My lifelong love of Yorkies began in 2000, when I purchased Lotti as a soon-to-be empty nester. When my only daughter went off to college, Tilly became my only child. When I met my husband at the end of 2000, we soon became a family of four; he and his Gorden Setter, Brie, and Lotti and I.
Brie and Lotti became the best of friends. Lotti traveled everywhere with us. She only weighed 3.5 pounds, and I carried her inside of my jacket, or inside of a tote bag. She traveled with me by air from California to Indianapolis, and to Loreto, Mexico, and to Las Vegas. She went on many weekend trips to Lake Tahoe, Monterey, Bodega Bay and other locations around California and Nevada. She loved going RV camping too.
Lotti was the Maid-Of-Honor in my 2001 wedding. Wherever I went, Lotti went. She was fiercely loyal and yet boldly independent.
Sadly, I lost Lotti unexpectedly at the age of four, due to a liver shunt. I was absolutely devastated. My husband knew of no way to even begin to heal my broken heart, other than to allow me to adopt another female Yorkie...that's when "Chantilly the Honey" came into my life. You can read all about her here too.
We adopted Ernie in 2002, when he was nine months old. I was convinced at the time, that Lotti (who was spayed), needed a little friend.
Ernie was the most beautiful Yorkie I had ever seen up to that point. He was only a pound bigger than Lotti, but that extra pound was well distributed. He had the sweetest expressions, and such a stoic personality. One of the cutest things he did, was to howl whenever he heard sirens. If an ambulance or other emergency vehicle passed by our home, he'd jump on the highest point of the sofa and howl his little heart out.
Ernie was the self-appointed sentry of our home, always alerting us to approaching visitors, and greeting our guests. He had an adoring habit of gently nibbling the top of his front paws when he was feeling happy and/or pleased with himself.
After Lotti passed, we brought Tilly into our home. Ernie was so patient with her puppy antics, and he kept a watchful over her. They became instant friends and playmates.
When Ernie was about two years old, my mom commissioned an artist, Greer Calhoun, to paint portraits of Yorkies on a vintage makeup case as a Christmas surprise for me. Greer asked my mom for photos of my Yorkies. Tilly was still a tiny puppy, so my mom forwarded photos of Ernie. I still have the makeup case, and Greer went on to create other art items, with Ernie's image. (You can view some of Greer's art in our "Photo Gallery."
Ernie sired several litters outside of our home, but when Tilly came of age, they became a breeding pair. After two successful litters, we spayed Tilly, and then she and Ernie enjoyed an easy and peaceful life together for the next seven years. Sadly, we lost our precious boy on November 10, 2015, at the age of fourteen. It left an empty spot in our hearts, and in our home.
My wounds are still fresh as I write this, having lost my most beloved Tilly only three months ago.
If pets can be soulmates, then Tilly was DEFINITELY mine! Everything about her was perfect, and she delighted me in every way. She came into my life only one day after I lost Lotti (my first Yorkie), and I believed that my heart would never heal.
It was as if Tilly understood that it was her job to heal my heart. She was a tiny, happy, silly puppy when I got her. At first she simply offered a distraction from my broken heart, but it wasn't long before Tilly went everywhere I went, becoming my constant companion.
For fourteen years, Tilly made it perfectly clear that I was "her person." She licked my tears and silently sat beside me with a comforting presence during some of my darkest times. The color of her coat never changed, so she stayed black and tan her entire life...giving her the constant appearance of a puppy. My husband and I could never figure out why she always smelled like sugar cookies (really).
Tilly needed to be attached to me at all times, but she preferred to sit beside me, instead of on me. Much to my discomfort she loved sleeping on my pillow, at the top of my head, often causing my head to fall off the pillow. I never changed the situation, because I loved her so much, and she seemed to be so blissful.
Tilly always had a peaceful presence. Ernie was a busy guy, Tilly was always quiet and agreeable. We've always had a myriad of pets in our home. Ernie always needed to make it clear that HE was the boss, Tilly was always welcoming, as long as the newbies understood that the spot next to me was hers.
Her passion in life (besides me) was food. That little girl could eat, and eat. She was often overweight, but she wore it well.
Tilly and Ernie brought two litters into the world between 2005-2008. After the second litter, we spayed Tilly, so she could go back to just being our baby.
When Tilly gave birth to her first litter, she seemed to be overwhelmed by the puppies' crying. She picked them up one, by one, and dropped them on my lap, as if saying "please do something about this." The day that Tilly gave birth to her first litter, our vet told me that she doubted Tilly's ability to be a mother, because she was "too imprinted" to me. It did take some encouraging, but Tilly turned out to be a GREAT mommy.
In the summer of 2014, we took a trip to the beach, and noticed that Tilly was acting extremely confused when we tired to get her to run with us. Because she was my cherished pet, I imagined the worst. As it turned out, Tilly was in the early stages of inoperable cataracts. Within six months, Tilly became totally blind, at the age of ten.
Tilly managed life quite well, despite being blind, but her playfulness became a distant memory. Her only goal in life then became to be with me, wherever I was in our home, and to quietly lay near me.
As Tilly approached her 14th birthday, I began to accept that it was the last birthday we'd be able to celebrate with her. I did not realize it at the time, but I also learned about "Ruger" on the exact day of Tilly's 14th birthday.
Tilly passed away on July 2, 2018, and Ruger came to us on July 6th. In the same way that Tilly came into our lives one day after we lost Lotti, Ruger is a reminder that although our beloved pets can NEVER be replaced, our hearts CAN heal by pouring that love into another pet who loves us back, and relies upon us to provide all that they need.
If we ever doubted destiny, here are some dates that prove that God sends us the pets He means for us to have:
Lotti passed away on August 4, 2004. Ruger was born on August 3, 2016.
Ernie was born on September 24, 2001. Our Shih Tzu (Toola) was born on September 24, 2014, and Wedgie went into labor with her first litter of puppies on September 24, 2018 (the puppies were born on September 25, 2018). Danger's mommy (Angelika) was also born on September 24, and so was Coffi's mommy (Tonka Bean)!
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