About a week ago we made the tough decision (confession: the decision wasn't that tough) to get rid of our chihuahua. Jay and I had grown tired of Sadie long ago but had held on to her because the boy liked her. (The girl has always been indifferent at best.) Finally though, after having to pick up chihuahua crap one too many times, the boy gave up. I think his exact words were, "Why do I do this?! That dog isn't even nice to me!" Of course he was right, the dog wasn't that nice to him. In fact, the cruel irony of it was that the only one the dog liked was me. So this really was a losing situation for all involved-I didn't want her around me but because she wanted to be around only me, she was pretty much starved for affection. (Well, for a chihuahua.)
To those of you who've never owned a chihuahua it may seem as if I'm being cruel, which is why I'm taking a few moments out of my time to share with you some tidbits that I had to learn the hard way.
*Chihuahuas tend to latch on to one person. In this situation that person was me. When we first got Sadie six years ago this wasn't much of a problem, but as life got more hectic spending time with her just started to feel like work. It was as if I had a third child. If I sat down, she jumped in my lap. If I walked around the house, she followed me. If I went in the bathroom, she sat by the door. This went on for six years. I know you're thinking that she just loved me, but it wasn't that. It was more like she was forcing me to love her. Which brings me to my next point:
*Chihuahuas have a strong sense of entitlement. They assume that no matter what they do, it's going to be okay with you. And if it's not, screw you, you better get used to it. There were numerous times that Sadie would jump in my lap and I'd push her away only to have her jump back up not ten seconds later. There's a woman in my neighborhood who has two chihuahuas and when I was explaining this to her I ended my statement with the phrase, "Chihuahuas are just so dumb." She looked at me and said, "No, they aren't dumb at all. Just really disobedient." Well, there you go. (For the record, this woman loves these dogs and says she'll never own another breed. Clearly she's off her rocker.)
*Chihuahuas are notoriously hard to housebreak. After six years, Sadie still never went one full week without pooping in the house, despite our best efforts to train her. If she needed to poop, she didn't let the minor fact that she wasn't outside stop her. She would poop wherever she was. In the kitchen, underneath the dinner table, right in front of me as I sat on the couch, etc. What made matters worse was that she just didn't care. Chihuahuas, unlike other dogs, aren't eager to please their owners. We'd be cleaning up after her and she'd be dancing around us wagging her tail. Her lack of shame always really bugged me.
On the off chance that you guys don't believe me and think that I just had a defective chihuahua or that I didn't devote enough time to training her, let me assure you that in the years that I owned Sadie I spoke to a lot of other chihuahua owners and the general consensus was the same.
My best friend, Dawn, had to put her chihuahua to sleep last year, after something like fifteen years of servitude. After a short period of grief she soon realized how much better her life was. It wasn't long before she was bragging about NOT having to pick up poop. (I have to admit that I was kind of jealous of her at this point. Misery loves company.) When I told her that we were looking for a home for Sadie, she was definitely excited for me, saying, "Your quality of life is about to greatly improve." She also admitted that even though her dog has been gone for over a year, whenever she sees something black or brown on the floor, maybe a Lego or other small toy, her first reaction is to assume it's dog poop.
In writing about all of this, I'm not saying that chihuahuas are bad pets for everyone. I know a lot of happy chihuahua owners. That woman I mentioned earlier? She's older and her husband has to travel a lot for work, so I think she probably likes the neediness of chihuahuas and doesn't mind them following her around all day. But I think that chihuahuas aren't the best pet choice for most families.
As for Sadie, Jay wasted no time finding her a home. Within a day of Monty declaring he had had enough, Jay talked to someone through work who had owned a chihuahua before and was looking to own one again. In my mind this was the perfect person for Sadie to go to-someone who knew what chihuahuas were like but yet wanted one anyway. (As much as we were all sick of Sadie, we weren't going to let her go with just anyone. We wanted to make sure she'd be loved.) I sent her this picture to seal the deal:Last I heard, Sadie was snuggled in the lap of her new mommy.