The day before Purl died, I had seen a magnet on a car in the shape of a paw with the words “Who Rescued Who?” It made me smile, as this is a phrase I’ve used often for my dogs. (For my fellow Grammar Nazis… it is “Who Rescued Whom,” right? But, alas, popular culture just can’t seem to grasp that one!)

So when I was faced with continuing my trip without Purl, as much as I wish it was different, I couldn’t imagine doing it without getting another dog. I was in Arizona and had been told over the years that there were many, many small dogs in need of homes there. Seemed fitting to give one a new home. Little known is that Purl was half Chihuahua (her dad) so I knew my chances were pretty high of finding a dog with a personality I really liked.

I found the Arizona Small Dog Rescue, and their well-organized and up-to-date website and perused the available dogs. There were quite a few that fit my criteria: under 7 pounds, adult, active. I knew it would be worth heading to Phoenix.

Along the way, I stopped at a few other shelters in other cities/ towns. I met a couple of super cute dogs, but none were “mine.” I knew the right one would pick me as much as I him/her.

The Small Dog Rescue is in a nondescript building, packed to the gills with dogs in need of homes, not all small. I even saw a Neapolitan Mastiff! I walked the loop of pens, peaking in to each, getting audibly assaulted with the barks of dogs desperate for attention. When I got to the pen that had the smallest dogs of all, the yapping was almost unbearable. But there was this little white apple head chihuahua who sat down, cocked his head, looked straight at me and didn’t make a sound.

I was chosen.

I looped all around one more time and the same thing happened when I came to that pen. I asked to meet him, and haven’t let him go since.

2013-08-19 08.13.25

Some facts: A seemingly purebred apple head Chi, I was told he is two years old. He’d been in the county rescue and then brought to Arizona Small Dog. He’d just been neutered, has a slight hitch in his back hip, but is already getting stronger and that seems to be disappearing. Still doesn’t bark much, but let’s people know if he is feeling threatened (or thinks I am!) A bit on the skiny side, but eating plenty.

The name Jerome is homage to Arizona,  the place where I took my last ride with Purl and said good-bye to her all too soon. Jerome is the name of the town that captured my soul on that last ride before the big tire blow-out. Where Purl met a bunch of new friends and had a blast wandering town.

“Rome” also recalls Italian culture, home of the Vespa I cherish so dearly.

And Romeo…. because he captured my heart. An aching heart, broken from holding my constant companion in my arms as she died from a tragic accident.

Jerome is not Purl, and I don’t give him that burden. We’ll have our own adventures, take our own journey. They are each one of a kind. Search for Facebook hashtag #JeromeTravels to see some of what he’s already been up to.

Indeed, “Who Rescued Who[m]?”

2013-08-18 06.43.09

Jerome has settled right in, but has yet to go for a long ride on the Vespa… soon!