Every day is Tongue Out Tuesday with Mervin

mervin the chihuahua in sweater
Credit: @mervinthechihuahua on Instagram

Mervin the Chihuahua has been through a lot, more than anyone likely deserves, but he’s still in the business of spreading happiness and love across the world—even at the young age of 18. 

Here he is by the numbers: About 18 years old, zero teeth, and more than 126,000 followers on Instagram. That’s where you’ll find him and his five siblings offering up a daily dose of happiness, whether that’s playing with a stuffed squirrel, tolerating bath time, or enjoying a snooze. Heck, he’s even hosted a (pre-COVID) meet-and-greet

Mervin deserves all that love and more. His owners adopted him from the ASPCA in New York City in 2014. He was brought in to the rescue as a stray, found walking the streets of Harlem. He was very skinny, and his teeth were rotten. The ASPCA veterinarians removed all his teeth and an orthopedic surgeon fixed his legs, some of the worst knees he’d ever seen.

Owner Joey Teixeira says he and his partner originally adopted Mervin as a foster, but they soon realized he wasn’t going anywhere. Mervin had found his forever home.

Three years after he was adopted, Mervin was diagnosed with melanoma in his eye, requiring more surgery. The growth was malignant, so little Mervin required rounds of vaccines and still needs a vaccine booster every six months. 

“He has always been strong-willed and feisty. He’s only 3 pounds but he is absolutely fearless,” Teixeira says. “For all of the medical crises his tiny body has gone through, he is a survivor and one of the toughest beings I know.” 

Now a “super-senior,” Mervin has slowed a bit, his owner says. On walks, he likes to be carried most of the time, but his age hasn’t stopped him from flexing his sweater game or trying to negotiate spoonfuls of yogurt

“He is very mushy and likes to cuddle and sleep but still has plenty of attitude,” Teixeria says. 

Mervin’s five siblings—Jack, Minnie, and Lacey (dogs) and Quincy and Magoo (cats)—share in the Instagram fun, too. The dogs are all 8 or older and the two cats are the babies at 2 years old. The cats are also blind. 

Teixiera and his partner either fostered or adopted outright all their pets, helping not only their pets but others, too. 

“Adopting an animal, especially a senior animal, is one of the best things in the world,” Teixeira says. “When you adopt you don’t just save one life—you save two—because by adopting you make space for another animal in the shelter who needs help. We love the quote by Mr. Rogers ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ 

“We always try to be a helper and spread that message. If you can’t adopt, try to foster. If you can’t foster, you can volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, you can donate. If you can’t donate, you can share on social media. There is always something you can do.”