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Jenny Gomes, a doggie foster mom, of Leesburg, Florida has perhaps the world's smallest dog. Dancer is an eleven-month-old, long-haired Chihuahua and stands approximately 4 1/4 inches tall at the shoulders. That's about the height of a standard envelope. His itty-bitty stature is talk of the town, but drive-by photo opportunities are only successful in fresh-cut grass.
Dancer was named after the Garth Brooks ballad, *The Dance*. “I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance,” said Gomes recalling the inspiration for Dancer's name and experience as an animal foster.
Dancer may be Jenny's first record-winning rescue, but he's not the first to benefit from her kindness. Jenny says she has fostered cats, dogs, a bird, a tortoise and hoofed animals including miniature donkeys.
Gomes found Dancer's mother and father abandoned in a nearby home. Two weeks later, Dancer was born. “He was the size of my thumb”, said Gomes, “his eyes didn't open until about four-weeks old”. Dancer didn't gain weight or grow like the other pup for two weeks, forcing Jenny to feed him with a medicine dropper. Luckily Jenny happened to have Dancer's sibling to know something wasn't quite right with Dancer's growth rate. For information on appropriate puppy growth and size, please read How Big Will My Puppy Get?
Jenny was told by her veterinarian that Dancer would not likely live to become six-months-old. Dancer will be 1-year-old on June 8, 2007. Gomes said that he has no health or heart problems, but she does ensure he eats many small meals throughout the day to prevent against hypoglycemia. For information related to hypoglycemia in small dogs please read, Hypoglycemia in Dogs.
Dancer gets some special treatment because of his size, including being carried virtually everywhere, swaddled in plush blankets and use of his very own playpen to keep him from getting stepped on.
On Dancer's first birthday, Gomes plans to perform the official measurement for entry into *Guinness Book of World Records*. To date, Dancer's chance at the title looks good, as no smaller, full-grown dogs have been reported. “If he does it, he does it”, said Gomes who's more concerned about providing a safe, loving home for Dancer than breaking the record.
As the popularity of purse-sized pups has increased, people consider a dog Dancer's size to be just right. Gomes has rejected many offers to purchase or breed this smaller than pint-sized pooch. “Dancer is safe; he'll be neutered and never bred” said Gomes, “With so many dogs out there that need homes, there's no sense in breeding dogs like Dancer.”
Famous or not, Dancer has found his forever home with Jenny and his mother.