This Rescue Attempt Has Gone To The Dogs

, , , , , | Friendly | May 9, 2019

Many small dogs are very territorial; Chihuahuas are notorious for this and for being extremely loyal to only one person. My dad grew up around lots of animals, so between his training and the even temper of our Chihuahua, I was under the impression that they were usually sweet. I was jolted into reality when some friends came to stay with us and had to bring their Chihuahua with them.

To start with, our dog was a strictly indoor dog, who, despite chewing through leashes and barking when people came to the door, would never bite and would always lay down to get a belly rub. Their dog was a strictly outdoor pet that had to be tethered to a secure point with a chain. In the three days they were there, I don’t think he ever stopped barking. He ran back and forth in the same half-circle so much that there was no longer grass there, and he snarled and lunged if anyone besides one of the daughters or occasionally the mom got within three feet of him.

One day my dad came home and saw that the dog had run in a circle around the sprinkler he was chained to, catching the chain in a way that left him with his head about an inch from the ground and unable to move anywhere. My dad thought about leaving him like that but knew he couldn’t, so he started thinking of ways to unhook the chain. Now, anyone who’s worked with animals — or even watched a nature documentary — knows that, when in a desperate situation, many aggressive animals will calm down long enough to accept help, so my dad started approaching slowly and low to the ground, making calming noises. The dog seemed to relax for a second, but when my dad was about six inches away, the dog snarled and almost bit him. My dad jumped back quickly to avoid the small but sharp teeth that Chihuahuas have.

He thought about what to do again and walked into the garage to grab some supplies. He came out with a broom and a long pole. I was about seven years old, but I will never forget the image of my strong, 6’3″ father shoving a broom in a two-pound dog’s face, using a pole to unhook his chain, and running away as soon as the dog was loose enough to stand up straight. It’s pretty funny in hindsight, but it was scary to little me in the moment, and I now know to be much more cautious with dogs, even small ones.

For the record, the dog was fine afterward.

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