Special needs chihuahua with ‘big personality, little body’ warms hearts
If Nessie McNubbins could fly, she probably would. No one told the 8-year-old fiery chihuahua she had only two legs.
The way the tiny kangaroo-like dog leaps around will make you think twice about feeling sorry for her. Her mother, Theresa Loyacano, who adopted the miniature canine calls her “fierce.”
“I’m telling you, she is something else,” Loyacano said, regarding the dog after she became comfortable with the family of five. “She is fearless. She’s curious. She is, oh my goodness, she is protective. You see a two-legged dog and you think, what’s she going to do?
“She not yappy, but she’s a big personality, little body,” she added.
Loyacano jokes that Nessie is part dog, part kangaroo because of the way she gets around. The family keeps fluffy pillows - “landing pads” - all over the floors to protect her from harm in case she decides she wants to jump off her seat on the couch.
“It does not even occur her to her that she only has two legs,” Loyacano said. “Nobody told her. She’s all over the place.”
Based out of Katy, Texas, Nessie, an internet celebrity and social media influencer, has more than 15,000 followers on Instagram. But she didn’t start out that way.
In 2017, Loyacano was heartbroken when her 18-year-old dachshund named Sunday, a dog she had her entire adult life, died.
“I didn’t want to get another dog, but I missed having a dog,” she said.
For months, Loyacano began following dog rescue pages on Facebook, Instagram and other social media or her friends’ dogs just to be fill the void of the loneliness she felt about losing Sunday.
But then one day, she saw Nessie.
“I wasn’t looking to adopt a dog,” she said. “But when I saw her story and the fact that she’d been abandoned, and she only had two legs and oh my god, how scared she must be, I just felt like she needed me. And she did. And I needed her too.”
Loyacano adopted Nessie from Texas Chihuahua Rescue, a nonprofit organization that according to its website has helped save the lives of 759 animals in 2017.
Nessie was born with only two legs; her disability wasn’t a result of any kind trauma or accident, Loyacano said.
“It was likely due to overbreeding or poor breeding,” she said. “But she lived for eight years with only two legs. So, she was actually pretty used to that.”
Nessie had been returned and abandoned at the shelter three times. She had a history of abuse and she had some health issues: a tumor and some dental problems that the family is still working to resolve.
Nessie’s early life might have been hard.
But overall, Nessie is in a much more stable home now, Loyacano said, adding that the family’s life revolves around the tiny canine.
“I can’t imagine life without her,” she said. “She is so much apart of the family. We plan everything around her. It’s almost like we recognize that her life has been so tough up until this point that - it’s not just, ‘let’s have a dog.’ It’s what can we do to make what’s left of her life the absolute best for her.”
The family adopted Nessie on Jan. 14, 2018, coincidentally one year to the date after their dog Sunday passed. Loyacano,42, said it was not planned.
“It was just sort of happened that way,” she said, adding that she sees similarities in dogs. “They have similar attitudes. They are both, ‘it’s my way or the highway.’”