In Need of a Dog

I found myself one day in need of a dog.
You may know how this happens, it can occur in many ways. A beloved pet dies and leaves a space that needs filling, a dog you own may need a companion, or a friend happens upon a dog that is looking for a home and you hadn’t thought about getting another ……but oh well.
In my case, a beloved pet had died, tragically and violently from a Pit Bull attack. My little 6 lb Pico, a Chihuahua mix, was killed in an instant. She left this world, in blood and tears, leaving a mark on me that has yet to diminish.
I was suffering her loss and I know myself well enough that I would need another to fill that space. I am a proponent of rescue dogs, and will always look for a dog that has been discarded to the pound or the Humane Society.
I turned where so many of us turn for something that we are looking for, to the internet. I was given the name of a rescue for Chihuahuas – Chi Angeles Rescue in Los Angeles CA. I contacted the director via Facebook and she messaged me back immediately.
She led me to some postings of Chis that were at the local dog pounds. Photos of so many little dogs that needed someone. Mostly Chis and Chi mixes.

I know from experience that I will KNOW my dog when I see her. I have done this before with horses and dogs. I will know.
I was scrolling through the photos. Nope, cute, nope, nope, that one’s cute though,………sigh………nope.
THERE!
There she was. Way in the back of the stainless steel cage, her front leg lifted up as if to be as far pressed into the corner as possible. Black with a white chest and a couple white toes. That was her. I knew from the photo she was mine.
I quickly contacted the Director Janel, and said it was her that I wanted. She said she would call to be sure that they still had her (EEEK, I didn’t like that thought~!) and would get right back to me. Janel called me the next day, she was there, she was on hold for me, and someone would go get her and put her on a plane to Minneapolis.
Really? What? I just go to the airport and get her?
Yep.
They take care of everything. The animal is neutered, or spayed. Vet Checked. They put them in a kennel with a blankie and bring them to the airport. I just PayPal Chi Angeles and that’s it.
OK, I’m IN!
(The magical efficiency of the Internet)
All of this was less cost than a spay at my vet’s office!
I paid via PayPal and waited for my new dog.
My first email was to let me know she was a biter. She bit a couple people at the pound. Did I still want her?
Yes, I believe she will settle down with her own routine. Please go ahead and put her on the plane.
I get another email several hours later. She has bitten the Vet who was examining her. Do I still want her?
Yes please. She is just scared. I still want her. (She was MINE!)
Last message, via Facebook. Now she has bitten the guy they sent to pick her up and bring her to the plane, was I absolutely positive that I wanted this dog?
YES! If she chooses to bite everyone she meets, she will just spend more time at home and less with other people! It is only me, and my lovely Papillion Pipsqueak, so if she is a terror, she will not be going visiting is all. Send her along.
The next night I am at the proper building for live freight. I am waiting in a dimly lit, dumpy building on the Airport property. The lady behind the counter now knows that I am waiting for my new dog. She is excited also!
My close friend, Gina, has come along with me. Time is crawling as I worry about this tiny animal, so scared that she bites every hand extended to her, now in Minnesota from California. She has flown on an airplane for several hours, right after having spay surgery.
Then a man from the back of the building yells something, something about “Here we come” or “Here we are”. He wheels this cart to the counter and slides a small kennel onto it.
I peek in. It is dark in this building, and the lights are no better near the counter. I see a tiny shadow.
Too small really to be a dog. But as my eyes adjust………..two giant ears take form.
This small, mostly black dog, with giant ears is looking at me.
I open the kennel door and slowly, while talking in soothing tones, reach my hand inside to touch her and possibly bring her out to assess her.
Slowly my hand moves toward her… I never expected what happened……she did NOT bite me!
This scared little creature let me wrap my hand around her belly and slide her out to meet me.
I was pretty sure that this was not really a dog. She was only 3 ½ lbs! I really have never seen such a diminutive canine!
My friend and I oooohed and ahhhed over her. I got her some water right away. The airport lady was in love in seconds. I think I may have convinced her to get her next dog from Chi Angeles rescue!
I have named her Tika, and she has not offered to bite since arrival in Minnesota.
(Ok, she MAY have nipped my nephew on the nose. That was my fault for shoving her into his hands when she was scared of him) He is an Ex-Marine so a Chihuahua nip was nothing he couldn’t handle.
She is everything a lap dog is rumored to be. On my lap. Loving. Sweet and attentive.
Tika and Pippi get along fabulously. Tika uses Pippi’s fur to keep warm when they are sleeping together.
I am so very happy to have her, and very thankful to Chi Angeles for making it easy.
(Find them on Facebook if you have an interest in rescuing a Chi.!)

 

Here is Tika.

And below, Pico, who was killed by the Pit Bull

Pico sofa

 

 

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My friend Leslie and I watched this sassy little guy make his break for freedom, and drive us to fits of laughter all the while. He finally was captured and brought back to the stall, but not before the whole audience was in tears.

Crazy MINI

Saying Hello

Saying  Hello

 

Boris picked me when he was newborn. I was coming home late at night when my neighbor stepped out of his back door and asked me if I wanted to “see something cool”. Of course I did!

Into the kitchen, he opens a closet door, and there is his Lhasa Apso,  “Kahluha” with a litter of puppies! They were all just a few hours old.
I asked if I might hold one, I had a lot of experience already with newborn pups, and  he said “please, go ahead.”  I fished around for a beige one with black tips and brought out a little boy.

It was the beginning of an 18 year relationship that would see us to Alaska and back.

This pup bonded with me that second. As the pups grew, he would walk away from his litter mates with unsteady legs, crossing their yard into mine. I would hold him, bring him in my house for hours, and only return him to his family for eating and nighttime. We napped together on weekends. We played in and out of the house. I would go over at all hours and ask for that “little puppy that I like”.

I knew that I was playing a dangerous game, for I was 19 and had no intention of having a dog.  I would have to say goodbye to him in a few weeks.

One  night my neighbor knocked on our door asking for the pup, as there were people coming over to look at the litter and pick a dog.

Oh, OK. I handed him over.

The next morning I was out of bed at the first sound of the puppies being let out into the yard. Peeking through my window I could see “My” puppy was still in the group.

Over and over this played out, people would come into the back yard, play with the puppies and leave with one. Not “mine”.

One couple held him for a looooong time, while I held my breath, and eventually put him down in favor of a black and white female.

For 3 weekends I sat at my window watching from the second story, as people came and chose their new family members. But each time they picked up my special guy, they would put him down and take another!

I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with this little guy? Why would no one choose him to take home? Was he defected somehow?

I told my roommate, who owned the home, that I wanted that little boy. Would she let me have a puppy in the house?

She was a very spiritual person and believed in asking the powers that are in the world for help in making big decisions.  She said that we would use the  I Ching oracle. I agreed to whatever she needed to consult as I was asking a huge favor, bringing a puppy into a beautiful home.

We sat cross legged on the floor in the living room. She shook the coins and threw them onto the floor. We took note of the symbols showing and looked for the proper place in the book. She found it, read a few paragraphs, then said “A change, in the form of an animal pelt, is favorable” I said  “What does

that mean?”  She said “It looks like you need to go get that puppy!”

 I hot-footed it over to the neighbor’s house. I knocked on the back sliding glass door. It slowly opened……my neighbor was holding the puppy out to me.  I said it had been torture watching everyone pick him up and then pass him over, it was 3 weeks of misery waiting for someone to take him out of my life!

He said “Lori, this dog was always yours, from the first night he was born and you held him, he never belonged to anyone else. I would tell anyone who came to look at the pups that this one was already spoken for. You just had to realize that he was your dog, everyone else knew it all along.”

He picked me, sure as I wasn’t going to get a dog, he decided differently. I named him Boris (from Boris Badenoff in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons) Augustus (It was August when I got him) and I Ching, as that was his oracle. Boris Augustus I Ching.  I registered him under that name.

He was part of me for the next 18 years.

Getting to the Gate

It has always been important to me to have a horse that will come when I call him. I was told by a cowboy years ago “You’re going to ruin your horse that way” I had no reply, I wondered how I could “ruin a horse” by getting him to come to the gate for me?
One day, in a heavy downpour, I walked out to the gate at the same time this cowboy was going to get his own horse. I called for mine and he made his way through the deep mud and came right to the gate. The cowboy said again to me, “You’re gonna ruin that horse that way.”  I said, “Well, I’m never going to ruin my boots”

I go to the ranch to spend some time with my boy.  I usually start calling him before I get him in my line of vision, you see he has a few things that he needs to do before he starts the trek to the gate. He hears me calling and looks up. If I do not wave he puts his head down again to eat. If I wave, he recognizes that it is me, and then he is terribly torn between coming to me or grabbing another mouthful.  You can watch the decision making process as it happens. He is loathe to leave his hay. He looks at me, looks at the round bale, looks back at me.  Then you see the light come on in his head – “Grain” or “Cookies!”  He realizes that I too have food for him. He chooses me, today at least.  Poor Zeus becomes terribly deaf in the summer.  I think it is the green grass in the pasture that affects his hearing.  I will give him that he is usually farther out, that is, he is farther away from me when I start hollering for him. But in the summer, he sometimes won’t even lift his head when I am calling him. I wonder if there is an ailment called Grazing Deafness?

So on this day he decides to come and see what I am up to. As I said, he has a couple of things he needs to tend to before making his way to me.
Number one is the poop. Now, I like to think that his excitement in seeing me is so great that he cannot delay his poopy. Once he has decided to come to me, there is a poopy that needs to go. Now that the poopy is taken care of, he needs to survey the route. Is there mud? Other horses that he dislikes? He begins. He is the kind that would pin his ears if a horse is blocking his way rather than move his own giant self .  Today he sees a rival gelding and pushes him, pins his ears and snakes his head up and down. He actually makes his way over to the horse, although the trip would have been shorter to bypass him. Now he stops. What was I doing? That is my cue to call him again. This is to get him back on task.
Zeus gets to the gate and I swing it wide open. He will not come out until he gets a cookie. He mugs me for the cookie instantly. Then stands and blocks the gate so I have to move him in order to be able to close it.
Meanwhile, if one of his horse buddies has tagged along, they will take advantage of the open gate and squeeze out. Now Zeus decides that he can exit also. “Oh, that one is out, I could go out too.”  Zeus goes directly to a green patch of grass, (the long walk was very arduous you know.)
The escapee takes a different route, he is eager for attention and he hotfoots it toward the parking lot.
A merry chase ensues, the proper place is found for the opportunist, and Zeus and I make our way to the arena for brushing.
Although he LIVES here and he sees this area every day all day (and night) he always snorts and spooks on the way to the arena. Like this is brand new to  him.  Then he needs to be afraid of the same pile of wood that has been there since he arrived three years ago.
I don’t care much if he wants to be a big baby about this. I believe the less I pay attention to it the less he will think that it is going to eat him.  He will follow me to the door where I put on his halter. We are about to be around other horses and people so I need him to wear his halter. We enter through the door at the back of the arena. There is a pile of hay there for storage.  Zeus attacks this like has been HOURS without food, nearly upsetting the nicely stacked bales. I call this a drive-by snack.
He needs to announce his arrival and begins noisily farting every step to the tie rail. Others turn and look, greet me, knowing before turning that it is Zeus. Even though his flatulence is legend, someone always says something about this. Like it is new to me. Like I hadn’t noticed. Like I had not blogged about it.
Of course, I have already admitted, I find the farting charming and  also funny. I have very little control when he is farting. I think a fart noise is funny. So I am charmed beyond measure by this horse of mine.

Pippi the Puppy Mill Papillon

LoriLynn's Pippi

My beloved Pippi

Pipsqueak is my little Papillon. I first saw her in a Craigslist ad. She was “rescued” from a Puppy Mill and offered for sale by the rescuer. I looked at her photo and moved on. Although she was darling, I had one dog already, a small chihuahua / pomeranian cross with the boss and sass of a lion.   I really did not need two dogs to boss me around!

A week later, looking at CL, I searched this little dog out again. There she was, still in need of a home of her own. Again I moved on.

Later,  I was on the phone with my mother, who works for a dog rescue as a foster parent for dogs that come to the Humane Society. I mentioned this dog that was on CL. She was interested and wanted to call and ask about the circumstances of the dog’s rescue. I gave her the phone number listed.

My mom called be back in about an hour. She said to stay away from this dog, she was a victim of the Puppy Mill business and would be hard to deal with. Puppy mill dogs are “raised dirty”, that is , they are raised in tiny kennels with their litter mates, never learning to poop or potty away from themselves. They are raised in this mess, and learn to live in it. They are hard to house train because of this, to say nothing of the mental stress that a dog has from living in these conditions. I agreed and I did not NEED another dog anyway.

Of course a week later, there she still was on CL, looking up at the camera, those giant ears like radar dishes. Who was I kidding? I called the number.

The woman was nice enough, she said that she was the friend of a woman who was a hoarder of this breed and she had rescued several of these beautiful animals from her property.She added that the dog was “vet checked and ready to go.” (Whatever that means)

I made a deal for the dog, “Merry” was what the woman was calling her. I offered to drive 2 hours to the small town that this woman lived in to get the dog. “No, no, that’s OK, I will be near the Cities  in a week, I’ll meet you in the parking lot of the mall.”

She called when she was near, I drove to the mall, never expecting what I was about to see. She was driving a mini van, filled to the top with tiny wire kennels, stacked one on top of the other, each with one or two Papillons.

She WAS the puppy mill. It was clear to me that there was no “rescue”. These were dogs that no longer had value to her, they were sick or they were needing vetting or they were used up for having puppies. She reached into the van and opened a kennel, turned and shoved the dog into my arms and held her hand out for the cash. I gave it to her, expecting something like, “she really likes to play ball” or “she knows how to sit and jump up on her hind legs.” Something about her, anything to let me know that she was ever paid any attention to. Nothing. The woman turned and got in her van. The dog I was holding had hanging teats.  She was obviously just pulled off a litter of puppies.Her coat was so rough dirty I knew that there was a nutrition issue. Her tail had no hair on it, she was shaking and fearful and she seemed to not know how to act while being held.

I carried her into my house and put her down. She could not walk up the stairs. She had no idea how to do that. I was getting sick to my stomach imagining her life, in a small kennel, having puppies, until she was no good to someone.

She was not spayed of course, she had horrible teeth also. She clung to me like a shadow.

Her sad life became more and more clear as I got to know her. She had several giant cysts on her that were filled with pus. She had scars that had so much scar tissue under them, they felt like pebbles under her skin.

I needed to get her healthy before there would be the spay and the teeth addressed. In several months her coat was smooth and shiny, her tail had hair, she was joyful and playful, running up and down the stairs to look out all of the windows in the house.

She is a real dog now. She is doing doggy things, and getting the idea that “OUTSIDE” is for poopy and potty! I am hoping that her younger life is a bad memory to her and she will be happy with  me until the end of her days. That is my plan anyway.