On Saturday, May 15, my girl Chivas crossed the rainbow bridge. She was about 15 years old and it was just a few weeks shy of being a Derrbetts for 15 years.
My parents had lost their Jack Russell in May of 2006 and asked me to find a puppy for them. I had some connections to a Jack Russell breeder via the Russell Rescue group in Texas. This breeder had WAY too many dogs and was in a position to need to find as many of her dogs new homes as quickly as possible prior to a local humane society coming on site and taking possession of remaining dogs. I was told that Chivas was a puppy and went home with her and another dog that would be our dog. Mom named her after Dad’s favorite scotch; Chivas Regal.
Mom and Dad came to visit that July and had decided that life without a dog was easier, so were not going to take Chivas back to Montana. Alas Chivas became my dog. The following years with Chivas were nerve wracking at times, always full of unconditional puppy love, and included myriad adventures.
The August after I got Chivas my Dad passed away from complications from a horseback riding injury and Chivas made her first of many trips to Montana. We had puppy dog barrel races in Mom’s backyard with family and friends, which provided much needed levity during a very difficult and sad time. I cannot find any photos from the event, but trust me, it was epic.
Chivas also frequently attended the World Famous Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City. She experienced all the weather options that Montana has in May. From sunny and in the 80s to a blizzard. Her last visit to Miles City was in 2019 and having been left for a few hours in Mom’s backyard, Chivas decided to go look for me. She got out of Mom’s backyard and took herself on at least a 13 miles walkabout. We figured out the distance based on who saw her and where they saw her. Mind you she was 13 years old then!
She went on a few walkabouts when on visits to other cities. Once she ran out the front door of the family member whose home she was staying in McAllen, Texas. We found her (in the dark) within an hour. She also ran out the front door of a friend’s home in Fort Worth. We drove around and looked for her for a bit, but finally gave up because it was impossible to find a 10lb dog in a big city. We had happy hour on their porch and sure enough she found her way back after a few hours. In November of 2019 she was exploring around the end of our driveway and wandered down the busy road where we live. A man saw her and picked her up, unbeknownst to me, but got her scanned for a chip and we were reunited a few days later. I was convinced she had been dinner for a coyote and sobbed in relief when I got her back.
Some of Chivas other adventures included wildlife encounters. One morning I was cleaning stalls. It was dark outside and I heard a commotion towards the back of our property. I didn’t think anything of it and finished my morning chores before heading to the house, where I found Chivas shaking and bleeding from a couple small holes. Based on her extreme discomfort, where the injuries were and what I heard, we believe she was attacked by an owl (of which we have MANY). We think the owl tried to pick her up and the bigger dogs attacked it and prevented it from taking Chivas. She was in extreme discomfort for about a week and would cry anytime we touched her sides, but she made a full recovery!
Chivas and Boot City didn’t get off to a great start. He was trying to pick her up to remove her from an area being treated by an exterminator and it scared her enough that she ran away from him anytime she thought he was trying to pick her up for a couple years (mind you he didn’t hurt her at all, she was just very sensitive to men). She was so fearful that one day she climbed the 6′ fence out of the backyard and was gone for almost an entire day after he had merely opened the sliding glass door to the yard when she was outside. When she showed back up she had a cooked hamburger patty in her mouth. We assumed the neighbors were having a cookout and didn’t think much of it until a few days later when we were chatting with the neighbors and asked about their cookout. Turned out they hadn’t been cooking burgers and we still have no idea where she got that hamburger patty!
I’m so fortunate to have been Chivas’ person for 15 wonderful years. I’m grateful for digital photography because I have literally hundreds of photos of her from the past 15 years to remember all our fun times.