Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Seven Chihuahuas? How Did This Happen??

It all started so innocently. One little 5-pound Chihuahua was in need of rescue, and although I usually foster bigger dogs, I figured one small dog would be easy enough to manage. Thus Joey the Chihuahua came to my house. Other than not being house-trained, and not liking strangers, and barking all the time, and wanting to mark everything in sight, he is just about perfect.  I use that term loosely.  But things were going along well, until as often happens in the rescue world, there was an emergency. Another rescue was closing down and they had dozens of dogs they needed to place. The rescue had offered to help me with one of my fosters before, so I had to do what I could to help.  I offered to take two dogs, and it just so happened that the two they gave me were both Chihuahua mixes.


Soon Joey met his new friends Kiwi and Chula.  Both Kiwi and Chula are seven years old, and they both are extremely sweet and loving.  Chula has something called microphthalmia which means that her left eye is smaller than it should be.  But it doesn't bother her and I think it actually makes her more loving and affectionate.  While there is no scientific basis for this theory, it would explain why she is sooo friendly with everyone she meets. And if I can convince anyone of this theory it might even help her get adopted.  She's house-trained, great with other dogs, and all-around a pretty easy dog to foster, so hopefully she will find a forever home soon. 


Her brother Kiwi is actually missing an eye, which he lost last year due to an injury of some type.  He looks like he is perpetually winking.  He is also very friendly, but he's not one of those dogs that has to be right on your lap at all times, which is nice too.  He loves to play fetch, and he loves to play in the puppy pool.  He also has a cute curly tail.  


So at this point I'm up to three Chihuahuas, with no plans to take any more small dogs.  Then a tornado hit town. Literally. A friend who was fostering a momma Chihuahua and three puppies had no power due to the tornado damage, so guess who offered to take said momma and pups? Yep. Me.  Suddenly three Chihuahuas became seven Chihuahuas. It was only temporary though – the power came back on after a few days and the dogs returned to their foster home. Except for one problem. The momma Chihuahua – let’s call her Blondie (because that’s her name) – is terrified of strangers. She barks. She screams. She attacks. She does NOT like strangers. So for those few days she was at my house, I made friends with her. That was my mistake.
Leo and Lee - 6 weeks old

Because in the process, I started to like her, and even worse, I started to feel sorry for her. She was so scared. I knew her foster circumstances were temporary and soon she would have to leave the foster home where she had been staying (it was a neonate rescuer who only takes on pregnant moms and puppies until the puppies are 6-8 weeks.) Then she’d have to go to yet another foster home where she would be scared all over again. I may have accidentally offered to take her and the puppies back when they were old enough to leave the neonate rescuer. Which happened a few days later. 

Leah - 6 weeks old

So suddenly, I find myself the caretaker of four adult Chihuahuas and three Chihuahua puppies.  The puppies will be adopted quickly as soon as they're available for adoption, but it will be three more weeks until they're big enough for that to happen. Right now they are at the age where they are into everything - especially Leah, the only girl in the litter.  She is twice the size of the two boys, and she is the fearless leader who is the first to explore and try to chew on everything.  Which mostly means my toes, while I'm in her room cleaning or feeding or playing with the pups.   

So this is how I found myself surrounded by seven tiny dogs. Plus three large deaf dogs. And one medium sized Beagle mix. And my cat Merlin. We’re one big happy family, you might say. Or not.

Stella is a deaf Lab mix that came in from an area animal control. She loves everyone, but she doesn’t seem to realize the little dogs are not the same size as her. When I’m on the couch typing on my laptop, she tries to lay on the top of the couch behind my shoulders, and she regularly slides down onto the Chihuahuas who are laying on the couch next to me. She can’t hear them barking or growling, and she just lays there on top of them, on her back with all four feet in the air, like she’s completely comfortable on her bed of wiggling Chihuahuas. I’m always surprised when they wriggle out from under her and just scoot over instead of making good on their threats.

 This is especially true because of how they treat Pablo. Pablo is a deaf Boxer mix who came from an animal control facility in Illinois. He was turned in by his owners because they said he wouldn’t eat. He has some separation anxiety, and we’re working on putting some weight on him. He does fine with all of the other dogs except for Joey and Blondie, who he likes to bark at. Kiwi and Chula stand up for their foster siblings though and the four of them gang up on him. Have you ever faced down a pack of four angry Chihuahuas? I have to say, I feel sorry for Pablo. They won’t let him anywhere near the couch, so he’s taken over the chair next to the couch instead.

It may sound like pandemonium at my house, but there is a bit of order to the chaos. Not a lot, but some. None of the dogs are really allowed to pick on the others, although did I mention how scary it is to face down a pack of four angry Chihuahuas? Fortunately they all listen well and one or two words will often calm down anyone who needs it. Or one or two hand signs, in the case of the deaf dogs. Stella is very smart and in the past two weeks she has learned how to sit, lay down, come when called, and stay! We’ve been going to training classes and I think she could earn her Canine Good Citizen certification quickly if she’s not adopted first. She is extremely affectionate and very popular at adoption events, so she’s already received two applications for adoption. We have a home visit scheduled for tomorrow so she may be gone very soon! Chachi the brindle Boxer/pit bull mix has also been adopted, and is doing well in his new home. Pablo goes to the vet tomorrow, and I’m scheduled to get a shy dog named Brittany sometime in the new week or two.  Right now shelters everywhere are over-crowded with both dogs and cats (and especially kittens) so if you've ever thought about fostering, you are needed right now!  Please contact your local rescue group or shelter! 


Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

They sort of Multiplied... butt that is OK... the more the HAIRIER... OH I meant the MERRIER...

Rebekah said...

Bless you!!

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

You totally rock! I'm putting you up for canonization!

Barb's Cats and Quilts said...

Cute, cute, cute. And I sure get the multiplying. My cats AND fabric every time I turn my back.

acd6pack said...

Ha ha is so hard to say no, isn't it?! Good for you for helping and giving them all a safe place to be.

Chula's eye condition is what our Hiker and Breeze have, resulting in total blindness.

I laughed at your description of Stella on the little dogs. Just like our Azule who is deaf. Growl all ya want, she can't hear ya!