By Janet McAfee

On June 15, 2023, a trio of 11-year-old dogs arrived at the Loving All Animals shelter in Coachella when their owner passed away.  The small senior dogs were different breeds and not particularly bonded to each other.

After their quarantine period they joined the other pups in the main yard where they played together, ran after toys, and clamored for attention when visitors came.  One of them named Chiquito has a commanding presence and quickly established himself as the alpha dog in the pack.  When volunteers came to work with them, he pushed the others aside and insisted on their attention.

One of the senior dogs was adopted and the other went to foster home to recover from knee surgery.  Chiquito was undaunted and continued to rule the yard.  Eventually he was moved to a local hotel to participate in a pet adoption program where guests could meet him.  Hurricane Hillary was on the way, and it impacted Chiquito in interesting ways.  A guest was quickly checking out, spotted the handsome canine, and did a quick adoption with a hotel employee.


I called to follow up on the adoption and to inquire if training help was needed.  Surprising the adopter replied that they were enroute to return Chiquito to the hotel due to an incident with his girlfriend’s large dog.   Fortunately, no one was hurt.  They did not notify Loving All Animals.  They were 10 minutes away and I advised him to bring the dog to my house where I would foster him because Loving All Animals had evacuated due to the storm.  My outgoing dogs shirked into the background when the dominant and confident Chiquito arrived.

My neighbor Scott came to mind.  Scott was a fixture in the neighborhood walking his alpha dog Rowdy.  In March I was walking my dogs and saw Scott walking alone and learned that Romey had sadly passed away.  I didn’t have their phone number, so I dropped by unannounced.  Scott Gutman and Harry Parrish were home after cancelling a vacation because of the Hurricane.  Scott was unsure if they were ready to adopt.  They were also concerned about adopting a senior dog after the heartbreak of losing a beloved dog who was 12 years old.  I offered to bring Chiquito over for a visit with no obligation.

We briefly exchanged greetings.  We humans quietly watched as Chiquito ran joyfully through the home exploring every nook and cranny, arriving back in the living room to greet Scott and Harry with approving kisses.  He immediately made himself part of their home, relaxing on a couch pillow.  Scott and Harry recall, “It was love at first sight!”  Chiquito “sealed the deal” and an adoption application was completed on August 23.

Two days later Chiquito spotted a lovely framed portrait of Rowdy hanging on a bedroom wall. He was transfixed and barked repeatedly.  The two dogs are similar in size, appearance, and demeanor.

Houseguests arrived for Scott’s birthday week this month.  More people meant more fun and attention for Chiquito who celebrated along with the happy group.  Chiquito’s veterinarian and groomer suspect his age may be closer to 8 or 9.  These days he happily walks through the neighborhood and is friendly with the other dogs who instinctively acknowledge his leadership.  However, his favorite encounter is with the dog loving people one of whom he greeted with a kiss when Melissa approached.  Chiquito loves traveling by car and ensures trips are more enjoyable for his human dads.

How can a small dog who can’t talk have such personality?  When I called to read Scott and Harry this article Chiquito listened intently appearing amused and rolled over in approval.  You can read about a dog who has more adventures than some people on his Facebook page CHICO GUTMAN-PARRISH. You can LIKE Loving All Animals’ Facebook page LOVING ALL ANIMALS INC to learn more about their fun events and how to help rescue animals. Contact them at and (760) 834-7000.

Sometimes a dog enters your life when you are not ready for him.  Sometimes a dog enters your life and brings unexpected joy.