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Pretty Baby.


How One Small Dog Made A Mighty Big Impression.


L –by Anna Cooke


Life has a strange way of twisting things around, to try and make sense of an otherwise senseless world. How else does one explain the quest for a new dresser turning into an acqui- sition of a new dog? To some lucky couples, no further expla- nation is needed other than a knowing look or a nod. And for one little Chihuahua, it would prove to be a new beginning on several levels.


Unbeknownst to Lynne, their world of dogs was about to


change forever as she pulled up to a house, prepared only to purchase the advertised dresser she was looking for. Once inside the home, Lynne’s focus quickly turned to the sounds of a bark- ing dog she could not see. When she inquired about the dog, asking if she could meet him, the homeowner responded, “He’s not very friendly. So, I’m taking him to the shelter tomorrow morning.” The dog was part of the unwanted baggage, left over from


the woman’s recent divorce. Having lived in a crate most of his young life, without the opportunity to socialize with humans or other animals, the Chihuahua, named Baby, was one very aggressive little dog. The woman didn’t want any more to do with this dog than she did with her ex. Lynne knew Baby didn't stand a chance at the local shel- ter either. So, she offered every last dollar she had in her wallet and pockets to take the dog off the woman’s hands. After calling her


Baby and his best friend Oreo, a dog that the Tonte’s fostered during his human’s deployment overseas.


husband and giving him a ‘heads up’ that she was bringing a new dog


home, Lynne began formulating a plan to gradually socialize the dog. His first introduction to the Tonte canine family included attacking Spunky, which promptly relegated Baby to timeouts in the family loft upstairs. Within three days, Baby had been neutered, the first step to his re-education. Lynne did plenty of research on Chihuahuas and found out that without proper socialization, they grow more aggressive toward other dogs, strangers and children. As with most dogs, the more they are around people and not left alone, the more comfortable they will feel with others. With any breed, temperament can be altered by the environment in which the dog is brought up. A Chihuahua’s temperament requires additional care to make sure that the dog grows to become a well-behaved member of the family. Anyone who has been around a Chihuahua knows that


Lynne lived in Chesapeake, Virginia with her husband Fred,


whose career often kept him on the road. To keep her company, they shared their home with Spike, a Newfie Labrador mix; Bubba, a Doberman; Gretchen a German Shepherd Dog; and Spunky, a Beagle. Lynne would call Spunky her transitional dog, in preparation for what was about to be the couple’s intro- duction to their first small dog.


30 THE NEW BARKER


their smallness does not detract from their quick and eager per- sonalities. They live much larger than their size and Baby was no exception to that rule. Lynne gradually introduced Baby to other dogs outside


their home. He loved to run around at the informal neighbor- hood dog park. Lynne was consistent with Baby’s training and socialization, taking him to the park every day. It took two months to transform him from an insecure, nervous and frightened dog to a real social charmer.


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