Touille the Wonder Dog
(c. May 17, 1989 - May 27, 2006)
Touille came to live with me in April of 1990, when she was full grown but fairly young with nice clean teeth. At the time, I had some pet rats.
Touille used to bark at the rats in their cages until I had to shut her out of the room. She learned not to bark at them, but would study them intently.
After Touille had been living with me for a short time, I realized that she had brought fleas into the place. The apartment had to be flea-bombed while
I rode around in the car with Touille and the rats until the fumigation process was over.
Touille appeared to be a Chihuahua-Terrier-Dachshund mix, and weighed about seven and a half pounds when I first got her.
She was an attractive dog with a cute way of walking. As we’d walk down the street, people walking by or driving in cars would stop and say:
"What kind of dog is that?" or "Yo quiero Taco Bell." Even with her tiny legs, Touille could walk faster than I could, and would pull me along on her leash.
She enjoyed chasing squirrels and birds, but never caught one. She used to like catching bugs and flies in her mouth, until once she caught a bee that proceeded to sting her.
For years after that, she avoided flying insects of all kinds.
Touille liked to sit up on her hind legs and look at a person soulfully if that person had food. She’d wait patiently or impatiently to see if anyone would give her part of their meal.
Only after all the "people" food was gone would Touille eat her dog food. Though her legs were short, she was able to leap fairly high, and could leap from the floor to the bed without any trouble.
When climbing stairs, she’d run up several steps and then leap up two or three steps at a time until she reached the top. As a young dog, she was always on the alert.
She'd bark like crazy if someone was at the door, but once they were allowed inside, she would either try to lick them or hide under the bed.
I was unable to get a photograph of her sleeping until she was much older, because when I'd quietly grab the camera, she'd sense it and open her eyes before I could snap a quick photo.
Touille would bark upon hearing the phone ring, and as I picked up the receiver, the caller would hear a barking dog before I could get the phone close enough to my mouth to say hello.
When I'd come home from work, she'd be at the door leaping excitedly to greet me.
Touille loved to roll in smelly things outside, and tolerated the baths that I would give her. She loved being petted, and used to try to lick my face until I trained her not to do so.
She was allowed to lick the water off my legs when I got out of the shower. She was not fond of having her nails trimmed, but learned to submit since I'd give her a treat afterwards.
She never seemed to fear a dog of any size, even a Mastiff, but a cat could stare her down. Touille would try to cross the street or turn and walk the other way to avoid small children,
who seemed to jump around too much to suit her. But she would allow a gentle child to pet her. She didn’t like loud noises, crawling under the bed during thunderstorms, fireworks, and firetrucks or ambulances passing by with sirens wailing.
If we were out walking when the newspaper delivery van drove by, flinging out rolled-up newspapers which would smack the pavement, Touille would cringe as though being attacked.
Touille led a long and full life. In her younger days, she marched with me in many parades and charity walks, always trying to maneuver past everyone else to get to the front of the line.
Together, Touille and I explored many parks and yards and sidewalks of St. Louis, Missouri and the surrounding county.
She didn't always obey all my commands, but since she was small I could pick her up and bodily remove her from the area if she misbehaved.
She rarely barked except when she was at home. People who only saw Touille outside of her "territory" thought she was so quiet and well-behaved!
As she got older, Touille's teeth were so bad that the vet had to pull many of them out. She had to give up her crunchy dry dog food in October of 2005,
switching to softer canned foods like turkey in gravy which looked and smelled good enough for a person to eat. She had a heart murmur that got more severe each year,
and she had to take blood pressure medication. Her hearing became weak enough that she no longer seemed to notice the thunderstorms and fireworks that she had feared so much as a youngster.
The elderly Touille would still be lying in the bed when I came through the door, but would perk up when she noticed that I was home.
She began to fall when descending the stairs, so that I'd have to carry her down, but she was still able to climb up, and continued to take the last four or five steps slowly leaping two at a time.
Touille still seemed to be in fairly good spirits until about the middle of May 2006. Photos from May 7 show her walking along in sprightly fashion at approximately age 17.
She spent her last month eating only "people" food such as turkey, bacon, chicken, bratwurst, Polish sausage, Braunschweiger, and cheese.
When Touille was no longer able to eat or keep food down, I took her to the Humane Society to be euthanized. I held her and talked to her while she received the shot that ended her life on May 27, 2006.
She was always a good and faithful companion, and I will miss her terribly.
Though Touille is no longer living, she will always be the Lotsa A Cappella mascot.
~ Marjie Kennedy, Touille's person for 16 years