Thursday, December 5, 2013

Goody Bear

He's not a fancy Bear. He's not the smartest, or cutest or most attention seeking dog in the pack. A
very unassuming character, he's just a good dog. And loyal, too. Most of the time he can be found peering out the nearest window, carefully scanning the horizon for threats real and imagined. He's probably the only dog we have that would actually try to protect us, though he is a tiny Bear by attack dog standards. It dawned on me today that he actually gets less attention because he's so well behaved. He's definitely a low maintenance Bear. Our pack of Chihuahuas mostly contains characters larger than life, such as Tidbit and Zoey. Each one is a criminal mastermind and suitable to be a cartoon character. Bear cares for none of that. He's too busy keeping us safe. He's a goody Bear.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sir Dumb and Lady Dumber

I am old. Because I am old, I take naps, and because I have dogs, I take dogs to nap with me. Now, I have
a whole pack of Chihuahuas. The "pack politics" preclude me from taking certain combinations of dogs to nap with me. It's not even possible to put into polite terms the back-biting and petty jealousy among certain members of the pack, which probably approach reality TV levels.

Lady Dumber
Lady Dumber
The two dogs I take the most to nap with me are Tidbit and Zoey, who have a "nap truce" agreement to tolerate each other for the duration of nap time, after which all bets are off. They cuddle together when I am asleep, but don't admit to liking each other during normal business hours.

As part of my nap time ritual, the missus asks me who I am taking, with the reply normally being "just give me Dumb and Dumber." It was she who decided that Tidbit was Dumb and Zoey was Dumber. Tidbit likes to nap. He will wake up from a long nap just to nap with me. It's one of his favorite words, so when he hears me talking about a nap, he comes right out.

Zoey, on the other hand, does not like to be disturbed, and will frown when the missus hands her to me. She is such a princess. In fact, today the missus said "she's such a princess." She is a princess. So I replied with something resembling a British accent: "Well, Sir Dumb and Lady Dumber will be accompanying me to a royal nap."

Sir Dumb
Sir Dumb

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spot Blocked

"Spot don't play"
Sometimes when one of the dogs goes to jump in our lap, Spot will jump out of nowhere and use what I can only describe as Jiu Jitsu to move her body in such a way that it not only puts her in our lap instead, but launches the other dog into the air.

She usually appears to come out of nowhere and it's like watching a sports play or something. The other dog never sees it coming, either.

When this happens, one of us usually yells "OOOH SPOT BLOCKED"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dinner Pizza Cookie Hungry

Most breeds of dog learn the human words you would think they learn. Like "go for a ride" and "here, boy!" Not Chihuahuas. At least not our Chihuahuas. Smokey knew the word 'cookie' before he even knew his own name. In fact, for a while he thought that Cookie was his name. Don't get me wrong, all my dogs are very alert and perceptive. But when I really want the attention of one of my dogs, all I have to do is start rattling off food words.

Tidbit is mad because he knows I am lying!
And because Tidbit is so skinny, we always give him a little bit of human food to try to keep his weight up. So of course, 'Tidbit' is now a food word to the pack. I read somewhere that the average dog has a vocabulary of over 200 words, and I can safely say that about 190 of those words are food related for my Chihuahuas.

Cookie, pizza, delicious, treat, handout, Tidbit, breakfast, lunch, dinner, eat, hungry, yummy, bacon ... the list goes on and on. Some people like the pictures I take of the Chihuahuas. They ask me how I can get them to look so intently at the camera while their dogs happily turn their backs on having their portraits taken.

The answer is easy, to get one of my dogs to look at the camera, I merely chain a bunch of food words together: "Tidbit! pizza good boy dinner!"

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tidbit's Tribute

Tidbit is barely 4 pounds as a full grown adult, though size-wise he is about the same size as a kitten. As a puppy he was extremely tiny; about the same size as a mouse. From the moment his eyes opened and he could see and hear me, he's had a crush on me. As an adult, most of his toys are still bigger than he is. As a puppy, he was dwarfed by his toys.

Tidbit the Chihuahua
"Here's the rope, sir"
But even as this tiny little mouse thing, he would bring me what I call "tribute" from the time he was able to physically bring me the toys. Every time he saw me, his eyes would light up, and he would immediately begin looking for some type of tribute to give to me. It seemed clear from the beginning that he saw me as the pack leader, "the man."

It's been a running joke in our house that every time I see Tidbit we think we understand his communication. Like he is saying: "Here comes the man, look sharp! Where's the Racoon toy? You bitches can all stay in here, because I roll with the man now!" Yes, he curses just like his papa Lenny, with the same level of enthusiasm as his papa.

"Wait! You'll be needing the Monkey!"
Two years of having various forms of tribute brought to me, and it's just as entertaining as ever. If he sees me, he will stop whatever he's doing and put on a show with one of the toys. Before it's given to the man, it must be hunted, pounced on, dominated, brutally killed, and then dominated some more. He makes it a point to show the man his prowess in battle for every encounter with the toys.

Now, if I walk into the family room, the wife will even say "here comes the man, look sharp!" as Tidbit rushes to his stash of pre-killed and pre-dominated toys to find suitable tribute for the man. Some of his toys, like the wily Fox and quackity Duck are still several times larger than he is, so it takes all his strength to carry them over to me. But he has enough moxy for a pack of Chihuahuas.

"You cannot have! This Monkey am for the man!"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Zoey, My Love

She wasn't the first puppy to leave the nest, but she was the first to find a weakness in the perimeter and leave the family room to explore the house. We could tell she was bossy and obstinate from day one. Every time we would come up with a new scheme of keeping the puppies penned up, Zoey would defeat our scheme. Not only would she would defeat our scheme and escape, she would teach her siblings to escape. It was clear from early on that she was the brains of the operation.

We didn't have much of a bond at first. Zoey was one of the cutest, so I figured it didn't make sense to bond with her because she would find a home quickly. And besides, it was her sister Jewel who had a thing for me. Every time I walked by the pen, Jewel would whine for me to pick her up. But it turned out to be Jewel who found a home quickly, so that bond was broken.

Shortly after Bear found a home and came back to us abused, we lost our heart for pushing to find homes for the remaining puppies. At that point, finding a home for Zoey wasn't the same priority it had been. So, I started taking her lay down with me occasionally. She was such a brat! Here is this 8 week old thing the size of a kitten trying to boss me around!

Indignant, I told the missus that I wasn't so sure about this puppy, and she said "don't lie and say she isn't your little princess" and at that moment I realized she was my little princess, and she already had me trained.

Zoey and Lenny
Zoey and her papa Lenny

Fast forward almost two years, and she's still my princess. She's a little better behaved. And now she's obedient, in a sense. It's like being married but still having a bossy girlfriend. I decided even back then the bond we had was probably strong enough to where I won't ever part with her.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ty Finds A Home!

It was starting to get surreal, almost mechanical. I would be talking to someone and I would remind
that person that my little dog Ty was looking for a home, and ask if they knew any great people looking for a great little dog. It was starting to feel like a marketing campaign. But I knew in my heart that finding him a home was the right thing for him, and the right thing for us.

Scout on his way to his new home
One day I routinely bugged my sister to think of anyone she knew, and she said "actually, my old friend is looking for a little dog" and that was it. A long time friend of the family who I've known for 30 years. It doesn't get any better than that. It was four days of driving to make the delivery, but it was well worth it to find our little guy a great home.

So I take this opportunity now to tell the world that our beloved Ty now has a home! And his wonderful new owner has even opted to return him to his original name, Scout. When he came back to us, I didn't want to jeopardize our chances of finding him a home by confusing him with a different name. But all along I thought Scout was a better name for him, since he's so curious and outgoing.

It's hard to express our happiness ever the way everything turned out. People were telling us to compromise and just find him any home, but he's been part of our family, and he's the son of Lenny. We couldn't just send him out into the world and never know his fate.

A week ago I dropped him off, and from what I hear, he's been fitting in great with his new family.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lenny's Ledger

It's been a running Joke for several years. Lenny, the father of the puppies, has a nearly photographic memory when it comes to what food we have in our house, and where it's located.
Lenny The Chihuahua
Lenny, the mastermind
So, we have been joking that he keeps a list of all food, toys, and other items of interest to a little dog in "Lenny's Ledger."

His ability to remember the location and content of things is uncanny. And unlike Smokey, who at least has the courtesy to wait until our back is turned, Lenny will immediately go to the first thing on his ledger the second our backs are turned. His ledger is sorted and prioritized, so he will go to his first favorite food first, and so on.

We also joke that his ledger has a separate worksheet for farts blamed on him. We think he uses MS Excel at our computers when we are asleep, which explains his sophisticated use of tabular data.

Lenny's son Bear seems to be the only puppy with his pappa's number crunching ability. He's a nosy Bear. He's a crafty Bear. And we suspect that he collaborates with his papa Lenny on a shared Ledger, which might even be stored in the Cloud somewhere. We are unsure as both Lenny and Bear delete their browsing history.

Lenny The Chihuahua, With His Son, Bear
A moment of collaboration between Lenny and Bear

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ty Needs A Home

He was born in the family room. We named him Scout because he was the first puppy to leave the nest to explore the house. He was the pick of the litter, and the first puppy to find a home. We thought he had it made. His owner was an elderly lady who adored him and showered him with an amount of gifts most humans will never see. He lived in a retirement community where everyone knew him. Until his owner had a stroke. They said she wouldn't ever recover, so her son gave "Ty" back to us.

I'm very gratified to say that his owner did recover but she will not be able to care for him. So, I'm glad she recovered, but I'm heartbroken that she is heartbroken about not being able to have him. Ty is now 2 years old. Everyone is sad, except for Ty, who's having a good time playing with some of his siblings. He is very well behaved and very well socialized. He is very confident and outgoing, and like a Chihuahua, not afraid to have his opinion known.

Big Man, Little Dog: Ty

We just have too many dogs to keep Ty, but yet he is also part of our family and dear to us. Not to mention that he's very dear to his original owner. So, we need to find him a home where he will continue to be an important part of someone's life. He deserves that much.

Big Man, Little Dog: Ty And Family

What we need to see in a new owner is mainly someone who will value him as a companion and family member and not just as an animal. Preferably someone who is familiar with little dogs, which are a whole different animal than most bigger breeds.

We would also like to see someone who is capable of caring for him and won't leave him alone for long periods of time. You can't leave a dog like this alone for 8 hours while you go to work. So, if you can show that you have a stable and safe environment for Ty, and the means to care for him for life, then please contact us if you are interested.

Big Man, Little Dog: Ty In The Sun

It's important to note that he is in perfect health, has all his tags and shots, and comes with all the doggy accessories he will need, like leash, collar, harness, crate, etc. He has everything he needs except a permanent family.

Big Man, Little Dog: Ty's Bounty
This is what came back to us from his owner's son. I would say that he was loved!

If you are the right owner for Ty, we will consider anything reasonable to get him to you, even if it's not locally to us here in Spokane. If it comes to it, I may even drive him across the country if necessary. And if for any reason your circumstances change, then we will take him back, no questions asked. You can call me any time at (509) 218-5051.

Big Man, Little Dog: Ty Closeup

Big Man, Little Dog: Ty Closeup 2
Big Man, Little Dog: Ty At 8 Weeks
Here's a baby picture of Ty, taken at 8 weeks
Big Man, Little Dog: Ty's Litter
He is from a litter of 6

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Kitty Means Us Harm

There's a Raccoon that comes into our garage at night looking for cat food. But most of the time it
Hey you, human, do something about that thing!

gets nothing, because most of the time I remember to bring in the cat food. Which brings me to the topic of my post. The cat doesn't appreciate the lack of access to his food bowl at night. You see, he is a creature of the night. But so is the Raccoon, and that is its weakness. The cats can eat during the day, even if they don't really like it.

In retaliation for this serious insult, the cat likes to come to the sliding glass door and torment our Chihuahuas. Often. He seems to take some sick satisfaction from driving the dogs crazy. He gingerly paces back and forth in front of the glass door. Sometimes he will stop mid-pace, turn, face the dogs, put his furry face up to the glass and says in his lowest Tomboy voice:  "MAAAOOOUUUHHH."

It's right about this time that little Tidbit begins to scream. And when it's clear we are going to do nothing about this obvious invasion, he starts screaming louder. The wife and I have this little game we like to play, where we translate one of our dog's behavior into English, and the best I can tell, Tidbit is screaming "HEY GUYS THERE'S A BLACK PANTHER OUT HERE AND I THINK HE WANTS TO EAT US!!! GUYS?! HELLO? THIS THING CLEARLY MEANS US HARM AND IT EVEN SAID TO US 'I am the Kitty, and I mean you harm!" PLEASE GET IT OFF THE PATIO! GUYS? THAT THING IS STILL OUT THERE, PLEASE! GUYS!"

Big Man, Little Dog: Smokey and Salem
Wait, that thing is in the house?!?!
That's pretty close to what Tidbit is trying to tell us, though we believe he would actually be cursing, like his Papa, Lenny would. We like to think that Lenny curses ever since he walked up to me, lifted his leg, said "Piss on the man!" and proceeded to do just that. Luckily he hasn't done it since, and neither have the sons of Lenny. Sometimes I think Lenny is really Wilfred.

Dogs have been at our side since almost the very beginning, and we take it for granted how easily we communicate with them, and they with us. We communicate with other animals, but not like we do with the dog. For example, the cat can tell me "Meow" which means "give me my @#$% food dish," where the dog will bring you the dish and drop it at your feet, alternately picking it and dropping it for dramatic effect. More dogs will even come stand in front of the dish to reinforce the point, like as if they are saying "HEY, WE DON'T HAVE THUMBS AND CANNOT WORK THIS THING, WHICH SHOULD BE OBVIOUS. YOU ARE THE MAN, YOU AM WISE AND POWERFUL. SO BE THE MAN AND FEED US."

Bear at his Kitty invasion command post
Zoey hides, so she will be the last to be eaten by the Panther

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Save Phineas

It's a sad story, and one we wouldn't tolerate if Phineas was human. A loving and loyal family member accused of a crime and sentenced to death without a fair trial. There is a growing Facebook Community of people who want to see Phineas reunited with his family. It currently has almost 160,000 likes!

For anyone who hasn't heard of this travesty, here is a few links:

Phineas' fate still uncertain a year after bite

Save Phineas effort goes to city hall

As a dog lover, this is very hard to cope with, because I know it could pretty much happen to any dog owner because animals don't have any rights.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chihuahuas Are Big Dogs

Most people are under the impression that Chihuahuas are little dogs. It's true they are small in size, but their size is the only thing small about the breed. I've owned and been around larger breeds most of my life. But I

have never seen a breed with a bigger heart. Or a bigger ego! Everything these little kamikazes do is big. When they get into trouble, it's big. When they give loyalty or affection, it's big. It's ironic that the smallest breed of dog doesn't do anything small.

The Chihuahua is an animal I respect for its big qualities. This breed doesn't do anything half way. Every day is lived to the fullest. Every meal is eaten like it's the last. Play time holds nothing back. The Chihuahua lives hard, plays hard and gives everything it has. It may eat 1/4th of the food a "real" dog eats, but it has a bark of 3 real dogs.

I have seen the proof of what I am saying here. I have seen a dog the size of a kitten with a room full of big dogs all submissive. The proof the Chihuahua is a big dog is as simple as seeing the respect it normally gets from bigger dogs.

Our black cat, which isn't scared of any one animal (or human) on the face of the Earth, runs when he sees more than one Chihuahua coming at him. This is the same cat that once scared a Labrador into knocking over our coffee table. The last time the cat came in to the living room, he gave me a look like "I'm not scared of these things." He strutted right up into the entire pack, turned around and gave me a look like "OH SH%T SAVE ME FROM THESE THINGS!!!" as he ran out the door. Now he very quietly peeks when he's in the house, though he does still taunt them from behind the sliding glass door.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Good And Bad Week For Lenny

It looked to be a very bad week for Lenny. In fact, it looked to be his last week. He has an enlarged heart. It's just a matter of time. So, we weren't expecting him to live to be 20. But maybe I was being overly
Lenny the Chihuahua
optimistic in my expectation that he might be around for a while. Why wouldn't he be. He has enough moxy for a pack of dogs. But it wasn't looking good about a week ago.

He's not as active as a healthy dog, but suddenly he seemed unable to do pretty much anything. We had to carry him around give him food and water by hand. It looked like his heart was about to give out, he was so weak.

We got him into the vet, who sounded very pessimistic at first, and then later called us with the "good" news: it was just his bad knee and bad back bothering him, and not his bad heart. Normally, having a bad back would be no cause to celebrate, but it means they can help him with medication, and he will be with us for a while longer, and that's good news.

Lenny the Chihuahua: Closeup

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bear Sniffing Around My Laptop: Bear-ware?

Lately Bear has some fascination with my laptop. Every time I look over, he appears to be doing something with my computer. My theory is that he's installing some sort of Bear-ware. He's a shifty Bear, so I wouldn't put it past him. Every one of our Chihuahuas is a criminal mastermind!

Bear The Chihuahua - Installing Bear-ware On My Laptop
Bear deep in concentration
Bear The Chihuahua - Looking Innocent
Who me? I have no idea what you're talking about

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Return of Ty's Mommy

When Ty came back to us, we were told his owner was not expected to pull through. It was a really sad situation, and we have been trying to decide what to do. Well, last week Tammy gets a phone call from
Virginia, Ty's owner! Turns out that rumors of her demise were greatly exaggerated.
Big Man, Little Dog: Ty with siblings
Ty in the sun, with brothers and sister

Her first thought upon regaining consciousness was for Ty. She kept apologizing to Tammy on the phone, like it was her fault. She was really sad because it looks like she won't be able to have Ty where she's at now. And she doesn't think she can take it if we were to bring Ty by to her for a visit.

So, right now we're back where we were at, figuring out what to do with this little doggy, this son of Lenny.

Big Man, Little Dog: They took Ty's spot!
They took his spot as soon as he got up
Big Man, Little Dog: Ty and Brother Bear
Ty, left, and brother Bear
Big Man, Little Dog: Smokey Joins The Puppies For Some Sun
The pudgy Smokey joins the puppies for sun

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ty Fitting Right In

Ty is such a good boy
Who's a good boy?
The last post talked about Ty, who came back to us after his owner passed away. We were sad about the
reason for his return, but we were happy to know that he made it back to us safely and that he was going to be OK.

Ty has been back a few weeks now and he's already fitting in. Both of his brothers treat him like he never left, and his mommy has stopped trying to attack him on sight. We finally had to start putting the tiny muzzle on Spot before she got the hint that it wasn't OK to attack her son.

Lenny And Sons
Lenny and Sons

Dog's life for Ty
He's not shy about claiming his place on the couch

Ty has the most beautiful markings
Ty has some beautiful markings

Brother Tidbit is never far behind
Brother Tidbit is never far behind

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Return of Scout

Scout the Chihuahua - Sittin' pretty
We called him Scout because he was the first puppy to escape the nest, right at about 4 weeks. He was really easy going, and had beautiful markings overall, and a heart shaped marking on his neck. So, it was no surprise that he garnered the most interest when it came time to find homes for the litter.

I had mixed feelings about giving him to an elderly lady in a nursing home. But it was obvious that whatever time they had together, he would be the center of her universe. I was just hoping they would have more time together than the 2 short years they got.

About 2 weeks ago we got a call from the Lady's son. She had suffered a stroke and wasn't expected to pull through. We had to suppress our anger that the owner wasn't even deceased, and already the son was looking to get rid of her dog. It was clear from the beginning that the son didn't like dogs, but seriously, what kind of son would be so quick to get rid of the thing that was most precious to his mom? I wouldn't do that to my mom, that's for sure.

He had Tammy meet him in a parking lot and did the exchange with all the caring and compassion as befitting a simple business transaction. Good riddance, we now have Scout (Ty) back.

One thing the son did do for his mom was gather up all of Scout's schwag, and give it to us in a very heavy bag. None of it was stuff we were hurting for, but it gave Scout some comfort having familiar toys and smells in our now-strange house.

We put all the puppy schwag out on the dining room table, and only then did it hit us how much this little dog meant to his owner. It looked like enough leashes, brushes, toys, sweaters and treats for about 10 dogs! Clearly, this was a well loved little dog. Hopefully his owner can rest in peace knowing that Scout is back with his siblings and while not quite as spoiled, just as well loved.

Scout the Chihuahua - All his schwag

Now we have a quandary. He should probably be re-homed, but we're going to be second guessing ourselves about the new owner. We've decided to take our time and find him the right home, even if it takes a while. I'd rather him stay here than go to the wrong person.

So far, the pack has accepted him back. It was a little dicey there for a while with mama Spot, but everything has settled down now.

Scout the Chihuahua, with papa Lenny and brother Bear
With his Papa, Lenny and brother Bear
Scout the Chihuahua, right out of the ruff-n-fluff
Right after a bath. He was filthy when we got him. His owner was probably in declining health the last few months
Scout the Chihuahua, he's a good boy
Scout, making himself right at home in the pack