Above) Helen Gregory lost her ten-year-old chihuahua in October of 2009. The dog's name, ANgel (in fancy duds above), was spelled with two caps because the dog's name was a contraction of "An Angel."
Helen received hundreds of calls, cards, and e-mails of sympathy, as she's well known in Cookeville, Tennessee, and surrounding towns, as an animal rescue fundraiser, with ANgel always at her side promoting special needs of dogs, for ANgel was deaf.
In one of the photos above, Helen and ANgel pose with country singer Emmylou Harris, who happens to own two chihuahuas of her own, Jade and Coco. The shirt they are holding up promotes Emmylou's dog sanctuary on her own estate, called Bonaparte's Retreat.
Despite the handicap, ANgel could do all sorts of tricks, obedient to hand-signals. ANgel also wrote articles for the Herald-Citizen (ghostwritten by Helen), so basically this dog was was famous wherever the newspaper reached. Helen had other pets to rely on during her grief, but ANgel she said was "My soul," about whom she had mystical feelings of deeper connections.
Here is ANgel's dogster facepage, which we hope will remain archived a long time:
Below) Before she had ANgel, Helen was prone to panic attacks, and felt the old issues returning when ANgel was gone.
Friends encouraged her to look at a new chihuahua they had in mind, who needed an owner with experience with deaf dogs. Angel was so extrmeley irreplaciable that Helen warned, "I don't want any hurt feelings if I don't take her."
The photo below is of one-year-old Cian, in December 2009. She turned out to be hard to resist. Helen said, "I looked into those eyes and she owned me from then on." She was a mite ditzier than ANgel and so harder to train, but completely loving and adorable, prettier than your average chi.
Cian planned a new column for the Tennessee newspaper Herald-Citizen, basically taking over ANgel's column. Ghostwritten by Helen of course, Cian began chronicling her training as a service dog.