Yip the Agility Chihuahua?

Inspired by the video above in which Mixy the Chihuahua demonstrates agility, Seth is working with a trainer to teach Yippee some of the same things. Both boy and dog are over the moon. Turns out Yippee is super smart and he loves being challenged this way.

Today Yippee learned to spin. And spin. And spin (among other things). It’s only his second week and he’s learned so much. Seth has too.

Eventually, we plan on building jumps and ramps etc. as part of Seth’s homeschool curriculum. I think our boys are going to have a very good year.

Chewy’s Revenge

Before Seth had Yippee, there was Chewy. Chewy is the Webkin stuffed Chihuahua he carried around and slept with and placed all his wishing-hoping-longing dreams of having a Chihuahua on for years.

Chewy got seriously kicked to the curb (or the bottom of the stuffed animal bin) as soon as Yippee arrived. It was for his own protection, because puppies chew. Yip is now two years old, and for for some reason Chewy has resurfaced this week. Chewy has been “talking” to Yippee through Seth’s voice. It’s not annoying in the least.

Anyway, yesterday..Seth begged me to take a picture of Yippee and Chewy together. My camera was within reach and since I didn’t have to go downstairs to get it, I agreed. I went in, barely looked, snapped the photo. Seth was happy. The end.

It wasn’t until today that I actually looked at the picture.

Er.

Is it just me, or…? Never mind. Talk amongst yourselves.

I’m going to quietly tip-toe out of this post.

Treat Him Like a Rottweiler

We were having a problem with Jingle. She’d started to become aggressive with other dogs when we were out on walks. She used to love every dog in the neighborhood. Now she’s snarling at them, showing her teeth, the second they start to sniff. We deduced it had something to do with Yippee the Chihuahua. Was she protecting him? He’s full of bravado but he’s less than ten pounds. Does she think he’s in danger?

We started walking them separately, but Jingle continued snapping at other dogs she used to be thrilled to see.

I took her out in the back yard one morning to do her business, and as I watched her sniff around, I thought, “I wish I could get inside her head. I wish I knew what was upsetting her. I wish I could talk to some kind of dog whisperer.”

While were were out, while I was having this wishful thinking about Jingle, someone was commenting on my blog. Someone who had interviewed us back in July for a news station in Denver. Someone who is a pet intuitive, though I didn’t know she was a pet communicator ’til I came inside and clicked on her link!

I made an appointment for the following week.

Before I could keep it, the very next day, a neighbor was over and her sister happened to be in town, and the sister used to be a dog trainer. She gave me a lot of insight into what was going on.

She believed the problem behind Jingle was Yippee. And the problem behind Yippee, was me.

While out on walks, Yippee barks and lunges and it’s really quite ridiculous, since he’s afraid of his own shadow. I don’t take it seriously and don’t correct him, because I can control his leash with one finger, and just yank him back. The thing is, Jingle does take him seriously, and if he’s misbehaving, and he isn’t being corrected, then in her mind, he’s the boss. He’s the alpha. And even if she really wants to listen to me, she can’t, because in a pack, you listen to the Alpha. So Yippee has all this fear, and barks and lunges at the other dogs, and Jingle follows suit. And now she’s actually taken on the fear and the behavior. Our neighbor’s sister said we need to treat Yippee the same as we would if he were a Rottweiler.

Who, me?

Next, it was time to talk to Marianne, the pet intuitive. If you don’t believe in things like intuition or psychic abilities feel free to run along. I’ve personally had experiences which lead me to believe there is a lot more going on in the Universe than what we understand with our five senses, so I am open to it.

This is how it works. You send her pics of the pets and she communicates with them and asks them questions and also tells them things we want them to know. Whether it would turn out to be legit or not, it was not too expensive, so we thought it would be worth it to try.

Jingle:
She said Jingle is exasperated with Yippee, appalled by his bad manners and needs regular breaks from him. I can’t imagine why?


She said Jingle is overwhelmed and confused with the Yippee situation and also with her role as a service dog as Riley becomes more and more independent. We have not been taking her out in public as much because Riley has not needed her as much and she doesn’t understand why she’s being left behind.

Yippee: She said Yippee truly believes in his heart, he and Seth are brothers.

Like a cocky (yet inwardly insecure) frat boy, he is happily running the show, and could benefit from some time in training, learning manners, tricks, agility, etc. to challenge him and allow him to use his brilliant mind for good and not evil.

Sam: 

Sam is our gray cat, and as you can see he has an eating disorder. He eats anything and everything. He ate my curtains. He eats the rubber pad underneath the treadmill. He eats paper bags. He eats plants. He eats cardboard boxes. He eats shoe laces. He chews stuffed animals. We got him and our calico at a shelter as kittens and believe he was probably weaned too soon.

Sam also wants to go out. He tries to slip out the front door all the time. We made the decision to have Sam and his sister Tanya strictly “indoor” a fear based decision, after our beloved cat Crystal was mangled in our back yard. Then we had them de-clawed because they were destroying all the woodwork in the house. In hindsight, I would risk it and let them be outside, and not de-claw. So now, the dilemma, let Sam out? Without his front claws? It would help his restlessness (and his girth). Some of our neighbors’ cats are outdoor and de-clawed. They tell me cats use their back claws for fighting and the front ones don’t matter so much.

So I asked the intuitive this: Is it worth it to Sam, to take the risk and have the freedom? She answered for him, “Yes.”  (I had only sent a face shot to her, so she hadn’t even seen his impressive derriere).

Tanya:

Tanya is our chronically pissed off cat. She’s the one who chased the stray kitten under Seth’s box spring and would not let it out. She terrorized the poor thing. She struts around the house, flicking her tail like she’s just so irritated. She is LOUD. Demanding. Strikingly beautiful. Marianne said Tanya feels like the leftover pet. The one we pay attention to last. She had Riley all to herself before Jingle and now she’s an afterthought. She said she doesn’t like having to sleep downstairs in the basement at night (we make her because she wakes up at the crack of dawn meowing and we were losing too many hours of sleep). Since talking with Marianne, we’ve been trying to give her more attention and it seems to be helping. We typically had to chase her around the house to get her in the basement and the past few nights she’s been walking downstairs voluntarily.

So that’s it in a nutshell. Lots to think about.

Overwhelmed? Me too. When you clump it all together like that, it’s a lot. But in the course of a day, two happy dogs keep two happy kids company. Two cats lounge lazily in sunbeams. It isn’t as bad as it seems. Yippee is taking direction, being forced to sit and mind, rather than bark at passersby. Jingle is getting breaks, and eating separatly from the “Rottweiler.” We still have a lot of work to do, and we’ll never get it all done. Everyone’s needs won’t always be met. Human needs will always come first, but we’ll do our best to make the critters happy.

We love our animals.

Pray for us.

Amen.

Yippee’s Photo Shoot

Why yes! My children did watch ET for the first time recently. How did you know?

This is actually the first time Seth has commissioned me to write a blog post. I have not figured out what my fee will be, but he’s gonna pay.

‘Cause I for one, have way more important things to do than sit around taking pictures of Chihuahuas all day. I don’t even like Chihuahuas.

Not even a little.

They’re not even cute.

The boy is lucky his mama has mad editing skilz. Looky here how I got rid of Yippe’s little red eye problem below. Voila!

I think Seth owes me about 100 kisses.

Yippee would only be too happy to deliver them.

Happy Birthday to Yip

I’m not one to celebrate the birthdays of our pets.

But my children are. And what the heck. It’s fun posting pics of puppies. Today Mr. Yip is one year old. That’s him above with his litter mates. The baby in the middle with the pink nose. The picture was taken by the breeder we got him from. She made us a whole album.

Aren’t roly polie puppies the best?

Here he is before he got his ears.

Now he’s nine pounds. Large for a Chihuahua, just like we wanted. Something a little hardier, for the boy.

He’s a great little dog. So cuddly and affectionate. Rarely barks. Murder to housebreak though. He’s still not 100% there. We take him out every hour or two, but if we forget, he just lets it fly. I’m so glad we have hardwoods for easy and sanitary clean-up, and not carpets. The one area of carpet we do have, on the stairs….he ruined it anyway…not by peeing but by chewing.  Ah…the price of having a puppy and leaving him unattended for twenty minutes.

We’ve had him for nine months. Seth’s love for him only grows stronger. He picks him up and kisses him on the head a million times a day. Todd loves him too. He gushes over him, presenting him to me for cuteness affirmation before he takes him out at night. After I give the appropriate, “Aw,” they go on their way outside. Riley loves him too. She holds him like a baby and talks sweet to him.

I think he’s okay. For a Chihuahua.

All right, I admit it, I’m crazy about him too.

Happy Birthday Yippee.

I guess I am one to celebrate the birthdays of our pets after all.

Chihuahua Love

Yippeepalooza.

I’m in love with a Chihuahua. You want to make something of it?

It was so unexpected.

He’s just so darned handsome. How’s a girl supposed to resist? All the rumors about his kind have proven to be untrue. He only barks when appropriate…when someone comes to the door, etc. Sure, he isn’t too keen on people who aren’t family. He’s not going to let a stranger pick him up or pet him, but would you? His trust must be earned, but with us… he’s a total snuggle bug.

He loves long walks. Fetch. Standing on his hind legs and spinning in a circle. Wrestling Jingle. French kissing (we’ve all learned the hard way).

Seth has not spent a night without him since September. First thing he does when he enters the house is pick up Yippee and kiss his forehead. They are so close. I’ve read the average lifespan of a male Chihuahua is 14-18 years. He might just define Seth’s entire childhood and be with him into adulthood.

May it be so.

Yippity Snip

This is the face of someone who is about to be neutered. We’ve held off, because the thought of complications, the thought of anything happening to this dog… let’s just say Seth lives for him. It would be bad. I know….it’s silly to worry about it. Dogs get neutered every day. Not a big deal.

But recently young Yip lifted his leg at the corner of my bed. My bellow of “NOOOOOOOOOOOO,” stopped him before he peed, but how many other little marks has be left around when we weren’t looking? And…last night I saw him humping Jingle’s arm. She was just lying on the floor, holding it out for him, ever accommodating. He comes up to her shin, but whatever.

He’s a darling dog. A snuggly little guy, who adores his people, and can’t bear to be out of our sight.

Hopefully he’ll still feel the same way about us after the snip snip.

Wish him luck.

Appreciation Saturday

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While the guy is painting our living room downstairs, Riley, Seth, Jingle, Yippee, the cats, and I are piled into the bedroom. The kids are watching TV while I type away. Seriously, why don’t we do this every day? So cozy and fun! I am in love with technology. How is it I can sit here wireless, writing under a big down comforter? It is still such a miracle to me. How is it we have electricity? Phones? Cell phones? Plumbing? It is all so amazing. Someone figured it all out, and I didn’t have to. I don’t have to do everything! I can just come along and reap the rewards. The Universe is abundant, I tell ‘ya. People who invented these things, wherever you are…I appreciate you. I love brilliant minds. I love learning.

Did you know there is a website called Khan Academy where you can learn just about anything?

I am really loving the whole learning at home thing lately. I admit we did it out of necessity initially, but more and more it makes sense for our family. And cue sunshine and rainbows please….we recently were approved for the Ohio Autism Scholarship for Riley which will allow us to have a tutor come to our home during the week to teach her(at no cost to us). I cannot tell you how much this will help our family. This is the best case scenario. She gets to be home, but we don’t have to bear the full responsibility of teaching her. We don’t have to do everything! This will afford us more one-on-one with Seth, and allow me to get things done around the house while the tutor is here.

I used to joke, “I’d love for her to be homeschooled; I just wish someone else would do it.”

Dreams do come true.

I’ll never forget the relief I felt in her pre-kindergarten year, when the wonderful private teacher we hired said, “I’d like to take care of the educational piece, so you can just be her mom.” She was a special needs parent too, so she knew. For so long I’ve had to be everything. Doctor, advocate, attorney, teacher, nutritionist, coach, you name it. I am feeling sweet relief.

We are finding now that Riley doesn’t have to keep it together 35 hours a week at school, (with homework on top of that) she is much more sociable. She is starting conversations (in small groups). She is joyful. She can follow a conversation through lots of twists and turns. We belong to a co-op which meets on Fridays and has anywhere between 40-60 kids each session. There are very small classes. Each child picks two classes and there is an hour long recess in between where children can eat and play. At first she stuck with her brother like glue but the last couple of weeks she’s been hanging with the girls her age. An outsider looking in would never be able to pick her out of the crowd as “the kid with autism.” She is more relaxed. Part of it has to do with the company.

This is what I’ll tell you about the homeschooled kids we have met.

-They are polite.
-They are kind.
-They do not feel “entitled” and are respectful not just of adults but of other children.
-They are not particularly competitive.
-They are creative.
-They seem to nurture each other.
-They happily eat nutritious food.
-They are accepting.
-They are happy with a big long thick rope, playing tug of war. Piling on. Dragging each other around, all over the gym, for as long as we let them.
-They are enthusiastic learners.

So, it is going well.

And of course, one of the very best things about being home is the ample time the kids get to spend with their animals.

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Some days are more challenging than others, but today is a good day, and it deserves a mention. Good coffee. Good kids. Good dogs. Good computer. Comfy bed.

Date night tonight with Hot Toddy. We’re seeing The King’s Speech.

Life is good, yo.

For real.

Love.

Dogs and Kids

Yippee likes to sleep with his nose in Seth’s armpit.

Eventually he comes up for air.

Little Man loves his dog.

And then, we have the girls.

Jingle was over at her BFF’s the other day,(they like to romp together in our neighbor’s big fenced in yard) and when I went to get her, she was nowhere to be found. I knocked on the door, and the neighbor’s dog was inside. Apparantly she’d barked to come in. We don’t know if she wanted to come in because Jingle left, or if Jingle left because her friend went in. Either way, Jingle found a way to escape the fence and she was outta’ there. It’s a tall fence too. We don’t know how she did it.

I stood in the silent yard, attempting to stay calm, thinking, she’s got her tags on, she’s micro-chipped. Also thinking….how am I going to tell that little girl I can’t find her dog?

And that’s the thing about love isn’t it? If you do it, with all your heart, you risk loss. You are suseptable to being hurt.

I made my way down to the end of our neighbor’s driveway, and there was Jingle, sitting politely on our front steps, as if she was just waiting for me to let her in. She’d been “missing” roughly ten minutes. Good dog!

My children will one day lose their beloved pups. Hopefully a long, long long time from now.


But what they’ll learn, is the love…it will have been worth it.