I am Tobi Little Deer, a Native American dog, a Chihuahua, and like all dogs descended from ancient wolves who made a pact with people hundreds of thousands of years ago. We became companion hunters and guardians. Down through the millennia, with our capacity for patient, faithful love, we also became pets. As such, although pet dogs are likened sometimes to children, the wolf pack is still within all of us. Make no mistake, we love because we have the capacity to love; we serve because our species knows cooperation as means of survival. Both are deep-rooted human qualities also, and that is why over the ages we could become fellow travelers. In our recent past people have been breeding us smaller and smaller to turn us into animated toys, even photographing the tiniest of us in tea cups. “Fanciers” like to make rules, and some set a six-pound limit for Chihuahuas. However, we are still dogs, no matter how much they miniaturize us. At eight pounds, I can exercise my dog prerogatives quite well, and I have a big personality. I run distances. I am an effective guardian. People do not anticipate that of Chihuahuas. They look at us, find us cute, and expect us to behave adorably. Most of us have the self-image of feisty, miniature Dobermans, however. People are surprised that I don’t welcome a stranger’s hand in my face. Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal. People say we are “one-man dogs.” Of course, we like the friends of our one-man or one-woman, too, given time to get to know them. We are protectors first and foremost. We are kept as pets, and we may look like toys, but there is nothing toy-like in our demeanor—at least that of most Chihuahuas. We carry deep within us the hierarchy and loyalty of the pack, and a long history of guardianship. Well, there’s more to it, too. Some of my attitude is just fun. Walking down the street with Ted, if I see a delivery boy chaining his bicycle with his back to us, I love suddenly to bark loudly as we pass close by him and make him jump. I’m on the watch for anyone who doesn’t keep walking. As for other dogs, well, I like to meet the little ones, particularly other Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas know Chihuahuas; we know our own. Bigger dogs are another story; it’s my street. I like to dart against my leash and bark at them and get them all excited; I know that they’re on leash, too, and so can’t reach me. Ted says to me, “Behave, behave.” Sometimes he says to me, “You’re going to start something, tough-nut, that you can’t finish.” Then I strut down the street with my head high and my tail straight up, quite proud of myself. It’s all great fun. © 2013 Woodwrit, Inc.