Ay, Chihuahua: Making room for new family pet

“Suzi” is adjusting well to her new life as a pet in the Payne household, except when the Dyson comes out.



Here are some tips from iVillage.com on how to acclimate a 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. While a pet acclimates to its new space, place its bed and bowls in similar location to where they were in its former home.

• When introducing a dog to a person it has not previously met, place the animal in a sit/stay position and ask the person to allow your dog to sniff them prior to being petted. Ask the person to avoid direct eye contact with the dog and speak in a positive, pleasant voice when addressing the dog. If possible, have the person reward the animal with its favorite treat.

• If your pet is having a problem barking/meowing excessively, confine it 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 new family 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 its new home or engages in destructive behavior.

I broke one of the cardinal rules of marriage. Don’t get a new pet while your spouse is 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 Mahal of playhouses they had just erected in their backyard, when through the open gate walked this little doggie.

It looked friendly, but nervous, as most Chihuahuas do. Its big, helpless, dark eyes had me at “hello.”

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 the dog’s license.

It didn’t take long to track down the owner, but it was enough time for the kids and me to already feel a little attached to the dog.

My daughter, Mini Me, accompanied me on our trip to the owner’s. Apparently, the little dog hadn’t been on the lam 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. “Do you want it?” she asked.

Mini Me and I chimed in unison, “Yes!”

No sooner did the reply come out of my mouth did I realize my husband, 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, bed, 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 at the airport, Suzi in tow, the first thing he asked was, “Whose dog is this?”

“It’s ours!” the kids intoned.

“No really,” he asked, “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.


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