Early Success Stories
This is the story of Elvis and his rescue. Elvis is probably about 16 or 17 years old and he was dumped outside the gates of a pound. After the required 8 days waiting period, the local Vet decided he should be put down. Sue, a volunteer, rang us and we took him instead. However, the Vet in his great wisdom decided that this little dog HAD to be neutered before we could pick him up! When I saw Elvis my heart broke.
He could only stand for a few seconds. He was just bones, doubled over with starvation, every disc in his backbone sticking out, the width of his tummy about half an inch through! There was not a hair on his tail - it was just like a black string or a rat's tail! He could not even stand up. On top of that they had desexed him and he was in agony.
Elvis had no teeth and no bone structure left in his bottom jaw. His jaw hangs down limp and useless. I thought he would die that first night. Thanks to my Chihuahua Club friends I found out the name of a product called Nutrigel to give him vitamins and minerals. He was, and is, eating OK by putting his head on the side and scooping up the food with his tongue.
He is so well toilet trained that he hangs on all night! I would take him outside and hold him up so he could relive himself! Six week later and this little scrap of a dog put on some weight. He has a real fighting spirit! He dances under the clothesline as I peg out the clothes! The little rat's tail wags flat out! His glaucoma affected eyes actually sparkle as he writhes that little body in such a happy little dance (is this where they got the name Elvis?!). He is so proud of himself because he can now go to the toilet without being held up! He even lifts his little leg on the tree - very wobbly, but it works! He even tries to eat chicken necks!
I take him as far from the back door as we can go, put him down and wait while he walks the whole way back to the back door, which is probably about 20 paces, but to him it is like 20 miles. He never gives up, bless his dear little heart. Talk about a fighting spirit! The sight of the nail clippers puts him into a frenzy! He growls and 'snaps' both the clippers and my hands, putting up a real fight! That dear little mouth can do no harm except to slobber over everything; he thinks he is biting me!
If one of the other Chihuahuas come anywhere near his food bowl, Elvis goes immediately into attack mode! He has the weirdest little screaming bark you have ever heard. The reaction of the marauding Chihuahua is hilarious. He stops dead in his tracks and starts backing away!! The heartbreaking part is that I know he can never be placed and eventually we will have to see him put to sleep. Who in their right mind would adopt this little scrap?
Do you ever question yourself? Why did I do this for that particularly little lost cause? Was it to give a strong fighting spirit in a little dog a helping hand? Was it for my own gratification to prove that improvement was possible and could be achieved? I really do not know. What I do know is that he broke my heart with sorrow and compassion just thinking of what he had been put through by some very thoughtless person.
In an effort to strengthen Elvis' bones and muscles I put his bed on a step so he has to jump up and onto it, or make him walk across the yard and then jump up two steps to gain access to the inside.
Elvis has been successfully placed with a really wonderful family, where he is loved and cherished as one of the family! He brings so much happiness and joy and is such a happy little dog.
Elvis died about a week ago. He died December 2001. He was adopted by a wonderful family. He spent four months happily - playing. Four months of loving family life. He went to bed and slept permanently in God's hands. He was a seventeen year old little chihuahua with no hope for any future before these wonderful people gave him four months of total love and happiness. Here is the memorial page for Elvis.
We first wrote about Gizmo sometime during 2008, when he was 14 years old. He has since passed on, but he lived on to the grand old age of 20 years and nine months. Gizmo lived on at Chihuehue Rescue Victoria house, a companion of so many other rescue dogs that he has a legacy of his own and is treasured memory for the Bram family. Read more about him in Gizmo's Success Story.
Day 1. Phone call. Home wanted for twelve year old Chihuahua. My immediate thought was "How sad. How could anyone leave their little dog after all those years." It is not my place to judge others, so off we go to meet Susan, Ivan, Chrissy and Phillip, and of course, Chiko. This family are leaving for far away places and feel it is unfair on Chiko to expect him to travel long distances in a confined space for such long periods. You have to understand that Chiko had never been an inside dog, he had the run of a huge suburban block and two main roads (busy ones, at that!), coming onto the verandah at night to eat and sleep.
Mayer had the forethought to take some photographs of a few of the little Chihuahua's we had rescued and placed over the years. This thought proved to be a Godsend when we meet the family. They are all devastated at the prospect of leaving Chiko, but are putting his welfare first - only a very great love will do that sort of thing. The children, in particular, are broken hearted, and the photographs helped reassure them that we would take very good care of Chiko, although we are silently wondering "how?" He is quite obviously a "one family" dog. Nasty baring of teeth and growling at us, while cuddling quite contentedly into the arms of Susan.
Chiko is a tiny little scrap of a dog who weighs roughly 1.5 kilograms when we meet him, extremely agile and wiry. OK we agree to take him and try to find him a new home, although we have our doubts that anyone will adopt him mainly because of his age. His bed and blanket go onto the back seat of the car, and Chiko hops into his bed. He does not move from his bed all the way home, but his huge big worried brown eyes, peering between the bucket seats to watch every move of the steering wheel and me! A glance back to check on him tells us that he is aware that we are taking him away from his home of twelve years, huge big tears are rolling down his chocolate colored cheeks and dropping silently onto his bed. What a beautiful little man he is! As a younger dog he must have been a really handsome specimen of Chihuahua. I can imagine he was deep chocolate in color all over except for his two "dots" for eyebrows, which are pale tan! Years of living outdoors unprotected from the elements has caused his coat across his back to become very dry and sun bleached. Arriving at our home he will not allow us to pick him up, so throw a rug over Chiko and his bed, roll them up into a bundle and carry the silent parcel into the laundry, where he will be locked for the night. Put down water and food, then a lattice board across the door so he will be able to hear and see us as we do our evening chores, lights out and off to bed. Several times I get up through the night to check on Chiko. He sits silently, sorrowing, in his bed, eyes bulging with tiredness.
Day 2. Alarm wakes us at 6.30 a.m., struggle from my warm bed, first thought - Chiko. He is still sitting in the same spot - he has not moved all night. Let out all the Chihuahuas for their morning toilet trips and greetings - such joy! All of my attention is now allocated to Chiko. Open the door and he rushes out, straight into the melee of dogs, through the crowd, and disappears around the house somewhere in the back yard. I know he cannot get out anywhere, so leave him be for the time being while I prepare the toast and Vegemite for the rest of the dogs, and I hear this little hurt voice in the background "where is mine?" from my darling long suffering husband, Mayer!
Before leaving for work I do one last check on all the dogs, ensuring there is plentry of water and dried food in case they get hungry before I return. My heart breaks - there cringing in the corner of the back yard is Chiko, teeth bared, hassles up, and the biggest growl emanating from his mouth, but at the same time his eyes are teary and clouded - he is sad and lost! Idiot that I am I reach down without thinking, except that I must comfort him and love him with a motherly cuddle, but I forget that he is very frightened and unhappy. A really nasty growl, bared teeth, and whammy! he attacks my hands. He has razor sharp teeth and he uses them along with his clawed nails to rake both my hands, blood streams from the cuts as I pull back in total unexpected shock. Have never had a dog do this to me before! Through the pain and shock of seeing the mess he has made of both hands, I still realise he is simply terrified, so, saying as softly as I can manage "I'll be back for you in a minute", I go inside to tend my wounds. Bandaged hands are placed in two very thick oven mitts and I head back to Chiko, who is still crouching in the corner, still watching with terrified eyes. Oh, you poor little mite. He can bite and scratch all he likes, the oven mitts are thick. Pick him up and quite firmly stress that this sort of thing will not be tolerated at our house. Quietly talk soothingly to him, reassuring him he will not be hurt, while carrying him back to show him where the water and food is served. "Sniff! Huff! Not likely" he makes sure I know he is not impressed, turns on his heels and runs back to the back corner! I have to get to work, so pick him up again and put him in the dog run, plentry of food and water, but at least he is separated from the other dogs.
Evening of day 2. Home from work, into old clothes, off to let Chiko out of the run, then turn my attention to the rest of the dear little Chihuahuas as they come galloping to greet me. Not Chiko, he sits all alone, no food or water has been touched, but he is watching closely every move I make. As soon as I turn away he races out of the run and up onto our little back porch.
Each night the dogs are given a home cooked stew of beef, vegetables, and garlic, thickened with pasta and rice - they love it! This night I feed each little dog in his or her own bowl, then place a special bowl of food and some clean fresh water on the back porch next to Chiko and softly tell him this is his tea. He studiously ignores me and the food. Am a bit concerned as it has been quite hot and he has not touched the water. He looks tucked up, but will give him a couple of days.
I phone Susan to give her an update on Chiko. She tells me to try a raw chicken neck as that is all he has ever eaten! No wonder his teeth are like razors! A three hour search of several supermarkets to find raw chicken necks, all to no avail. Will just have to wait till the chicken shop opens tomorrow morning. He sleeps in the laundry again - or he vigilante's all night. Chiko has me quite worried by now as he is decidedly tucked up, skin a bit tight and un-pliable (showing dehydration signs), nose dry, eyes literally bulging!
Day 3. Saturday, time for all the weekly chores, washing and ironing, washing dogs bedding and cleaning out kennels etc. - a never ending grind, but for the love of these little dogs, it is all worth it! Managed to get some chicken necks at the shops on my way home from picking up the dogs meat. Chiko is still sitting on the back porch where I left him at 8.30 this morning. Offer him the back of my hand which is beginning to heal, and a raw chicken neck. He stretches out his nose, draws back sharply, and sniffs, but ignores the proffered chicken neck! I don't believe this. I put the chicken neck down on a plate and leave him to it. Ten minutes later I bring a basket of clean washing out and begin pegging it on the line. Just then I notice Chiko is chewing on the chicken neck. "Good boy, Chiko, good boy." I gently tell him, keeping my distance! I ignore him after that and keep pegging out the clothes, when I sense a soft damp nose sniffing my bethonged toes. Holding my breath and keeping very still, I glance down to see Chiko checking me out. I murmur "good boy, Chiko", he looks up, meeting my eyes, and that tiny little tail - wags! It is a case of slowly, slowly, as I bend down and reach out with downward hanging hand, then slowly come up to lightly touch the top of his head. Chiko strains ever so slightly towards my hand. My heart is pounding with joy and relief as I reach towards him, pick him up, and cuddle him close as he snuggles into my chest. We are over the worst of his trauma of being abandoned by his long term family. He has approached me, so now we can spend some time becoming friends. A good half hour is spent talking to him as I hold and caress his dry little back and head. This time he follows me back into the house.
Day 4. We are well on the way with this little baby. Took out the toast and Vegemite, cut into nibble bite sizes, for all the babies and place it onto their several plates. Well, blow me down, Chiko is pushing through the throng, grabs a piece in his teeth, and scampers away from the mob! Back for a second piece, and then a third! He will be right now, the worst is over. It continues to amuse and amaze us that these little fellows can accept what fate hands out to them, and after a couple of days mourning and pining it is almost as though they think "not much I can do to change anything, so best just get on and enjoy what I can".
Afternoon of the fourth day Chiko comes racing into the kitchen from the back yard, then round and round in little tight circles he races, tail wagging madly with exhilaration! I am amazed! He comes over and rubs his darling little face against my leg, just like you would expect from a cat or kitten!
Day 14. This morning Susan phoned to ask if they could call in and say their final good-byes to Chiko. I have grave doubts about the effect this may have on Chiko, particularly after all he has just come through, but cannot say no to them. I am aware of their heartache caused by this parting, especially the children. With trepidation I invite them in later in the afternoon. Chiko is reasonably excited to see them, but (thankfully) he keeps running back to me! I am reassured that this visit will not be a handicap to his resettling. Susan, Ivan, Chrissy, and Phillip are relieved to see Chiko so happy and healthy. I had been phoning them every few days during the past fortnight, so they were aware of how worried I have been. Finally they are on their way and Chiko does not give them a backward glance! Stands by my feet as they go out the front door, no sign of wanting to follow them. He has settled in well with our routines, however, I have very grave doubts that we will ever be able to allow him to be adopted.
Chiko lives outside with the other prospective adoptees. His favorite spot is in the sun on a little stool beside the house and pity help any Chihuahua who tries to steal his seat! When Chiko decided he wanted to live outside I purchased a little cane dog basket and a red doona. This little dog is so intelligent that he understands what you tell him. "Chiko, look. A present for you, and your own doona!" He sat there and then bounced around my feet, with those huge brown eyes sparkling. He hopped onto his new doona and "glowed" with pleasure. From that day onward Chiko will not allow any other dog near his bed! As we suspected no one wants to adopt this beautiful little dog. Chiko is now 14 years old, still very active and full of fun and life. He loves everyone, has a very independent personality, and we love him dearly!
December 2001. On returning from a trip to pick up a lost Chihuahua, I found Chiko very sore and bleeding. One of the other Chihuahuas had attacked him. Chiko is now almost 15 years old and quite stiff with arthritis. My belief that these little dogs are kept together and learn to live with each other no longer is my total belief. I understand that, little as they are, they are still dogs, and dogs will attack the weaker or sicker one. Chiko was very cowed and sorry for himself. I gathered him up and gently cuddled him while trying to check where he was hurt. His neck and behind his ears was badly bitten as well as both ears - blood everywhere. No life threatening wounds, fortunately.
Chiko has long been loved by several people, but because of his age and experiences I did not let him go, but now, for his own protection, he has to go to a home where he can live his last years (hopefully) in some semblance of security and peace. With all the strange dogs coming in here, it is no longer safe for him.
Someone has adopted Chiko. Rob, Sue and Talya have taken him into their home. Two months later and he has put on a bit too much weight but who cares at his age? He also bosses their two bigger dogs and two cats. Sue has a bottle of water and gives him a spray whenever he does wrong! Chiko loves his old home and gets very excited whenever we visit him. Love you, Chiko!
Lonny is a 4 year old male who came in to our care in July 2004. A very quiet shy, slightly timid: no biting, just a friendly little dog. He had been surrendered for adoption by his previous owner, who, to put it frankly, knew "bugger all" about raising a Chihuahua! (Please pardon my language, but some people really annoy me when they do this sort of thing to these little dogs.
DOGS, yes I said DOGS, for. small as they are, they are still DOGS, and should be treated as such. Mind you more cuddles and "lap" treatment is fine.
Poor Lonny came into our care weighting in excess of 6kg. and could barely walk - or I should say, waddle! This woman had fed him and fed him - no not dog food, or bones, or dry dog food - oh no. Lonny had been fed greasy fatty lamb chops, steak, bacon and eggs, puddings, cakes, ice cream and lollies - heaps of human foods. This has had the expected results, a massively overweight tiny little dog. When this picture was taken, Lonny had lost more than 2 kg and still should lose at least another kilo. Due to the excess weight over a four year period, Lonny had developed a heart murmur but, in the four months we spent treating him, he was going along really well and getting healthier and healthier as each day passed. We advised potential new owners that he would eventually need to go onto heart medication and that his life expectancy had been shortened, but at that time he was doing really well on "diet only". We expected him to live a good 4 to 5 years, if not longer. He was well toilet trained and very obedient, a very wise little man.
We required someone to give Lonny a loving home and heaps of love. To be prepared to keep him on a diet and do little walks every day to keep that weight off, and strengthen his heart muscles, for without these restrictions, he may not live many more years.
Several people looked at Lonny and all wanted to adopt him, but we were being very "choosey" for this little man.
On 24/11/2004 we had a visit from one of those people who have a heart of gold; a lady of compassion and a heart full of love to give to a little boy who does not have many years to live! The lady we will call "Jenny" has given a home to Lonny.
Lonny will now be on a diet and walked a little every day. So hopefully he will live for a few more years with heaps of love and attention. The world is certainly full of some really wonderful people, and Jenny is one of them! December 2007 we were thrilled to hear he is doing really well, and has become a very fit little man weighing a whole 2.5kg.!! His heart murmur, although still there, has not become any worse, so we are all hoping his new living conditions will give him quite a few more years.
Wanda is now trying out her new home!
Such a darling little dog! Wanda is an ex breeding dog and during her five years has produced two litters, so she is now retired and looking for a pet home. She is so gentle and quiet, just a little shy. She allows you to pick her up and is more than happy to sit on your lap for hours.
Bandit is a male "stud" dog (he made some gorgeous little puppies during his stud life) now retired!
He is about 7 years old, very shy. He is not the cuddly type of little dog as he has not had any experience of that! He is quite happy inside and outside, and would make a wonderful little "watch dog". When he has been with you for three or four days he gets more confidence and will come inside and follow you around, even sniff your fingers and take a little chicken from your hand! Just patience needed!
Pippin is now trying out her new home!
Pippin is a young female who was taken from a "puppy mill/farm" where she was expected to produce puppies and then more puppies with no other interest in life. Food thrown through the fence by the only "human??" she had any contact with.
She was a frightened little "wild" dog when she came in. Now we see her playing with the other dogs and living with all of us and showing no signs of fear. She is still a little wary of strangers, but if she is given time to adjust to a new home without being forced she will settle down to be a lovely little playful dog. She is very suited for an older person and definitely no children. She is fine with other dogs and spends hours "grooming" them! A real little "mother"!
Fifi has settled and has definitely found her "forever" new home!
FIFI, is a three year old gorgeous little female.
Fifi is a good little watchdog. She is very friendly and playful with her family, although just a little wary of strangers, but settles quickly.
Girlie is now trying out her new home!
Girlie is a very small Chihuahua cross, estimated at 2 years of age. Girlie was staying here with us until we found her a good home
Tia has happily settled into her permanent new home!
Tia is a very very tiny Chihuahua; a so-called Teacup. She is six months old, really friendly and playful - she is a darling little girl. If the so called "teacup" was true, then Tia is one of those. This little one was desexed and microchipped, immunised, and health checked before placement.
Tango has now found and settled into his "forever" new home!
TANGO is a gorgeous little male Chihuahua, 15 months old, very friendly and playful. Tango was desexed, microchipped, immunised and health checked before going to a good home.
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