Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chapter 4 -- Buttercup and Peanut

"Who ever said money can’t buy happiness never got a puppy."


So, all throughout my pregnancy, even with Chelsea walking merrily beside me, I gained weight.  Well, truthfully, I gained a LOT of weight.  Not as much as some, but more than I would have liked.  It’s important to say that during my pregnancy I craved BEEF.  I write it with all caps to emphasize the fact that I could not stand the smell of wimpy-ass chicken. Potatoes, even french fries, turned my stomach.  Yep, when I was hungry, I wanted red meat and lots of it. I should have known I was in trouble when the “large”-size pregnancy shirts got snug, but I was in a perpetual state PD, that’s Pregnancy Denial for you folks on the outside edge of this condition. 

I couldn’t imagine that the girth I was adding to my body was anything more than the baby in my belly.  And to put it modestly, I was in shock that it all didn’t fall off in the delivery room. 

For the first few months, as you know, I had enough to deal with between learning new motherhood and caring for Chelsea when she was ill.  Then, after she passed away and we brought Saint Nicolas into our new little family, I spent my time cleaning up after both the baby and a puppy…and not necessarily in that order. 

Amid the cacophony of activity in my ever-changing world, I’d step on the scale every week or so and now and then.  Occasionally, I’d cheer myself on with the loss of a pound or two.  Everyone around me said things like “you look great,” and “It looks like you got back down to the weight you were before having Samuel.”

And I took those comments for the charity that they were.  If stepping on the scale or looking in the mirror didn’t do it, the change of seasons brought out another set of clothes that I “used” to wear, which of course no longer fit.  In most cases, the zippers wouldn’t even zip, nor would buttons budge.  Along around mid-April I had to admit I had quite a case of the pudge.  And, no clothes that fit for the summer. 

So, in our little slice of heaven we call Gig Harbor, lovely clothing shops abound to help me fix that problem.  There, tucked in between the shops was a new clothing store, with the name Rebecca’s Closet beautifully swirled on the door.  And, there I was in the need of a new size of clothes for Spring. 

Oh, I’ll just take a look, I thought to myself.  Nothing harmed in looking. 
The place was fabulous.  Something in between Shabby Chic meets retro 50’s décor.  But, most importantly, she sold vintage clothing.  Not the smelly things you have to sort through at the thrift shop, but racks and racks filled with those favorite pieces you have in your wardrobe that you hold onto for years.  Then, she mixed it up with a line of new jeans and a few cuter-than-cute tops to make the inventory stand up and shine. 

I was in heaven. 

Sitting at the counter was this young girl, looking all of sixteen.  I asked her about the shop and, absent-mindedly mentioned something about how much she must enjoy working here. 

“Well, I do, actually, because I own the shop,” she answered, smiling politely and petting a small Chihuahua. 

Whoa.  Hold the presses.  This young girl owns the shop?  I felt terrible and apologized immediately.  She just smiled and said something funny, like how looking so young worked well when she didn’t want to talk to salespersons.  She told them the shop owner wasn’t available, which was technically true because she didn’t actually want to talk to them anyway. 

I introduced myself and she did so, in turn.  “Hi, I’m Rebecca and this is Peanut,” she said, introducing me to the little whisp of a dog curled protectively in her arms.  I noticed her dog was quivering and I wondered if I was maybe scaring him. 

“Oh, no,” she explained. “You’re not, he’s just cold.”

Those who don’t own tiny dogs (like me) don’t know that even though it was nearly 75 degrees outside on this warm spring day, the physiology of Chihuahuas and other very small dogs makes it easy for them to get too cold.  With the air conditioning going ‘full-tilt-boogie,’ the shop was a chilly 65 degrees.  Peanut, as a result was shivering from being cold, and nestling in his “mommy’s” arms to warm up. 

He was also wearing a dapper “Dog shirt” which led me to remark about his fancy attire.  “That’s another thing I do,” Rebecca explained. “My mom’s business has grown so much that I also help her market and sell our line of clothing for small dogs.”

After Rebecca bought Peanut, she and her mom both liked having the little dog around so much that they decided to purchase another pint-size companion, Buttercup.  Peanut was bought through a breeder in Texas and this time, they found Buttercup from a breeder in California.  Just like people, not all dogs are the same and while Peanut was a relatively healthy small dog, Buttercup was a bit more sensitive.

When Rebecca’s mom took Buttercup in for her immunizations, she developed a reaction at the injection site, which ultimately formed a cyst that needed to be surgically removed.  “She wouldn’t stop biting at it,” Rebecca told me.  Her mom, a former clothing designer, whipped up a small shirt in a soft cloth.

It was a big hit. “Wearing that clothing helped soothe Buttercup, and she stopped nipping at the incision so it could finally heal.  Plus, it kept her warm and she was a lot more comfortable all around.”

Being an entrepreneurial family, Rebecca’s mom started making small lots of clothing for dogs.  She developed a web site and named the clothing line after…you guessed it, “Buttercup and Peanut.”  If you visit their site, you can find anything from a simple shirt, like the one made for Buttercup when she was healing, to elaborate wedding attire, when you want to make an “honest woman” out of your dog about to be mommy herself.

In the years since we met, Rebecca’s closet has closed.  Nowadays, Rebecca and her mom can be found designing and marketing a top-brand clothing line, though it’s for our four-legged, not two-legged fashionistas. Rebecca’s closet is full again, but this time it is with clothing designed for the fun and caring of the smallest companions. 

Buttercup and Peanut inspired Rebecca and her mom.  Good karma is the gift that keeps on giving.  With their entrepreneurial spirit and their love of very small dogs, Rebecca and her mother have lots and lots of it.  You can visit them online at  Happy Shopping!

I checked in with Rebecca recently.  She included an update, it’s below…enjoy:

Peanut passed away two and a half years ago from a heart condition from birth called mitral valve regurgitation. He lived to be six years old.  My mother’s dog, Buttercup, is still with us at eight years old. Now, my husband & I have two little girl Chihuahuas, Daisy & Paris.  They are both three years old.  I got both of them from the Chihuahua Rescue & Referral.  We got Daisy as a puppy, just a month after Peanut's passing.  We just couldn’t stand not having a little one to hold and it helped with the healing process. We got Paris just last year when she was two.

Becca wrote poem for Peanut.  I included it as I know you will understand its heartfelt message:
My Sweet Little Prince: March 1, 2002 - July 12, 2008
My sweet little prince
Oh how I miss you
Your broken little heart held so much love
and I am blessed to have been your mommy.
To know you and the love you gave to everyone you met. 
Your sweet little kisses and the looks you'd give me will always be in my memory.
You are still my good boy, my sweet little protector & friend. 
Now you are with Jesus and showing your love to those in heaven. 
Now you are my little angel watching over me.
You have changed my life in more ways than you will ever know. 
You have given me the love I needed and I know you still love me and your daddy. 
You may be gone from my arms but you will never be gone from my heart. 
 You have left your little paw print there. 
You have touched so many lives with your little
waggily tail and your soft little tongue. 
You are missed but never forgotten. 
Now your heart isn't broken.  It is as healthy as it can be. 
All because you are with Jesus, the healer of all.
I may cry for you but I know you are happy.  You were always a happy little puppy. 
Keep Bamma Gramma company, and play with Ebony.  Tell all those in heaven we love them.
I love you for always, I'll love you forever.  Where ever you are, my baby you'll still be.
I love you my sweet little Peanutty Buddy.
Your Mommy

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