What big ears you have!
Today’s post is a Q&A with my friend Nadia, keeper of these two big-eared pipsqueaks.
Who are your dogs?
Radar and Bean are both Chihuahua/Dachshund mixes (or, as froofy people call them, “Chiweenies”). Radar is more Doxie than Chihuahua, and Bean is more Chihuahua than Doxie. They are both gray in the face and long in the tooth (in Bean’s case, green in the tooth), and of indeterminate age.
Bean was a bona fide wayward wanderer. What’s her story?
A little dog walked into a bar…really. Bean was lost on a busy Midtown street and slipped into Boozefish, the wine bar and restaurant on 43rd Street, behind a customer. The owner there, Maija, first thought she was a rat. Maija posted her picture on Facebook to see if someone would claim her, and my friend Jenee saw it and thought she was my other dog, Radar. She called me in a panic. I was like, “Radar’s sitting right next to me!”
I was curious to see this found dog, because I haven’t ever seen another dog that looks quite like Radar. So I went to Boozefish and there was Bean, sitting in a busser’s tub. She looked like the saddest, most forlorn little thing, with huge, overgrown claws and a post-pregnancy belly. She’d recently given birth even though she’s clearly in the “elder dog” age range, which seemed either negligent or cruel on her owner’s part. Maija had posted “Found” fliers around the neighborhood and was about to take her to Wayside Waifs because her own big dog was a barrier to keeping Bean herself. I offered to take care of her while Maija kept an ear out for her owners. I told my boyfriend that we were just “fostering” her for the weekend, knowing that once the weekend was over, he wouldn’t be able to give her up.
Someone claiming to be Bean’s original owner eventually did turn up, six weeks after she’d been living with me, and I had already spent upwards of $300 on vet care. Once we told them that, we never heard from them again.
What about sassy Miss Radar?
Radar’s origin is even more mysterious. The story at Raytown Animal Shelter was that her original owner had gotten sick and was unable to properly care for her, and had turned her in. They didn’t even know what her name had been. My friend knew that I was a dachshund fan, and she called me one day to say that the shelter had just gotten a dog in that was “kind of a dachshund,” which I had to see. I expected a really ugly mutt, but there was this goofy, big-eared dog-rabbit, bopping around the shelter’s backyard. I told my friend at the shelter that I’d have to ask my boyfriend, with whom I had bought a house that same year, and who was not much of a dog person. Yet. I drove home, picked up Phil and drove him to the shelter, getting there right before closing time. He picked up this crazy dog and looked at her and said, “It looks like she has radar,” and I said, “I think you just named her.” He’s been a proud, tiny-dog owner ever since.
Describe any efforts you’ve had to make in order to “rehabilitate” either of these dogs.
Since I’ve had her, Bean has turned into a new dog. She went from acting achy and mopey to running through the house like a puppy and dragging around toys that are bigger than she is.
Bean went into heat once before we had her spayed, which was entertaining. She was the most miserably horny little dog. We stuck a tiny diaper on her and pretended we could read her filthy little thoughts.
My philosophy used to be that small dogs can’t do much harm, so why bother training them? I was also convinced, from growing up with a dachshund in the house, that weiner dogs were too stubborn to be trained. But my friend Katie, who is a dog-whisperer in my opinion, took care of Radar for a week when my boyfriend and I went on vacation. Upon our return, Katie showed us how she’d trained Radar how to “sit,” which I thought was pretty miraculous. We’ve since trained Bean to “sit.” That’s about all the training they need.
What’s the most challenging part of having two very tiny dogs?
Probably the fact that I don’t ever feel comfortable letting them off their leashes. I’m jealous of people whose big dogs will stay in range when they’re camping or doing other outdoorsy things. Bean and Radar escaped the backyard once, and as soon as I realized that they were loose, I went running outside to find a bunch of cars stopped and Radar in the middle of the street, barking her face off. Bean was in a stranger’s arms, of course, about to be re-adopted for the millionth time.
What do you wish people understood about very tiny dogs?
When your dogs are the canine equivalent of the Golden Girls, it’s annoying to hear people say, “Look at those puppies!”
Evil question time: Who’s your favorite – Bean or Radar?
Pfft, you know I can’t pick a fave. Radar’s my first dog, so she claims that bias. She loves the crap out of us, but she defends the house ferociously and is Most Likely to Bite a Small Child. Bean, on the other hand, is the snuggliest. She could be a hospice dog. She’s happiest when she has someone to sleep on.
If you would like to see your dog featured at Wayward Dogs, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.