Hee-ere’s Pepé

December 17, 2010

animals, cats, chihuahua, Christmas, dogs, pet adoption

A tiny dog with a gi-normous personality that fills the room.

Pepé is our new dog. He is an almost-2 year-old Chihuahua/miniature dachsund mix. He’s had a full life for such a young little dog. He arrived on Ema’s doorstep the week before Memorial Day in 2009. She took him to Divide Creek Animal Hospital to see if anyone claimed him. No one did so she adopted him. He’s been living with her, plus Hailey and Bodi, two 11-year old huskies Koho and Isis, and two cats, for the past year and a half.

Pepé always got along really well with Zeus and Venus. She mothered him. This past September, Pepé started having behavioral problems. He chased cars on walks. He nipped at the kids. He chased the cats. He barked at and attacked the vacuum cleaner. So he came to live with us for a few weeks to work on training and exercise. He made a lot of progress but he still chased cars and cats and vacuum cleaners. Ema and I decided we would “dog share”. Pepé went back and forth between our homes.

When Pepé was with us he got two walks a day and constant training to deal with his bad behaviors so he made progress. When he went back to Ema’s he reverted to attention-seeking behaviors. A couple times when I was visiting I watched him use barking and excited behavior to instigate chaos with Koho and Isis and the kids.

In the meantime, we noticed Zeus missed Pepé when he went back to Ema’s house. After Venus died, every evening at 6:00, Zeus howled and whined for about an hour. This went on for months, even when Pepé was staying with us, although the crying sessions didn’t last as long. Funny little Pepé cocked his head at Zeus, then dragged out toys and tossed them around the room until Zeus started playing.

Zeus was definitely lonely and missed Venus. After she died we wanted to adopt another dog. Zeus turned ten on November 1. After everything we had gone through with Venus, a rescue dog seemed out-of-the-question. We couldn’t put Zeus through adjusting to another dog’s issues. We also couldn’t bring an unstable dog into our neighborhood where the same negative energy that drove Venus insane still exists. A puppy seemed like the only option. Yet a puppy seemed like too much for Zeus to deal with. It’s not easy to make a puppy understand she can’t crawl all over the big dog and chew on his satellite dish ears. We couldn’t decide what to do so we did nothing. The Sunday before Thanksgiving Pepé came to stay with us for more training. Zeus reacted with excitement. He was obviously delighted to see him. That night instead of howling he played with Pepé.

The answer was right under our noses – Pepé. He and Zeus get along great. He is submissive to Zeus. He loves him and respects him. Zeus finds Pepé amusing and loves to play with him. They share the most important thing – trust.

On Thanksgiving Day, we talked it over with Ema. She said, “Pepé is much calmer and well-behaved at your house. And there’s a lot less chaos at my house when he’s not there. This way the kids and I still get to see him all the time so we’re not really giving him up.”

“You get to see him at his best,” I said. “And you don’t have to deal with his bad behaviors anymore.”

So Pepé stayed. He’s the greatest little dog. Smart, athletic – and he barks – which I love about him. We took him cross country skiing on the West Elk Trails on Sunday – his first time ever. I brought a baby sling to carry him if he got tired or cold but he insisted on hiking the ski trails. He kept up with Zeus and me (on skis) for two hours. When he grows up he wants to be a sled dog.

We all adore Pepé – especially Zeus. Even the kitties are warming up to him.

Even though we didn’t get to adopt a rescue dog, we did adopt a rescue cat. Here is Miss Fiona.

She’s a YA-DLH-SPF – young adult domestic long-haired spayed female. We adopted her from the Rifle Animal Shelter. When I walked in the kitten room she sat up immediately from her spot on top of cabinet and reached out a paw to me. Ten minutes later we were on our way home. She’s talkative, spunky, and playfully mischievous.

When we adopted Zeus in 2000, we had 3 kittens and a puppy at Christmas. It was way too much fun.

This year we have Pepé and Fiona. They light up the house and our lives.

Light up your life. Consider adopting a cat or kitten, or dog or puppy this holiday season.

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