Chihuahua: My other underdog

It amuses me that people are frequently more horrified that I own a Chihuahua than that I own a pit bull.

Vicious, yappy, ankle-biter. Worthless, not even a dog.

Come on, people. Let people like what they like.

I get a kick out of her.

I am not sure when I started wanting a Chihuahua of my own, but it might have started with the one I saw on the Appalachian Trail on Peter’s Mountain. He was a cool dog, and the idea of a tiny, portable hiking dog appealed to me.

It’s hard to find a Chi in the shelters around here. While they’re being killed left and right in the shelters in California and the Southwest, in the Northeast, little dogs are a hot commodity, and often don’t even make it onto the shelter’s adoption page.

I had a friend tag me on this shelter’s facebook post, and showed up the next morning with my other dogs in tow to meet her.

Potato Chip. She’d been seized by police along with her housemate after the owner was taken to prison on murder charges. The dogs had been left alone with only potato chips and crackers to eat.

Little Potato Chip was quiet, not-fearful, and tolerant of being touched. She was scared out of her gourd, too. She met my big dogs without worry, and they were fine with her.

By the time I filled out my application for her, there were several more people at the shelter to look at her.

Happily my application checked out, and I was able to adopt her a week or so later.

I renamed her Tweak.

She’s a hoot.

She’s aloof with strangers. She is absolutely yappy. She plays tug like a monster, chases squirrels, chews bones. She wears her tutu and her pink party dress with attitude.

She climbs mountains like a boss.

This was the last rock scramble up Mt. Killington in Vermont. Up above 4000 feet. Up above treeline. She hiked the whole thing by herself.

(It was really freaking cold on top.)

She is a great dog in all the ways my “real” dogs are great dogs. She’s fun. She’s feisty. She is a great cuddler, and I enjoy having a lapdog who doesn’t smash me.

But people look at her or hear about her and make all kinds of assumptions about her because of her breed.

Just as my pit bull has yet to eat a baby, my Chihuahua has never bitten anyone’s ankle. She’s never bitten anybody. I’ve yet to step on her and break her (though I did sit on her once).

She’s a lot of fun, despite her breed’s reputation.

Despite the stereotypes.