Chi Chi’s tale initially sounds rather sad: The little Min Pin-Chihuahua-Terrier mix was surrendered to the Cleveland APL, because her owners, who found her as a stray, decided that she was too much responsibility. But their act of surrendering her to the APL gave her a chance at a new life. And oh, what a life it is!
Eric is an actor touring the country with The Phantom of the Opera. He thought carefully about getting a dog, ultimately deciding that a furry friend who could go on tour with him would make life on the road much more pleasant. He researched breeds, and on his days off visited shelters in various cities, looking for the right companion. In June 2016, Eric, whose home is in California, was in Cleveland for a three-week run of Phantom. He decided that the time was right.
Eric visited the Cleveland APL on one of his days off. As he walked through the adoption floor, he noticed that all of the dogs were excitedly barking and jumping in their kennels. Well, all of them except one: Chi Chi. She perked up, came to the front of the kennel to sniff Eric, he recalls, then turned and went back to her bed! Her calm demeanor and independent manner both amused and appealed to Eric. He asked to meet with her. She sniffed around the room, then came over when he called her, and sat in his lap. After a short time, a volunteer came in and asked if they were a good match. Eric consulted Chi Chi, “What do you think?” The small, golden dog made her decision known: She dropped her head onto Eric’s lap. She would trust him with her fate.
And such a smart decision that was! Eric believes that Basil, as he renamed her, had gone through some rough times in her short life. She was nervous on her leash and around her crate, and always seemed to be “on guard.” Eric, who at times struggles with anxiety himself, empathized with the little dog. Now the two of them are a team. They travel by road on the tour with Phantom, instead of flying, to minimize their stress.
Basil has been classified as an emotional support animal for Eric, who credits her with teaching him to be more patient, to take more time and notice things around him. And Eric, in turn, works on training Basil so that she’ll be more secure in her environment, knowing that he’s in charge, and simply being a dog who is able to relax and enjoy herself. Basil now treats her crate as her own private room, resting easy inside. And she and Eric enjoy walks when he gets home from performances. “You’d never think,” Eric muses, “that having an animal will change your life,” but the presence of this playful, loving spirit has changed his, as he has changed hers. You can follow this duo and the rest of their story, as it unfolds, on Instagram @DarkStarEric and @basilslife.
Information about the Cleveland APL
To meet the adoptable animals at the Cleveland APL, visit our adoption center in Tremont at 1729 Willey Avenue in Cleveland or our PetSmart Charities® Everyday Adoption Center in the Parma PetSmart® store at 6870 Ridge Road. To view all of the animals who are waiting for loving homes online or on your mobile device, visit www.ClevelandAPL.org
or download our free adoptions app on your iOS or Android device.
Our Facebook page is called “Cleveland Animal Protective League”. Here is the link to it for your reference: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cleveland-Animal-Protective-League/29396512928
Our Twitter handle is @ClevelandAPL. Here is a link: https://twitter.com/ClevelandAPL
Communications & Events Coordinator
Cleveland Animal Protective League
1729 Willey Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113