while, and then we were there.  I knew that because she told me: “We’re home!” And I didn’t know what that meant either, but I could tell by how she was smiling even though her eyes were watery that this was a good thing.

Well it turned out that “home” was a place with a few rooms, lots of soft places to lay down, a yard with lots of things to smell and even more mosquitos on the prowl, the two other girls who smelled like Mexican food and laundry, and the cutest kitten I ever did see! I didn’t know what to make of it all at first, but soon I realized that it wasn’t just a fun adventure like when The One was just Nice Lady and would take me to the enclosed field at the slammer to run around. I was going to get to stay with her. Forever.

me and my kitten

his name was Illy and we were in love

I loved those two other girls who smelled like Mexican food and laundry, and I really loved my kitten. Only he wasn’t mine for real. But he was my roommate and my buddy. We would play chase and cuddle up for naps and he would play funny jokes on me like climb all the way to the top of the bookshelf and wait until I ran by looking for him, and then he would fly through the air and jump on me. Silly Illy.

So I started thinking I was going to have a pretty good life of rest and relaxation, right? Well, it turned out I was wrong. One day Mom woke me from my beauty sleep and informed me that I had to work to earn my keep! I didn’t know what that meant, but normally when we were going somewhere it was a fun thing, so I happily came along. It turned out that mom was taking me to a place that smelled of Mexican food and laundry and inducting me into a society of girls who smelled like Mexican food and laundry. The girls were all so excited to meet me, because they had heard all about me during their weekly staff meetings when mom would talk about me and cry and they convinced her that she should bust me outta the slammer because it was so obvious to them that we were each other’s Ones. They were such nice girls and in some ways I owe my life to them. And I was going to be their coworker!

the girls. i shoulda been in the picture too, but i was off hunting for chicken bones or playing soccer with my friends. mom's in the middle there, and the two other girls who came to the slammer to meet me are to your left of her.

The place we worked was Casa Marianella, which was nothing at all like the slammer. It was a nice house with lots of nice people, and was open to people who had traveled very far and didn’t speak English and were hungry and tired and scared and didn’t know where else to go. Because we lived in Texas, most of the people who came to visit spoke Spanish, which neither my one nor I spoke when we started working there (but we learned). The people visited for a few weeks, and during that time the girls and I helped them figure out how to find their families, where to live and work, helped them go to the doctor if they were sick, got them signed up for school, found them lawyers, and other Important Things like that. We also cooked dinner every night — usually beans and rice and whatever kinds of foods nice people donated, and we did laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.

Mom hanging laundry out to dry.

Mostly the girls did those things. My duties were called “hanging out” and “playing soccer” and “cleaning up after dinner.” Here are some pictures of me in action doing my duties:

The funnest thing about my job there, other than getting to hang out with my One every day and eating chicken bones that the guys left in the yard even though the girls asked them not to, was getting to meet so many different people and change their minds about dogs as handsome as me. For some reason, a lot of the newcomers thought that if a dog was as gorgeous as me, he must be something to be frightened of. Perhaps they were worried that they were going to rub off my gorgeous white furs, or wipe away my beautiful brindle patches? Well in any case, lots of people thought they didn’t want to get near me at first, but my expert wooing and cuteness won them all over — from elderly blind men from rural Mexico to tiny babies from Honduras. I won them all.

We worked there for a year, my One and me. Sometimes I still think that was my funnest year ever because I got to be so busy working and playing with my friends. With 18-20 people living at the house at any time, I was never bored or lonely. There was plenty of food to clean up off the floor, and always somebody to play soccer with.

Stay tuned next week, when maybe — just maybe — my Other One will tell you what he thought of me when he first met me, and all the fun we had in those early days together as youngsters.

41 responses

  1. First, I love that Chick likes kitties! Those are the sweetest pics I have ever seen!!! I am thinking I need to steal Mr. Chick! He would fit in nicely in my home! LOL! Second, Chick has lead quite the interesting life! And he is so helpful. I am so looking forward to finding out more of his story!

  2. I am so sucked into this story…do I HAVE to wait until next Friday? Seriously, this is great and love your writing.

  3. What an awesome place to be, especially for Chick! I’m sure he loved every minute of ‘working’. What an awesome start to a life love! : ) Can’t wait to keep reading next week!
    And PS Illy and Chick’s shinanigans are so adorable! Jumping off the shelf…Ha!

  4. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! How could I finish reading Chick’s post when the pictures of Chick and the kitty gets top billing?! Those pictures are precious and priceless. Oh Chick, you rock.

  5. and here I was thinking I might have to delay dog adopting not just til I lived in a place that allows it, but until I no longer had a cat. I don’t see how you ever managed to leave the house with so much dog-cat cuteness going on!

    • Stacy- a lot of good rescues test dogs with other dogs, with kids, with cats. If you do end up wanting to adopt a dog while your mean-eyed kitty is still around, you should look for one of those groups (I can help you then). It was pretty tough, with all the cuteness. Somehow we survived 🙂

  6. awww, what a great post. And we’re not only learning about Chick, but you too which is fun! He sounds like such a treasure, I bet he would even win Luna over. Great photos too, I love when Luna can win people over with her tricks and happiness. I know she won my parents over, mom being the hard one. Mom even saved scraps of chicken trimmings and froze them i individual bags for the pups, and brought them when she visited. Can’t say she doesn’t like them if she went through all that trouble.
    Have a great Friday

  7. What a great story. Chick, you are one handsome pittie. Casa Marianella, sounds like an amazing resource for those who need it. I try to do some non profit immigration work on the side when I can so I am always searching for similar organizations for people. I can’t wait to hear more about Chick!

  8. Your own kitty?!? That’s SO AWESOME!! We had an Ancient Kitty in our house when we first got here and he taught us how to be loving and yet respectful toward kitties. I’m not sure I’d like the part about doing laundry, but the hanging out with people part of life sounds Really Cool! You have had quite the adventurous life!

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and the Abby the Hippobottomus

  9. How lucky you were, Chick, to get to go to that fun place with your The One! Like you, I am an expert at winning scardey-peeps over. It’s so fun to just be friendly and waggy and pour on the cuteness!! It’s a skill fur sure!!


  10. OMG, Cori and Chick are laundry-family-buddies-cousins! Cori’s first week chez moi she kept jumping in the laundry basket. Looks just like that photo of Chick on your blog banner but with a beagle instead. Now that she’s past that phase 9 years later, she does still like to bring dirty laundry, if she can find any, downstairs if my mom and I leave the house. You can imagine what the family room floor looks like when we return!

  11. I do love this series and learning more about your backgrounds. And what a cool job you and your one had; it’s so great learning more about you both. And those kittie pictures are priceless. Did you miss the kittie or ever start looking for him? Mr. B used to live with a cat, and someone told us if animals are separated they think they are dead. So now whenever Mr. B sees a cat he gets really excited, in a good way, and we always wonder if he’s looking for his long lost friend.

  12. I’m with everyone else: love Chick and his kitty :). What great photos and so very sweet. I am not surprised that you worked helping others at the edge of life; your writing and commitment to your fosters demonstrates a moral compass for those in much need and help. Love learning about Chick and your story. Thank you – I refer any and all interested in fostering to your wonderful blog :). P. S. – it was fun learning why Chick identified you smelling of Mexican food and laundry – HA.

  13. Oh, OH! I need to mention – my dog sanctuary is part of a larger sanctuary mostly dedicated to cats; when I have a new dog or someone needs one of my dogs “cat-scanned,” I take them to Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and we walk through one or two of the free roam areas. For me, finding children is more tough!

  14. So sweet! What a lovely story from Chick’s point of view. He sure was a hard worker. 😉 I am looking forward to hearing about the first meeting between Chick and the Other One.

    • I should have said the other One rather than the Other One. Oh well. Yes, I am looking forward to it too. Though he is very nervous about jumping in since I’ve done more than 200 posts and he has yet to do one!

  15. Chick and Illy! Chick and Illy! What a sweet photo.

    I’ve loved learning how Chick came to be a member of the family. Can’t wait to read part 3 next week.

  16. Oh, I love Chix-a-lot Fridays. It is so amazing that a great dog like Sir Chick almost never got his chance. I guess he was waiting ’cause the universe knew his heart already belonged to you. The universe is funny that way. (PS – I’m pretty sure Felix first fell in love with me because I smelled like chicken strips and kfc. The nose knows the One!)

  17. I just read Chick’s part one and now this. What a wonderfully written story:) And the photos of Chick with Illy are so gorgeous. Having 2 dogs who aren’t cat friendly I’m always amazed when I see a dog and cat cuddled up happily. Can’t wait for part three!

  18. I love the way you’re telling Chick’s story.

    And I was very moved to think of Chick winning people over with his handsomeness and charm.

    I had neighbors in Philly with very complex ideas about dogs. Some of whom had vivid memories of having dogs turned on them for daring to stand up for their right to vote or eat at a lunch counter. When people use dogs as weapons or protection, they create wounds that are hard to heal.

    It sounds like Chick might be a healer.

  19. Pingback: Chix-a-Lot Friday: My Best Buddies |

  20. Pingback: Chix-a-Lot Friday: I used to love to bake (or, how we worked through my anxieties) |

  21. AHHH look at baby Aleks! I’m so glad you reblogged the Chix-a-Lot Friday before this, becuase now my morning at work is going to be Chick-crazy.

    p.s. This is also my favorite blog post of yours I’ve ever read, not just because of the dog aspect, but because I can actually feel like I’m right there with you working at Casa Marianella – from the smells Chick associated, to the pictures, everything. What an amazing experience you must have had. I’m jealous of your younger days – adopting Chick, doing such important work, living with such obviously wonderful other women.

  22. Pingback: Chix-a-Lot Friday: On moving and not moving « Love and a Six-Foot Leash

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