by Lewis Morley
The year is 2006, the UK is firmly under the reign of the incredible late Queen Elizabeth II, the Prime Minister was still Tony Blair, the US president was George Bush and iPhones, Facetime and even electric cars were practically unheard of. Closer to home we were notified of the excellent news that the gorgeous Sara and Quirino, owned by the lovely Chris and Brian Thatcher, had given birth to a litter of five adorable puppies; three girls and two boys, one of which being our beautiful Chico. Hopefully that alone goes some way to illustrate the blessedly long amount of time that we were blessed to have our little darling Chico in our lives. Yet still, any time that we had to say goodbye to our gorgeous little man would have seemed too soon, as the hole he leaves in our family is immeasurable.
But let’s now turn our focus not to the sorrow of his passing but to the immense joy of the 16 wonderful years we had with him. Chico as a puppy was bouncy, sprightly, hyper, wild, crazy, adorable, incredibly loving and gentle and these qualities he retained throughout his entire life without exception, in fact our little dude was commonly mistaken for a puppy well into his senior years! In his prime, he would have sporadic outbursts of excitement and energy where he would just suddenly run around in a fun-filled frenzy, jumping off sofas, doing a circuit of agility, of his own accord. This was such a common occurrence for young Chico that we as a family nicknamed these outbursts as “Mad Dog Mendoza”, after a children’s TV programme of the era named “Fat Dog Mendoza” — a title Chico would never have to worry about with his extreme fitness!
Chico was adored by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him and he certainly turned my sister, mum and myself who were all previously dog-phobic into absolute dog lovers which is absolutely testament to his incredible loving personality and sweet nature. Cheeks’ love for his family was huge and unwavering, but he also had another love in his life… food!! Man that boy could eat! Whether that was scoffing his food and his treats, waiting patiently (or sometimes a little impatiently lol) for some human food to be dropped or perhaps offered at the dinner table, eating delicious food was one of Chico’s favourite things to do! And need I mention cheese? That word would prompt a prick of the ears and a sudden dash to wherever that word was coming from. If cheese was there, Chico was there, which came in especially helpful when he needed his timely worming tablet, roll it up in cheese and job done!
There was always so much to love about Chico and in turn so much love to remember him by, he was one in a million. From his springy leap, his heart of absolute unwavering loyalty, love and joy, his love for his family, food and adventure and more recently his love and patience when we welcomed his little niece Luna to the family. With Luna being a puppy full of beans and Chico as an older gentleman by this point, sometimes she wanted him to play when he just wanted to chill out. Still, Chico had unfailing patience, and loved Luna so dearly, noted by how much he missed her if they were ever apart and how they would sleep in the same bed.
Chico was many things to many people, none more so than to my sister Paige for whom Chico provided endless therapy, bountiful unconditional love. In many ways, Chico saved her from her personal struggles, he was her best friend. This isn’t just a story about a dog. This is a story about our brother, our son, a huge huge part of our family who is missed more than words can ever describe. Chico, we love you so so very much. Fly high with the angels up there little man, God bless xxxxx