When people meet Cricket “the Gremlin” for the first time, they usually have one of two reactions.

“Usually we get the ‘Oh my god, she’s so ugly, she’s cute,'” says owner Kymi Aeschliman. “Or some people will look on in horror because they think something terrible has happened to her when it hasn’t. She’s had the most princess life ever.”

Aeschliman admits she’s never seen a hairless chihuahua where she lives in western Washington, so Cricket’s striking look often stokes curiosity. But there’s plenty more to this story than looks alone.

Cricket was brought to Washington from home in Texas. Aeschliman says, in the process, it was herself who was rescued.

We lose the dog to cancer.

“I had recently lost one of my dear friends to COVID,” she says. “We lost our beloved dog Olive to cancer just before that, and it was a tough time.”

Aeschliman and her husband wanted “something positive to look forward to,” so they began looking at rescue dogs online.

“I applied for several all over the country, and I just kept getting told that we weren’t quite the right fit,” Aeschliman says. “I don’t know what would make us not the right fit, but it just kept happening. Finally, I came across a picture of [Cricket] through a Facebook friend group, and I couldn’t live without her, and I just knew she was the one.”

Aeschliman says Cricket was “literally the combo of my dreams because she was hairless, and she was a Chihuahua.”

From the photos they saw, Cricket looked “like a little gremlin,” a nickname that has since played out well for the pup.

“I’ve never seen anything like her,” Aeschliman says. “My husband is always slightly reluctant to get a new pet, and when he saw her, he was like, ‘OK.’ It was mutual among the family members.”

Cricket was held at home in Texas, but distance is no obstacle to true love.

Aeschliman told her husband, ‘Guess what, you’re flying to Texas because we just need this in our life.'”

It turned out to be a good decision. “She has brought so much joy since the moment she came home,” Aeschliman says of Cricket. “She’s just been a wonder!”

The dog is brilliant, Aeschliman says, not to mention lovable.

“She can figure out those dog puzzles in 30 seconds, where my other dogs will just kind of stare,” she says. “We love all three of our babies, but [Cricket] is so present and smart in how she looks at you. She’s a little love bug. She came into our lives and rescued us; we needed her badly.”

Cricket has lived with the Aeschlimans and their two other dogs for nearly a year. During that time, Aeschliman says keeping busy with Cricket’s care and social media has helped pull her out of depression. She’s also learned much more about caring for hairless animals than she ever thought she would need.

Aeschliman says:

“She has a more extensive skincare routine than I do, and I’m a little bit obsessed,”

Cricket’s five-step routine involves exfoliating her skin and a special shampoo that has to stay on her body for 10 minutes to clear away problematic acne. Then she follows up with a moisturizer and sunscreen if Cricket goes outside.

Caring for Cricket can be pretty involved. Aeschliman says she is occasionally asked if caring for a hairless dog means you save money on grooming, but Cricket’s weekly skincare routine often proves otherwise.

Still, the effort is worth it when you love your pet, Aeschliman says, but not every new pet parent may be prepared for the same responsibility. To those considering adopting a pet with special needs, Aeschliman recommends getting pet insurance.

“It is worth every penny,” she says, noting that Cricket’s skin issues and bouts with Giardia would have been much more of a challenge without the financial support.

Cricket has found her loving forever home, and the Aeschlimans are forever grateful she could “rescue” them.

The Gremlin

“She could not be any more loved,” Aeschliman says. “My husband and I will come to tears because we love her so much.”

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Watch the video below to learn more about Cricket’s story, and see more photos and videos of this “Gremlin” on her Instagram page, @cricketthegremlin.

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