Chiquita and Chiya!

Last weekend Aaron and I visited my parents and I got my puppy fix satisfied in the form of Chiquita and Chiya. Being the lovey dog she is, Chiquita believes that no guest should sleep alone or wander the house unescorted.

I love it when she shows me her beautiful feathered ears.
“Excuse me, but do you have any food to share? No? How disappointing…”
Chiquita did this habit with her previous owner too and we’re not sure why. I think it’s cute.
It’s a hard life being a spoiled Fur Person.
Those ears! That face!
Here you can see Chiquita’s tail in action. I just called her a pretty girl and she was thrilled about it.

Meeting Lakota

Two weeks ago, I met my dear friend Evelyn’s foster dog, Lakota, during our monthly Game Night. (Sorry – I meant to get this post up earlier but grad school got in the way!) I don’t have a ton of experience with German Shepherds but I think that Lakota is a rather handsome fellow. From what Evelyn told me, he was found in a sad, emaciated state but had been quickly gaining weight in her care. He has also been neutered.

“Good evening! I’m Lakota. Will you please pet me?”

During the course of Game Night, Lakota showed everyone that he was an exceptionally GOOD DOG and very much people-focused. He knows how to “sit” on command and apparently “shake”!

Everyone commented on Lakota’s good manners. Even when there was a lot of food around, he didn’t bed or attempt to counter-surf. He was more interested in receiving pets.

He didn’t bark at all but it was obvious he was happiest sitting beside someone. (Whenever he did, he was quite the gentleman.) Throughout the evening I was rather distracted because I wanted to pet this handsome boy all the time, especially since he kept giving me big sad “PLEASE PET ME” eyes!

How can anyone resist those eyes and that sweet face?

Don’t worry – I petted him plenty, gave him chest and belly rubs (he appears to be a bit ticklish), and can confirm that he is indeed smoochable.

Here, Lakota gave my friend Tom a smooch. In general, Lakota is not an overly licky dog.
BOOP!

Lakota is available for adoption through Austin Pets Alive! You can find more information about him here.

National Hug Your Hound Day

National Hug Your Hound Day was created by the author and canine behaviorist Ami Moore, the “Dog Whisperer of Chicago”. The holiday is observed annually on the second Sunday of September.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Hug Your Hound Day is about “truly observing your dog (from his point of view” in his environment and everyday life”. Like a number of other pet-themed holidays, it focuses on the happiness and health of your pet. Oh yeah, it might also be a perfect excuse to ensure your dog is sufficiently hugged!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Holistic Pet Day

When we humans think about our health, we think of mind, body, and spirit or heart. We strive to be healthy and find fulfillment in our lives. As responsible pet owners, we can extend that kind of thinking to our pets as well. When I say “holistic”, I’m talking about the whole, as in the mind, body, and spirit or heart of your pet.

Holistic health begins with good nutrition, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Is your pet at a healthy weight? Does your pet get enough exercise? Do you think your pet is bored? These are only three questions to consider. As a caring and responsible pet owner, having a healthy and happy pet probably means that you’re happy for your pet too. Everyone wins.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Here are some activities you can do today to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day:

  1. Have an adventure. Take your dog to a new park. Arrange a playdate with a new doggy friend. Bringing your dog to new places, combined with reinforced training, help your dog to be well-socialized and more confident.
  2. Play, play, play. Exercise can be therapeutic for pets and beneficial mentally as well as physically. By regularly playing with your pet, you strengthen pet-owner bonds, let your pet hone skills (fetching, tracking, pouncing, hunting, etc.), and reduce stress.
  3. Enrichment. Mixing things up a bit and encouraging pets to use their minds as well as their paws and noses can help pets, especially indoor ones, stave off boredom. Consider these ideas: food-dispensing puzzle toys; sensory enrichment (i.e. window perch for birdwatching, pet-directed videos); climbing posts, trees, and shelves for cats; novel objects like boxes, paper bags, pop-up tunnels, and bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs. Seriously!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day! While I may have cats currently, I am in fact an equal opportunity pet enthusiast. For many years my family had Miniature Schnauzers and I still harbor an enormous soft spot for that breed. Dogs do so much for their humans, so it is only natural that we take some time today (and every day!) to celebrate and love our canine companions.

My parents now have two rescue dogs: Chiquita (aka Chica and Pretty Girl), a Kooikerhondje, and Chiya, a Tibetan Spaniel.

Look how cute they are! Chica is an extraordinarily good girl with great manners and an earnest, loving personality. Chiya is a sassy little diva. Both are highly snuggleable, as I can attest.

In addition to their two cats, my Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Jan have an unlikely trio of rescues: a Border Collie (Legend), a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix (Storm), and a Great Pyrenees (Kuma).

Legend is…enthusiastic to say the least. Who could resist that face?

Storm is a big, lovable galoot. His tail can clear a coffee table in one swipe. He thinks he’s Chiya’s size, which leads to hilarity.

Kuma (Japanese for “bear”) looks like a canine polar bear! Check out that fluff!

Do you have dogs? What do you love about them? Please share in the comments!

Puppy Fix

While I have three cats, I also love dogs. Growing up, the family pets were Miniature Schnauzers. For a several years, Boudicca and (the late) Nala grew from kittenhood to adult cathood and shared living space with our last two Schnauzers, Rabita and Dottie. These two dogs taught Boudicca how to employ the famous Schnauzer Mind Meld (“you will give me the delicious morsel in your hand”).

Rabita and Dottie have since passed over the Rainbow Bridge, having lived to ripe old ages of 17 and 15, respectively. My parents now have two very different rescue dogs, a Tibetan Spaniel and a Kooikerhondje. The former was originally named Holly but was quickly renamed Chiya (Puerto Rican Spanish slang for “crier” due to her distinctive shrill bark). Here she is (believe it or not, she does have a sassy plume of a tail):

The Kooikerhondje’s given name is Chiquita, often shortened to Chica. I’ve been known to refer to the pups collectively as the ChiChis. Chica also responds to Pretty Girl (to which she will wag her tail and look quite pleased with herself) and, among other nicknames, Kida or Kidagakash (a name I’ve appropriated from the heroine of the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire). Here she is being absolutely cute:

Aren’t they adorable? Whenever I visit my parents, I get my puppy fix and love on these two.