Happy Tail: A tiny dog encompasses a big heart

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When Elizabeth and Neil Cameron first met Percy, they were amazed at how tiny he was. “It looked as if someone had zapped him with a movie-like shrink ray gun because he was this perfectly formed puppy but just so, so tiny,” Elizabeth says. He weighed only three-and-a-half pounds. Tears sprang to their eyes as they watched the little Boston Terrier mix play with his two sisters. They were completely smitten with the 8-week-old.

Elizabeth and Neil take their puppy home.

Elizabeth and Neil take their puppy home.

Rescue Me Clifford, based in Paris, Illinois, had rescued Percy’s pregnant mother, and after her puppies were born and weaned, they were listed on Petfinder, where the Camerons first saw Percy. The photos couldn’t prepare them for how tiny he was, but he was just as perfect as they expected. “He was very sweet to us immediately and gave us kisses,” Elizabeth says.

Their references had already been checked, and the adoption had been approved before they made the trip from their home in Massachusetts. Now they were reassured that the long journey was worth it. Percy was going to become a member of their family.

“He is definitely a cuddle bug and loves to be the center of attention,” Elizabeth says. When they’re relaxing on the couch, he wants to be right there. “He sometimes climbs up behind our heads, puts himself right between our shoulders and then plops himself down so that he comes right in between us.”

He gets anxious when he is left alone. “We are extremely lucky that he is rarely by himself,” she says. “When we go to work, Percy goes to Neil’s parents’ house to play with their dog all day long. We are so grateful for that. We didn’t want to get a dog if we had to leave him alone all day.”

The couple has a fenced yard and Percy loves to run laps. “I joke that he thinks he’s a retriever because he absolutely loves to play fetch,” Elizabeth says.

After puppy kindergarten class, he advanced to therapy dog training and has recently become a registered therapy dog, who isn’t disconcerted by wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment. “His personality turned out to be perfect [for therapy dog work.],” Elizabeth says.

The couple was very moved when they took Percy on his first visit to a nursing home this week. “We were not even in the door when one woman, who was sitting outside the front doors in her wheelchair, broke into a huge smile when she saw Percy coming,” Elizabeth says. They moved through the facility and Percy bestowed kisses on those residents who liked dogs. One woman, in the Alzheimer’s unit, sang to him and petted him. “We held Percy close to her, and he gave her a little puppy kiss. She had one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen.”

Percy’s gentle spirit brought joy to many people that day, and the Camerons are looking forward to visiting again. Their tiny dog has a big heart.