Sunday, May 30, 2010

¡Ay Chihuahua! Making room for new family pet

As seen in the Home and Garden section of The Daily Sentinel, May29, 2010

I broke one of the cardinal rules of marriage. Don’t get a new pet while your spouse it out of town.
But this little Chihuahua-Mini Pincher literally walked right into my life.
I was at a friend’s house checking out the Taj Majal of playhouses they had just erected in their backyard, when in through the open gate walked this little doggie. She looked friendly, but nervous as most Chihuahuas do.
My friend didn’t want a thing to do with it because dogs give her the sneezes. So I scooped it up and did a quick casing of the neighborhood to see if I could find the owner.
When that effort became fruitless, I took it back to my house and called the number for animal services on its license.
The time it took to track down the owner was short, but it was enough time for the kids and I to already feel a little attached to it. Its big, helpless, dark eyes had me at “hello.”
Mini Me accompanied me on our trip back to the owner’s. Apparently, it hadn’t been on the lamb for long, the owner said it had just eaten dinner and must have squeezed through the fence. Then she told me that she was actually just caring for the dog for a friend until she could find it a good home. Then she said, “Do you want it?”
Mini Me and I chimed in unison, “Yes!”
No sooner did the reply come out of my mouth did I realize that Secret Agent Man wasn’t going to be too keen on this. But you know the old adage, “Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission.”
The doggie’s caretaker told me that “Suzi” is already house-trained, spayed, and vaccinated. She also came with food, toys, a bed, a kennel, and clothes.
The kids and I kept the new addition to our family a secret from Secret Agent Man until he came home the next night.
When we picked him up the airport with Suzi in tow, the first thing he said was, “Whose dog is this?”
The kids intoned, “It’s ours!”
“No really,” he said, “who does it belong to?”
And so the love story began. We’ve had little Suzi for over two weeks now and she has adjusted well to Secret Agent Man, the kids, and our other dog. But she still needs to make nice with the Dyson. In time I’m sure they’ll get along too.

Tips from on how to acclimate your new pet to its new life and home
As soon as you get it home, return your pet to its daily feeding and exercise schedule. Place their bed and bowls in similar location to their former home, while they acclimate to their new space.
When introducing your pet to new humans, place the animal in a sit/stay position and ask the human allow your dog to sniff them prior to being petted. Ask them to avoid direct eye contact and speak in a positive, pleasant voice when addressing the dog. If possible, have them reward the animal with its favorite treat.
If your pet is having a problem barking/meowing excessively, confine your pet to a crate or room. The bedroom is usually best and will be most comforting to the animal.
Take a few days off work to pay extra attention to your pet. It will adjust more quickly and feel comfortable in its new home.
Allow your pet to exercise and eliminate before you leave home. Create a soothing atmosphere. Dim the lights, put on soft music and leave out your pet's favorite toy. Never make a big deal about going out.
Call an animal behavior specialist if your pet seems to be having a problem adjusting to their new home or engages in destructive behavior.


  1. Suzi sounds just as priceless as Ty and Sierra's adopted dog, Mac! He's a friendly, obedient, house trained Yorkie...and the only dog I've ever met that doesn't lick people! SCORE!

  2. "I broke one of the cardinal rules of marriage."

    NOOO! What hope is there for the rest of us?

  3. Ah, but then it was all happiness and joy and family.
    And that's what it is all about.

  4. I love badbanana too Annie!

    (Ok, I'm leaving now)

  5. Here you are sharing a sweet story of adopting a dog. When I just posted our families story of giving ours up.

    Can only hope that ours is adopted by a loving family!

  6. Annie,

    If your spouse comes home and asks you to go on a camping trip with your new family!! :-)

  7. Love the new Payne family member.... DANG CUTE!

  8. Awww so cute. Sassy's little squirt is engraved into our hearts, too. Love that little stinker.

  9. super happy girl- i started reading badbanana because of you, did you know that?

    jen- fo sho! he's taking me camping in a couple weeks. he says its a family reunion. pray for me.


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