Since when did I start liking little bitty dogs? When I brought home this little bit of attitude last weekend. She was surrendered as "Demi" but none of us liked that name. We were joking around at the shelter when she came in, that we didn't want to give her a foo-foo name, like FiFi or Princess or Teensy or anything obvious like that, but that she should have a tough name. I made a wise-crack about calling her Butchy Sue and now the shelter staff want that to be her official name. Um...no. But it was good for lots of laughs.
She is a toy fox terrier/chihuahua "designer dog" who was dropped off by a rather impatient young woman who claimed to be doing it for her "friend". We see this a lot at the shelter - people buy pets on an impulse, get them home and are shocked to learn they have to do things like TRAIN THEM and PAY ATTENTION TO THEM and HOUSEBREAK THEM. Imagine the nerve of these animals! So they bring them to shelters and unload the problems on someone else (better than dumping them in the country, I guess). Unfortunately, they've usually had the cat/dog long enough for the problem to become entrenched and harder to eliminate. And many times, they're not cute little babies anymore, but are gawky and wild teenagers and so take longer to adopt.
Fortunately this girl realized her mistake while this little pup is still young enough to retrain. We were told that this puppy was being picked on by the owner's other dogs. There is no evidence of that, and in fact, she really likes Chloe, Abbie and the kittens and shows appropriate submissive behavior and no fear.
I did not volunteer to foster her - Mr. C and I are both ready for a break. I've barely had time to take care of the daily responsibilities over the past few months and was looking forward to catching up with knitting and blogging and visiting all of you at your blogs. And we still have Kona and Java looking for homes. And Chloe and Abbie are recovering from some kind of bug that resulted in a festival of expelled body fluids over last weekend. But no one else had room for a foster, and Mr. C and I have just signed on to head the new foster program at the shelter, and she was just so darned cute, so what's an animal lover to do?
She was so very well behaved in her little carrier while she waited for me to take her home, and on the ride home, and getting set up in her larger crate in the foster/guest room. She used her potty pad very nicely and walked better on her leash than either of our big dogs. We got her all settled in with a cushy bed and chew bones and stuffed toys and some mellow indie-rock on the radio with 3 lively and friendly kittens to keep her company. And then we left the room to go make dinner. And OMG!!! we quickly found out why an expensive purse-pup was dropped off at an animal shelter. Pupzilla!!!
The ear-piercing yelps and incessant, maniacal barking gave us the first clue. The second clue was in the form of the shredded and soiled contents of the crate. The traumatized kittens will need years of therapy, I predict, as they were huddled together behind the stack of pillows on the bed.
The problem was resolved quickly when Mr. C moved her to his office, along with the kittens. He comes and goes on a regular basis, so she has ample opportunities to learn that even if people leave, they come back. After one week, she can be left totally alone for hours at a stretch (with the kittens in the other room and Mr. C gone) and keep herself calm and occupied. If anyone is wondering, we followed many of the dog whisperer's guidelines, including taking her on the twice daily "pack walks" with the big dogs, ignoring her temper tantrums, and taking her out of her kennel for lots of attention only when she is in a calm state of mind.
She is very tiny and it is hilarious to see her on the walks. Chloe and Abbie will let her walk at the head of the group after a bit and she actually prances like she's the pup in charge. We've decided to call her "Scout" because the name just fits her. She's incredibly intelligent, which has surprised me. At this age (10 weeks), none of other puppies (except the brilliant Griff) has caught on as quickly as she does. She's way far along in her house-training, almost always using her potty pad when she is out in the play yard or on the porch at home.
We'll probably only have Scout for another 2-3 weeks, as there is already a list of potential adopters for her after she's spayed. But even in that short time, I can see that she'll have us all wrapped around those tiny little paws.