When Chico, a senior Chihuahua, arrived at the ASPCA, he needed lots of extra TLC—including knee surgery, physical therapy and a full dental cleaning with extractions. Finally, after months of care, Chico became available for adoption in October; he just needed to meet someone who was open to a special-needs senior.
Meanwhile, Robyn Stuart, a retired New York City teacher, had her heart set on adopting a puppy when she headed for the ASPCA. She viewed lots of younger dogs, but none were quite right. When she saw Chico’s giant ears, half-toothless smile and precious face—and when she noticed he was a fellow knee surgery patient—something clicked.
Stuart went home to think and ended up dreaming about Chico all night. First thing the next morning, she returned to the ASPCA to pick him up, and it’s been a “happily ever after” kind of story ever since. “It wasn’t hard to bond with him, and he was in love with me within a day,” Stuart says.
Just a month after joining Stuart’s household, Chico has made a name for himself around the neighborhood. Stuart says rescue Pit Bulls are very popular on the tony Upper East Side, and Chico has made friends with many of them, asserting himself as their equal.
Although Chico enjoys hopping in Stuart’s purse and joining her at board meetings for an AIDS charity, he’s also Stuart’s “little macho man,” she says: He loves to fearlessly stride up to construction workers and stand right on top of their boots.
At home, where Chico prefers to snuggle on or near Stuart’s lap or burrow in her comforter, he has brought his new mom lots of happiness. “Every morning he’s so full of hope for the day,” says Stuart, “and he instills that in me, this little guy. He gives me hope every day, and I’m grateful to him for that.”