A 'singleton' is a term I've heard used for one surviving puppy in a litter and that is what Ponygirl was. Being born in a Mexican animal shelter was not the most desirable of circumstances to begin with, but it did afford her a fighting chance. What happened to the rest of the pups...dunno, but this is her and her mum way back then. When I look at this picture I fill in all the blanks that 4 and a half years later allows me to do. Looking all sweetness and light as wee puppy but stewing inside that pea-sized brain was a force to be reckoned with as I was about to find out. She got all the Mexican mutt survival traits essential to street living -- and she uses them even though she lives in the relative lap of luxury (work with me here people).
Let me explain. Even though she has never, ever been hit by a broom she will bolt out of a coma-like sleep the moment I pick one up anywhere within what she considers her personal space. This I figure, is because brooms are a regular and accepted method of 'dog removal' in front of 3rd world businesses and homes everywhere. I can only assume it is an genetic trait passed on from one generation to the next, of street dogs.
Next is her 'lurking and skulking' behavior whenever we sit down to a meal. This also sadly being typical of street dogs everywhere ...tail between the legs, a kind of crouching and inching forward and the most mournful, sad look that says 'feed me' ever so politely . I have to gently snap her out of this automatic behaviour by reminding her that she has already eaten and should just go to her bed. 'Oh yeah' is the look I get as she complies.
Another of her genetically hard-wired, street dog breed traits is the one where she can find food anywhere. This has cost us many pesos in the past before she learned to distinguish edible from inedible. This dog can locate a peanut, a breadcrumb, a rancid piece of anything, a buried bone or another dog's dinner on a porch in a NY minute , BUT she draws the line at PEAS...she will not under any circumstances EAT.A. PEA. I have done experiments where I will toss out a small morsel of something into the lower bush and just watch as she picks up the scent and then amazingly....finds it and eats it. If that ain't street sense then I don't know what is.
I suppose I could go on and on but really the point is that when you first see that puppy (and fall in love) you really have no idea what kind of DNA soup is brewing inside. Eventually, you both come around to a sort of truce about how it's going to be. The rules are sorted and one day the quirks all fit together nicely and there you have it...you belong to each other and hopefully it will be a very long road traveled together.