One of the dogs I was able to get into a foster home yesterday after initially sending her to my vet to be medically checked out and boarded for a couple of days.
"Ginger" is a total delight!
Although I can't claim to be a "Chihuahua" person, per se, we have rescued a number of these frisky little dogs over the years.
Often they can be little terrors when they feel insecure or frightened of people or circumstances they don't know.
But, Chihuahuas can also be adorable and the most devoted little lap dogs when they feel comfortable with someone and their environment.
I didn't know what to expect from Ginger as I was simply told about her when speaking with Sabrina (the New Hope Rescue Coordinator) from the Brooklyn AC&C.
I told Sabrina I had a potentially very good foster home for a small dog and she told me about Ginger.
Ginger was indicated to be 8-years-old and recently arrived at the AC&C after her owner became ill. To everyone's amazement, (especially mine) she was already spayed!
Sabrina described Ginger as being somewhat "nervous" in the shelter and I imagined a snarling, lunging, ferocious looking Chihuahua in a cage. Some of the toughest dogs ever witnessed in shelters have been Chihuahuas (including some of the ones we've taken). However, the most "severely aggressive" dog ever rescued from Animal Control happens to be my own Pomeranian, Chance -- who is now of course, the perfect angel. ;)
I thus warned "Molly," the potential foster to "go very slowly" with the Chihuahua. "The dog will probably be initially terrified and wary of everything. Don't push her. Don't over-handle her. Don't overwhelm her with too much stimulus, activity and too many people. Just let her be. -- Allow Ginger to acclimate at her own pace."
Molly is a young doctor who works in a hospital and lives with her sister on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The young women grew up with dogs, one of whom was a Poodle the family had 17 years. But, how much would they understand Chihuahuas, I wondered?
Although both breeds are small, Chihuahuas tend to be quite different from Poodles. Chihuahuas get cold easily, are usually quite protective and/or possessive of their people and don't usually enjoy long walks (or, at least the Chihuahuas I've fostered over the years weren't into long hikes.)
But, once again, many of my worries were for naught.
Since Molly was working at the hospital yesterday, I met with her sister, Hillary at the vet to pick up Ginger.
When first brought out to us, Ginger was a little scared with her tail between her legs.
But, there was nothing "scary" or threatening about the little dog.
In fact, I felt a huge wave of relief when noting that Ginger was comfortable being petted and even picked up and held.
We took Ginger for a short walk in the heavy mid-day pedestrian traffic of Manhattan's Upper East Side and surprisingly, she was frisky, curious and aware on the walk. Although she didn't pee or poo (which was expected under the unfamiliar circumstances) I was impressed that Ginger was able to hold her own without freaking out.
She was a little trooper!
Ginger is 13 lbs -- a bit chunky for a Chihuahua. It seems not only was she well fed by her former owner, but thankfully well socialized with strangers. If I didn't already have two dogs at home, I would have loved to have taken Ginger myself!
She is so cute and cuddly, she is like a sausage! (I mean that in a good way.)
Hillary too, seemed very happy with Ginger and spoke with her sister enthusiastically on the cell phone.
A few minutes later, I saw Hillary and Ginger off in a cab to go home. Last night I received a call from Molly, her sister to let me know all was going extremely well with the new little foster dog.
Although the young women had questioned "how long" a foster might be until a dog is adopted and I cautiously answered that there are no guarantees, but that most small dogs get adopted within a couple of months, I have a feeling the issue might never come up at all.
Little Ginger is a keeper and I would be surprised if her foster people don't elect to adopt the endearing Chihuahua themselves. -- PCA