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Laura Beil

Tri-City Tales Issue No. 14

The Robbins family lives on a quiet road at the edge of Cedar Hill, a place people go to live in the country with backyards of donkeys, horses and goats. So they were surprised one blazing hot day in July to find a Chihuahua under the carport, a tiny creature who somehow traveled a long way without a coyote, hawk or bobcat finding him first.


The dog was panting, dangerously dehydrated, and practically a walking skeleton, with pee the color of chocolate. Leah Robbins took him to a veterinarian, who diagnosed him with a compacted bowel and advanced heartworms. They got him medicine and took him to the Tri-City Animal Shelter. The Robbins already had two golden retrievers, a black lab and large mutt of uncertain heritage.  They started calling the new little guy Mr. Biggen, a joking reference to everything he was not. 


Leah had never wanted a small dog, but everyone knew Mr. Biggen would need round-the-clock care to survive. They agreed to foster him on behalf of Tri-City through his recovery. As part of the shelter foster program, Tri-City provided bedding and food. For months, he slept on Leah’s chest, shivering to keep warm. She often feared he would not make it through the night.


After five months, he recovered enough to find a new home. But by then, he wasn’t going anywhere. “How can you go through fighting for his life for five months,” Leah says, “and not fall in love with him?” Mr. Biggen became the sidekick as she and her husband took their RV across the country. She started posting pictures on RV Facebook groups: Here’s Mr. Biggen surfing, here’s Mr. Biggen in a miniature cowboy hat. After posting a photo of Mr. Biggen at Mount Rushmore, someone suggested he needed his own Facebook page. His internet fame has now led to an advertising gig for Bark Box, and a chapter in an upcoming book about Chihuahuas. 


Leah recalls once wondering why anyone would want a small dog. She asked herself—what are they good for? Now, she says, she knows. “They are good for love,” she says. “Love, love, love.”  Turns out that “Mr. Biggen” was an accurate description after all for the homeless Chihuahua who turned up that summer day. It is the size of his bottomless heart. 

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