Friday, September 2, 2011

Little Dog Blues

Did you know that dogs are dogs? Big dogs can be sweet and gentle yet barky. Little dogs can be feisty and fun and quiet. What you see depends on the breed. Depends on the dog herself. Primarily and completely depends on her training.

I'm a trainer because I genuinely love every dog I meet. My husband says I'm an addict, and I guess that's true. A dog and I will see each other across a crowded street and wag our tails the entire time until we can finally meet. I'm drawn to a dog's particular personality--and yes, even his issues; I don't care what SIZE he is! I just love them all.

I really don't want to hear one more time from anyone, "I'm a big dog person." Please? First of all, no one ever seems to say, "I'm a little dog person." What species is a little dog but a dog? They come with the same equipment as large dogs and can be all they can be. And there are perks. (I'll get to that in a moment.)

Westies are my breed, always have been. I was drawn to them since an early age. They're not toy dogs, but they're not large. Accidentally I now live with two Chihuahuas, and our new puppy is a Papillon because her size suits the other dogs--and the space we have left (we have three cats, too). You can believe me when I say they do all the same things Labs do. No, they are NOT barky. ("Yappy" is what "big dog" people call them.) I TRAIN my little dogs, which, sadly, a lot of people who have them don't do enough of. If you want to call yourself a "trained dog person," I'm with you. Little, medium, big--training is required. Just because you can pick up the dog doesn't mean she doesn't need manners like every other dog.

Now for the plusses!
Portability: traveling anywhere is EASY, even on a plane if need be.
Money: Chihuahuas eat only a half cup of food a day and require MUCH less medication if something is needed. Even toys and bones are cheaper.
Hair: imagine how little shedding a toy dog can do, if any.
Walking: though many tiny dogs can walk for miles and love to, most are happy with jaunts around the neighborhood.
Cats: most small dogs do well with cats since everyone is the same size.
Love: small dogs make good lap dogs. Try three at once!

Currently at the rescue I work with, Forte Animal Rescue, we have three Malteses and three Chihuahua mixes out of about fifteen dogs. And every week at adoptions they seem to attract the least attention. The Malteses are new, but the Chis have been with us for three months--and NONE of them has any issues! People want that big guy they grew up--whether a Husky fits their grown-up lifestyle or not.

Help me stamp out Little Dog Prejudice. We're not all Paris Hilton. Most important, choose the dog that suits your lifestyle.