Part 1: PUPPY AND PUZZLES (AtoZAprilChallenge)

a-zchallengeDuring this challenge, I’ve noticed that some letters are easier to deal with than others, and then some just offer so many possibilities, it’s hard to know where to begin. Today, I chose a group of four words and played around with their juxtaposition. But then I realized that things were getting too carried away and that I would just simply things into two posts–Part 1 and Part 2 (more “p” words). So here is Part 1.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo start with, I am speaking of a specific puppy–a dog actually. Puppy is a rescue dog, a Chihuahua that has had a pretty rough life. In the picture at the left, I am holding her at Vanilla Garden, the restaurant where she was staying after her rescue. She normally was outside on the porch during the day, and then carried upstairs to the floor above the restaurant where she slept at night.

When I first started visiting her there, I often would visit with a student who wanted to practice speaking English. One day, one of the students told me the dog’s name was xiāngcháng, which means sausage. I started interacting more and more with Sausage over the next few weeks and months. In the meantime, my husband had moved to Taiwan. (I had been here two years without him. Another story.)

And winter was approaching. Now it doesn’t get down to freezing in Taiwan, but it can be pretty cold outside on a porch during the day, or up in the second floor of a building with no central heat, so I started crocheting a little blanket for Sausage. You can see Sausage trying it out when she first got her afghan.


As you can see in the picture above, one of her problems is that she has a broken leg that never healed properly.

One day in late November or early December of 2011, another student was approached by the owner of the restaurant while we were there for dinner. It turns out she wanted to know if I would be interested in adopting Sausage. I reluctantly declined, for several reasons.

  1. I wasn’t sure how long we were going to stay in Taiwan.
  2. We had a landlord who probably wouldn’t be too excited about us having a dog.
  3. I’m a cat person at heart.

But I still thought about it when we visited. And then I found out that the reason we had been approached is that Sausage didn’t come and sit on anyone else’s lap. And David started to suggest that maybe we should consider it, that the dog seemed to be good for me. And so I contacted the landlord, who wasn’t that hard to convince when we assured him that this was a small dog, who was several years old (at least 6 at the time) and that we would make sure that there were no messes.

So a funny part of the story is that when we actually went to the restaurant to see about taking Sausage for a couple days to see how she adjusted, they told the student who was with me that her name was xiāngcǎo, which means vanilla. VANILLA?! I had been calling her Sausage for weeks. So here’s a brief little bit of information about Chinese. Sometimes words are very close in sound, so that two students who both know the language here the dog’s name and one hears this:

xiāngcháng = sausage

and the other hears this:

xiāngcǎo = vanilla

Even if you can’t read Chinese, it’s clear that the first syllables in both cases are the same, and the second syllables are different but if someone is speaking quickly, you might get the two confused. Well, obviously, since it happened. In a way, it didn’t matter, since we weren’t calling her the name she had been hearing in Chinese. Now she’s bilingual.  haha

So I just started calling her Puppy.  She only eats dog food, even if she is sitting on my lap at dinner time. She might look at my food, sniff it a bit, but she will not attempt to eat it. She doesn’t play much either. We bought her a few little toys when we first got her, almost 2 1/2 years ago. But she’s never played with them. She will come and sit with me for my daily Sudoku puzzle. She’s quite good at helping with them. Even the challenging ones.

The owners of Vanilla Garden told us when we adopted her that when we go back to the US, they would take her back, but now that she’s been with us for over two years, there’s no way that’s going to happen. She’s part of our family, and Dave has looked into what we will need to do to bring her back with us. I mean, Look at that sweet face! How could we leave her behind?









And last summer, she started walking around a little bit more. And even though she won’t play with toys, she has decided that sometimes playing with her dog food isn’t half bad. She will put a piece or two on the floor or in her bed and then go on this massive treasure hunt. It is so funny to watch.


The best part of all: she ACTS like a cat. WIN!


6 comments on “Part 1: PUPPY AND PUZZLES (AtoZAprilChallenge)

  1. I can see why you can’t leave Puppy—I fell in love in the two minutes it took me to read this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Pup (p)Update: Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? | Container Chronicles

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