The Macho Minute is about my dog Macho, a chihuahua I rescued in January of 2010. Macho was rescued from a house in Dearborn, MI where 100+ other Chihuahuas were found alive and another 150+ were found dead amongst garbage piled from floor to ceiling. Due to these living conditions, Macho is very timid at all times. I created the Macho Minute to share Macho's stories and progress, as well as my joy of rescuing a dog who needs extra love and care.



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Overload!


It's been quite a Christmas here in the Macho household! We've been busy, and it's shown in my lack of posting. Macho was a pretty lucky pooch this year for his first Christmas. He got a new blanket (which you can see a little bit in the picture), mouthwash that goes in his water bowl to freshen his breath, a water bowl for the bedroom for at night, and 3 bully sticks- his favorite treats! He also got a box of treats from Nick's grandparents that he has been enjoying all week. I got a Flip video camera for Christmas myself, so I have been trying to catch Macho eating his bully sticks and new treats, but whenever I pull out the camera, he is a lot more concerned with what I'm doing than the treats. Not a typical dog, right?

In other news, I received an e-mail yesterday from this Puppy Training website saying that they came across the Macho Minute and they decided to feature Macho's blog on their site. We were pretty excited since this is just a little blog, I was surprised that someone found it and thought that it was worthy of being featured. You can view the post here.

It's been a great year with Macho, and with the one year anniversary of his adoption coming up next Wednesday, I have to say that I am not only impressed with him, I am proud. I was able to work from home this week, and I think Macho liked having some extra time with me. All day he is curled up next to me on the couch while I work. He just seems to be more relaxed, which has been nice to see. With the progress he made in only one year of 2010, I am excited to see what 2011 will bring. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Story That Changed My Life

One year ago I was sitting at work, reading the online news, when I came across this story.

I had been following this story of the chihuahuas since it was first announced a few months back, so I knew it would be a story I would want to read. I clicked on the headline for the story, and immediately I fell in love with the dog in the picture. Before even reading the story, I read the caption about this adorable dog only to find out that he was one of two chihuahuas from the Dearborn house that needed a forever home.

That night, while laying in bed still thinking about the dog, I told Nick about him. He said he didn't really want a dog, especially a chihuahua, but if he needs a home and I set everything up with the animal shelter, he would buy him for me for Christmas. The next day I called the shelter and he was still available. With much excitement, I filled out an application, and within the next couple days, I got a call that I was approved for adoption!

One Friday during work, Nick and I went to the shelter where Macho was in a separate little room with another terrified chihuahua that was so small I could hold her in one hand. Neither dog wanted to come out of the cage, but with some cheese, I was able to get Macho to come to the front of the cage. After our first meeting with Macho, Nick was really hesitant about getting him since he is obviously a lot different than a dog with a normal upbringing. As lame as it may sound, I felt a connection with Macho and didn't even want to think about him being adopted by anyone else. I wanted him to be my dog so that I could give him the loving home he never had but deserves so much.

After much convincing (and a lot of crying!), Nick agreed to adopt Macho. On January 5th, we drove to the Dearborn Animal Shelter and picked up our dog.

Who would have thought that one little news story would change our lives? :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

News Article About Macho's Past

Our local newspaper ran an article this weekend about hoarders, and it featured a story about Macho's previous owner. There are a lot of details in this particular story that I haven't read anywhere else in the news even though I follow Macho's case very closely. The article is hard to read for any animal lover, especially for me knowing that this is where Macho spent the first few years of his life. There is also a short video to the right of the story that is raw video of the house where the chihuahuas were found. I have never seen footage like this, and although hard to watch, I can't take my eyes away knowing that Macho was there in that house for years. I know I have posted documentaries and news clips about Macho and his story, but for some reason this one is a little different.

The story is here for anyone who would like to read.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Macho's Xanax Experience

Since Macho gives us the hardest time when trying to clip his nails, or giving him a bath, or we make him do any activity he just doesn't want to do, the vet gave us Xanax to give him. Usually Xanax is used to cure anxiety, yet in Macho it turns him into a puppy.

After giving Macho the pill, I let him chill out for a little bit. Usually he has no interest in leaving the apartment and doesn't go within 10 feet of the front door. But when I came back from checking the mail, Macho was waiting right behind the door for me. Next I began to realize that he was loosing his ability to walk. He was walking towards me and his back legs gave out. Then he kept falling over on the couch and looked like he couldn't get comfortable. This worried me a little bit, but I talked to the vet and she said that clumsiness is a common side effect of giving Xanax to a dog. I literally felt like I had a puppy. He was sniffing things he never had an interest in, chewing on things, and sniffing open air. He also had no fear and was jumping from the couch to the ottoman and sitting on the part of the couch that he usually never goes to. Nick was in Indiana to visit his parents for Thanksgiving while I stayed home with Macho. I wanted him to see how Macho was acting, so I shot a video to send to him. I posted it below. If you don't know Macho, this probably doesn't look any different than any other dog, but this is pretty active for him!


video

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Macho's First Vet Visit!

Today was the day that I have been fearing for quite some time. I knew that Macho would need to see a vet sometime soon as he hasn't been checked out since his rescue in 2009. I thought it was going to be awful, and all morning I had a knot in my stomach just thinking about how terrified he was going to be.

Our dog trainer recommended a vet that comes to your home, so I decided to give it a shot. I told the vet on the phone that Macho is very timid and that this might n
ot be a pleasant visit. We were all surprised when Macho was as calm as he was. He hopped up on the couch, let the vet and her assistant pet him, and didn't even flinch while he was getting his body check. As the vet lined up three vaccines, I got more nervous, but Macho just sat there and let her give all three without a fight. We also asked for some kind of drug that we can give him when we know he will be stressed out (going to the vet, getting his nails clipped, etc.). In order to give him the drug, they have to do a blood test. Once again, Macho just sat there and let her take a vile of blood! I was in shock, I couldn't believe it was that easy.

Of course he had a little moment when he saw the nail clippers. She tried to clip one of his nails and he ran away. That didn't surprise me, I know that he hates it. Hopefully he is healthy enough to take the pills so that we can get them done soon! Maybe I should just clip them now, as this is how he is sleeping right next to me right now. I guess the vet and vaccinations made him sleepy :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Little Dog, Big Little Bed

How is it that such a small dog takes up so much of the bed? This is how Macho sleeps every night, curled up in a ball between both of us. Can you imagine two normal sized people on each side of him? Sometimes I don't even have covers because he balls them up underneath him! I feel like I should not have to buy a bigger bed just because a 15 pound dog started sleeping on it. He should be concerned about my comfort :)


Other than that, Macho is still doing great. I think he knows that it is getting colder outside because he likes to cuddle a lot more during the day and at night now. He's starting to seem like such a normal pup, I love it! I can't wait until it snows and I can take him outside since I don't think he has ever seen snow before. I have been taking knitting classes to learn how to knit (especially since Sara at Posh Pooch Designs sent me a pattern to make Macho a hat!). I'm excited not only to make the hat, but also a little sweater for those cold winter days. I'm not sure how Macho will like wearing clothing, but right now I'm more worried about actually making the hat and sweater before winter is over!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lazy Day for Macho Poochu


Yesterday was quite the lazy day for Macho. He enjoyed himself while playing in a blanket, getting all tangled up, and then trying to find his way out. Apparently the 5 minutes of doing this tired him so much that he just passed out on the couch for a few hours. As the day went by, he was more and more comfortable, which means I became less and less comfortable as I got to lay halfway off the couch while we took up the whole corner! He's a few pics of the day- oh, the life of a dog!





Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We're back!

It has been quite some time since I last posted! I hate being a slacker. Between busy work schedules and a recent vacation, we've been running around quite a bit. Macho seems to not mind, especially when he just did great while we were on vacation and had a friend stay at our house to watch him.

Since we adopted Macho, I've only wanted to make him comfortable in his home. Lately I really see that this is starting to happen. When he sits on the couch with us, he is totally relaxed, as you can see in the picture below. It's pretty dark, but I didn't want to turn the flash on and startle him. He has also been excited about certain things when he usually would just lay in bed even if we dangled cheese in front of his face. Whenever we open the bedroom door, he runs into the bedroom to hop on the bed in hopes that it is time to go to sleep with us. Sometimes it's hard to tell him that it's not bedtime just yet! I made him a fleece blanket a c
ouple weeks ago, and it seems like he loves it. Sometimes when he won't come lay on the couch with me I will hold up the blanket and he comes right over. It's nice to see him act like a normal dog, not a scared one all the time.


He just looks comfy, doesn't he?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cute Book and Quick Macho Update

Got an e-mail today from the ASPCA about a cute book. It's all about the dogs that were rescued from the Michael Vick case and an update on their lives. Was a little hesitant at first because I wasn't sure if I could read a book about the abuse these poor dogs went through, but the link says that it is a great book for animal lovers. I'm going to check it out, you should too! And if you purchase through the link on this page, http://www.aspca.org/news/national/09-17-10.html#1 they give a portion of your purchase to the ASPCA.

Anyway, I've been a slacker again with my Macho blogging. But he's been doing GREAT! I say that in all caps because he really has been doing awesome lately. We were taking him on walks in the hallway of our apartment complex, and he was doing very well on the leash. One day I came home from the store only to find the apartment empty- no Nick and no Macho. I got a little nervous when I called down the hallway and didn't hear Nick. So I went to the back door only to see Nick walking Macho on the sidewalk behind our building! I couldn't believe it. Now we take him for walks every day outside. He does so great on the leash, it's surreal. Sometimes when a stranger is walking by, Macho will get nervous and will cry. But the rest of the time he just walks right next to me or Nick like he's been doing it all his life. Here's a video of him on one of his first walks outside:


video


In addition to his walks outside, Macho's been doing great inside still. He still likes to cuddle on the couch, and now he sleeps in bed with us at night! He cuddles in between me and Nick, it's very cute. He's still getting used to going to the bathroom outside, so of course he is still using his pee pads. He was on a streak of not having an accident, but then yesterday he peed on our bed. But about 90% of the time he is using the pee pads, which is a great improvement. We hope the progress continues as it seems that Macho seems happier in his home :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

10 Followers!

When I first created this blog, I really didn't think anyone would read it. I wanted a way to track Macho's progress and thought this would be a good way to do so. I had hoped that maybe I could reach people by sharing our joys of rescuing a pet so that when they are ready to bring home a dog or cat, they would consider adopting from a shelter instead of from a breeder. Of course Macho's case is a bit more extreme than others, but there are thousands of animals out there in shelters just waiting to be adopted who don't have any behavioral problems. Maybe their previous owners moved out of state and couldn't take their pet with them, or they lost their job and couldn't afford their pet, or maybe, like a blog I follow here, the owner was forced to give up their pet just because of rules and restrictions in their subdivision or neighborhood. Not all shelter animals have had a rough past that might make them a little different than other animals that you might adopt from a breeder. That's the word that I hoped I might get out through my little blog about Macho.

I noticed today that I have 10 followers to Macho's blog! One is my mother, but I'm still counting her :) I just wanted to thank everyone who follows Macho's blog and has kept in touch with his progress. I'm hoping that my message about adopting shelter animals is also coming through to any readers. Hopefully my following continues to grow, and maybe by the end of the year I'll have 20 or 30! It's a wish, but you never know!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Trainer Check-In

Since my last post, Macho has been doing really well. Our trainer came this week for the first time in a month, and she couldn't believe the progress that Macho has made since. She was really excited that he was sitting with me on the couch and let me put his leash on without a fight. We haven't really been working with him on the leash, so she has us doing that again. She really didn't like that Macho doesn't like to sleep in the same room as us, and now we make him sleep in the bedroom with us because we close the door. It seems like he is a lost more calm now in the bedroom as he hasn't been as skittish whenever we roll over or move around in the bed. If we also get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or something, Macho will leave the room, but he will come back. So far it's been working great!

While working on the leash, we are supposed to get Macho to walk with us. Surprisingly, it's been somewhat easy to do this. He will walk with us until he gets close to something he can hide under. But if we just continue to walk by and not give him enough slack to run under or become tangled in anything, then he is fine.

We live on a very busy road in Metro Detroit, and every August, they have a huge event where people can drive their old/classic cars up and down the road. It's a nationally known event, so it attracts a lot of people, and as you can guess, a LOT of loud cars. The entire week up to the cruise, people start driving their cars at night. Macho wasn't too thrilled when the loud cars would drive by. He was never scared, but you could tell he was on edge at night. We decided to have a BBQ the day of the event, but were a little nervous about how Macho would be when people would walk in and out of the apartment throughout the entire day. He actually did really great! I have a few very younger kids in my family, and they wanted to play video games inside. Instead of running away or hiding underneath the table, Macho was on the couch hanging out. We still got a little nervous as the boys can get rowdy, so Nick decided to put him in our bedroom. Macho actually let Nick carry him into the bedroom, which he usually would fight as hard as he could. To make it even better, Macho was crying in the bedroom because he wanted to come out to see what was going on. We eventually just let him roam the apartment since he was doing so great.

When our trainer left this week, she said that her next task for Macho is to get him ready to go outside. She said that if he is curious about what is going on outside our apartment door, that we should venture into the hallway. I was out to dinner w
ith my mom and aunts today when Nick sent me the below picture. I couldn't believe it, Macho was outside of our apartment! Looks like he'll be outside sooner than we think :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Totally New Macho

Since adopting Macho, I have been very patient with his progress because I know how hard it must be for him. It hasn't been easy to love the little guy so much, yet not be able to hold and pet him. With the one year anniversary of Macho's rescue and the 7 month date since we've adopted him, it seems that Macho has become a completely different dog.

Two weeks ago I posted pictures of Macho laying with me in my bed. It got me thinking that maybe I could get him to do this on our couch. I put the leash on him, walked him over to our couch, then sat down. Macho jumped up and down a couple times, but never really relaxed. The next day, I decided to try again. I sat on the couch holding the leash, let him jump up, and he actually stayed next to me. We sat there for about 15 minutes, and the entire time I was petting him. I took the leash off his collar, thinking he would run away, but instead he actually laid down! We sat there for a couple more minutes just petting and relaxing.

Over the next couple days, Nick and I took turns getting Macho up onto the couch with the leash on his collar. Then while I was cooking dinner one day, Macho came right up to the couch and sat down with Nick. We finally found out that we don't even need the leash to make him want to come to us. The last week or so has been very exciting knowing that we can just call Macho and he will come and lay down with us. What's more surprising is that he's not sitting 5 feet from us- he is literally cuddled up next to us, on our laps, or with his head on our legs.

It's amazing to think that just 7 months ago, this dog wanted nothing to do with us. Then you think about how he was a month ago, where he still was nervous around us but was starting to trust a little more. Now he wants to be around us enough that he sits with us and close enough to us to be pet.

Being patient has finally paid off. Of course we still have more progress to make. We took a couple weeks off of the training because our trainer was out of town and then we were out this past week. We still want to get Macho completely pad or house trained, get him outside, and just become more comfortable with us at all times. But for right now, we are pretty happy and are pretty sure we have a happy puppy :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Macho's Anniversary!

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day Macho was rescued! On July 22nd, 2009, the house in Dearborn, MI was discovered. The very next day, over 100 live chihuahuas were taken from the home to the Dearborn Animal Shelter. One of those dogs was Macho :)

The local news station had a short segment about the anniversary, the video is below. A short documentary about the Dearborn Chihuahua Rescue is a couple posts below, posted on June 3rd, if you'd like to see the entire story.



Happy Anniversary, Macho!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick Pics of Macho

Last night I put Macho on the leash and had him lay on the bed with me. He was too cute, so I snapped a couple pictures of him with my phone camera. On a leash, sitting next to me, and letting me pet him- he sure has come a long way!










Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Did You See the Today Show?

This morning on the Today Show, they did a segment to discuss the new Animal Planet series about animal hoarders. Since Macho was rescued from the home of an animal hoarder, this is obviously a topic that is close to me. In case you missed the segment this morning, the video is below. I believe it says that the series begins tomorrow. Recognizing that a friend or family member may be hoarding animals is a major key in helping them realize that they have a problem. Don't let it get out of hand, as that is how the hoarder continues to adopt animals. The family of Macho's previous owner admitted to knowing that he had a problem, but never checked up on or visited him. If a family member had monitored his condition, his animal hoarding may have never gotten as out of control as it was, and 300 chihuahuas may have had a better life.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Busy!

I apologize for the lack of updates lately. It's been busy in the Macho household!

We're currently in week four of Macho's training, and I think it is going quite well. We work with Macho (almost!) every day on his leash. When we put him on the leash, our goal is to get him to stop fighting, and once he does, try to get him to come to us. He has been doing great at coming to us. When he does, we praise him and can pet him. It's been really great being able to pet him outside the cage. It makes me feel like we're doing the right thing even when he hates being on the leash. He still tries to back away and get the collar off of him, but it's becoming less and less.

I discovered a handy product that has been great. It's called Bach Flower Rescue Remedy- ever heard of it? You put a few drops of the liquid either right into the dog's mouth or you can put it on their food or in their water bowl. It helps the dog relax and lower their stress. The first day I put a few drops in Macho's food, then gave him about a half hour. I bought it to try to clip his nails because they were so long that they would get stuck in the links of the chain on his collar. Clipping his nails this time was actually worse than the first time. Nick couldn't get a hold of Macho very well, and he was fighting so hard. I thought the Bach Flower didn't work at all and was a bit disappointed that I spend $21.00 on it! But the next morning, Macho was very relaxed. When I fed him again the second night, I put a few more drops of the Bach Flower in his food. When I went to put the collar on him, he laid there without fighting. I couldn't believe it at all. Also, whenever I put the collar and leash on Macho, his first reaction would be to run away and then fight when I held the leash and prevented him from running away. Now when I first start to work with him, he is very calm. He walks out of his cage slowly and will walk right up to me for pets. He'll fight occasionally, but it's not as severe as it has been.

The only other major change in Macho's life is that we moved his cage last night. We decided to put it in our bedroom so he can be close to us and so we don't have to check on him during the night. Lately we've been having thunderstorms at night, and we want to make sure that Macho isn't terrified in the living room by himself. Last night was the first night we tried it. At first he was nervous to be close to our bed, but he eventually came into the bedroom and laid in his cage. He slept there all night, but if one of us moved too quickly, he would run out of the cage. I think he will get used to it in time, and I'm sure it will be better than sleeping in the living room by himself. While we are home, we are going to take his bed out of the cage and put it in the living room so that he isn't in our bedroom by himself.

I think that Macho is really making progress since we've been working with the trainer. He has come a long way with toileting, as he pees on the pads about 80% of the time. He was using the pad that was near his cage, so my new fear is that he won't know where to go now that his cage is in our bedroom. I put one pad right in front of the cage and one right next to it. Hopefully he will use them if he has to go during the night, and then when he is out in the living room with us, he will use the same one he used before. I just don't want to ruin the progress we've made so far!

I have been a major slacker at taking pictures of Macho, and I blame it on my camera. A few months back my camera broke, and I still haven't gotten it fixed. Once I get it fixed or get a new one, I'll be back to posting some pictures and videos of Macho Man. He is just so cute :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Macho Man Training: Week 1

Last Saturday we met our trainer for Macho! We sat down to talk for a while about Macho's habits, how we "work" with him, his schedule, etc. I assumed she would tell us that we need to be the pack leader, and that is exactly what she told us. She realized right away that Macho is the dominate one in the house. He is in charge of when he eats, comes out of his cage, where he goes to the bathroom, and his attitude when we put him on a leash.

We're working now on becoming the dominate ones in the household. We now only feed Macho twice a day instead of leaving his food out all day and letting him eat whenever he wants. The first couple days were tough because he didn't eat at all. But on Wednesday, I woke up, put his food outside of his cage, and got into the shower. When I went into the living room, he had finally ate. He didn't eat that night, but he did eat this morning again. I'm hoping we can get him to continue this schedule and that it will help him realize that we are the ones who feed him.

The toughest part so far has been working with Macho on the leash. He HATES the leash! When our trainer, Maril, was here, she was able to work with me to actually put the leash on Macho. Then she showed me techniques to get him to calm down instead of just freak out the entire time he's on the leash. My major problem before Maril was that Macho would freak out so bad that I would just give up. Now I realize all of the problems that giving up causes, and when Macho is freaking out, I know what to do to make him stop. When Maril was able to get Macho to calm down and just sit with the leash on him, I couldn't believe it! He had never done that before.

Since Saturday, we leave the leash on Macho whenever we are around him. This way he gets used to having it on him. We work for him for about 5 minutes, then we'll give him an hour or so to relax. We try to work with him on the leash by calling to him to get him to come to us. The first few days we couldn't get him to come up to us. But then one day I was working with him and he slowly came up to me. Then today I was holding the leash, and every small step he took towards me, I gave him praise. Then when he got close enough, he just walked right up to me. He did it another time after that, too. I was pretty excited.

I'm seeing very small changes in him, and that gives me hope that Maril will really help us get Macho to be a better pooch. We'll see what happens this Saturday when she comes again and checks our progress :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trainer!

As Macho's improvements seem to slow, I started researching dog trainers online to see if I could find someone that can help him adjust better. I finally found a website that looked promising, so I spoke with the woman on the phone. I felt like everything clicked. She was saying everything that I was looking for and was answering all my questions the way I hoped they would be answered. I decided that this was the right thing, and we are scheduled to have her come meet Macho this Saturday! I am very excited and hoping that it all works out. Of course I don't expect Macho to be completely trained after one meeting, but I am hoping that she will teach us how to work with him so he can get better. I told her that our goals for now are to just get him more adjusted and to get him to go to the bathroom only on the pee pads. If we can get him to do this within a month, I'll be happy. Anything else will just be an added bonus!

Keep your fingers crossed for us this Saturday, and I'll update shortly after :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Short Documentary About Macho & Friends' Rescue

The Dearborn Animal Shelter, where I adopted Macho from, had this short documentary about the Dearborn Chihuahua Hoarding case on their website. It shows the story of the chihuahuas and their rescue last year. Although it can be sad, it shows all the positives that came out of this case. While the video gives you insight as to why Macho doesn't act like other dogs, it also shows what Macho and the other chihuahuas have overcome. At the Chihuahua Reunion, I saw that many of these courageous dogs are doing great. This gave me hope that Macho can join them one day.

Please watch the video and pass along to others. Part of the reason I started this blog was to show that adopting a rescue animal is a rewarding experience that can save the lives of many animals in shelters. This video helps me show that :)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quite a Slacker!

I've been slacking a little bit when it comes to updating about Macho! Sorry about that :)

Since I last updated, Macho was able to make it to his Chihuahua Reunion! I wasn't able to get him outside before it because it was raining every single day for a week or two. I didn't want to take him outside only to get him muddy and have to give him a bath. I couldn't imagine how hard that would be! On the day of the Reunion, Nick had to go to LA for work. I was all by myself, and I decided that he is going no matter what. I got out his carrier, picked him up, and got him inside of it. At first he was scared and tried to get out, but after he calmed down, he was fine inside of it for the rest of the time! I packed up his harness and leash, then took him out. He was fine in the car, just laid down to rest most of the time.

Once we got to the Reunion, I took him in his carrier to get checked in. It was great to see all the other chihuahuas doing so well. I was a little sad that Macho couldn't be alongside of them on a leash, but at least he was still able to be there! He was doing great with others. Many were curious about him since he was in the carrier, and I was able to unzip the top for them to peek inside. Sometimes he would stick his head out to see what was going on. He also let a couple people put their hands inside to pet him. I think that is a pretty big achievement as well.

I got a little too excited that Macho was outside, that I thought he might be ok to try a leash since there would be so many other dogs all around. I put his harness on him in the car then attached the leash to it. I let him hop out of the car, and he was walking around and sniffing for about 30 seconds before he realized the leash was attached to him. That's when he started getting scared and began biting at the leash. He struggled so much that he actually got out of the harness, which was completely terrifiying for me! I was able to pick him up before he was able to get anywhere, but the thought of the harness being too big for him to get out of was too scary for me to keep trying. I went to the store right after to buy a harness that fits him better, but I haven't been able to try it out on him yet. This time I am going to use it in the house to make sure he cannot get out of it before I take him outside.

The Reunion was a big step for Macho. Although he was scared at first, he didn't mind being in the carrier. He also seemed to be curious about what was going on around him. That makes me think that he would love being out on a leash so he could sniff around and see things that he may have never seen before. I'm not even sure if he's ever walked on grass in his life. I'm going to continue working on getting on the leash, and hopefully with time, he will get used to it. I know many dogs are afraid of a leash at first, that is probably the same fear that Macho has now.

I am looking into hiring a dog trainer that can meet Macho and hopefully give me some tips to help him progress. I'm hoping that if I can find someone with experience in helping animals who have been abused/neglected, I will be able to help Macho feel less comfortable and a lot less stressed. I want him to trust us at least because it is obvious that he is still nervous around us sometimes.

But for now, the search for a dog trainer continues and hopefully so does Macho's improvement!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Only Time Will Tell.

Good things come to those who wait. That's what I keep telling myself with Macho! I like to think about how he will be in a year. Two years. Five years. It makes me excited. When I am trying to be patient and let Macho come out of his shell, it can be really hard and sometimes frustrating. But I keep giving him time and let him grow on his own.

As you can tell, Macho has not made too much progress since I last updated, but he is still doing great. Trying to get him to let me put on his harness is still a struggle. I know I should just be more confident and make him put it on, but it's hard to see that he is scared and know that I am the person making him that way. He still has not been outside, but it is something I try to work on every day.

It seems as if Macho is starting to trust me more than Nick. He comes up to me a lot and sniffs my legs or hands. But he will not come by Nick at all unless he has cheese, of course! Macho also runs away whenever Nick gets off the couch or comes into the room. Surprisingly, the other day when I laid on the bed, Macho hopped up and laid right on my legs. I couldn't believe it. I let him lay there for a couple minutes, and when I tried to pet him, he jumped off the bed. But then he came back and laid a little further away so that I couldn't reach him. I was excited that he actually came and cuddled on the bed with me though. I know it shows that he trusts me a little bit more each day.

We are more than happy to give Macho a loving home where he can grow, but one thing that is driving us crazy is the peeing in the house! We are really excited to get him to go outside just so he can go to the bathroom out there too. I know that he doesn't know any better, so it's no big deal to clean up his pee. But when he pees on things in the house, it gets frustrating. We came home from the gym this week only to find that Macho had gone pee right on our bed! I had to wash the comforter and bed sheets. We also will clean the house and find that he has peed on other things- pillows in the spare bedroom, legs of the furniture, it's everywhere! For now I know that we just need to get him out of the house, and he will start to learn. The shelter also gave us this thing they call a "peeny wrap" to help with house training. It's one piece of fabric that wraps around the dog's body with velcro, you put a panty liner inside, and then when the dog pees, it will absorb it. Then you can just change the panty liner out. It would help a lot so we want to try to use it, but I'm more worried about Macho not even letting me put it on him! It is something we are going to try out.

Nick is going to see his parents next weekend, and unfortunatly I won't be able to join him since I'll have to stay home to watch Macho. I am hoping that it gives Macho and me a weekend to bond. Since he is sometimes afraid of Nick, I'm hoping he will be able to relax. If I can get him outside next weekend, it will be a major accomplishment. I think he would absolutely love it.

Although it can be frustrating to let Macho grow at his own pace, it sometimes becomes worth the wait. Last week, Nick caught Macho playing and running with a bone. He even saw him wagging his tail. We have only seen him do this one other time, so to see that he is somewhat happy makes me want to give him all the time in the world. It has only been four months since we adopted Macho, and if he only gets better with time, I cannot wait to see him in a year. Or two years. Or five years :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Long Overdue Post with Exciting Updates!

It's been a while since I've been able to update on Macho as Nick and I have been busy moving in together. But, regardless of all the change, Macho is still doing great!

Over the past couple weeks, Macho has been doing great! He is now the only dog in the house, so he likes to come out of his cage more often, roam around, and check things out. We are now able to leave his cage open at night so he can come out if he wants.

Our biggest achievement so far is that we finally were able to completely clip his nails. He was terrified whenever I even bring out the nail clippers, but he would have to get over his fear. One night, I told Nick to hold him while I clipped them. When Nick held Macho, he was not happy. He was trying to pull away, scratching Nick, and crying a little bit. But we both just sat there and pet him for a couple minutes until he calmed down in Nick's arms. Finally I was able to hold his first paw, and at first, the noise of the clippers scared him. After that, he was very calm and let me clip all of them. I thought we would let him go, and he would run and hide from us. But when Nick let him go, he just walked away for a minute, then came right back up to us as if nothing ever happened. It is so much better now because his nails don't make noise on the hardwood floors, and you can tell that his little toes aren't uncomfortable when he walks now.

We STILL have not been able to get Macho on the leash. We decided that a harness may be better than hooking the leash to the collar. We bought the harness and put it on him today. I really thought it would be a struggle to put the harness around his head and clip it around his body. However, Macho was completely calm the entire time and let me move his feet around and everything while I put it on him. Our plan is to put it on him for a couple hours a day for a week. Then we are going to let him walk around the house with the leash attached to it for a couple days. After that, it's time for Macho to get outside! I think that when we get him outside, he won't be as scared as he is inside when he is on the leash. If he is outside it will be all kinds of new smells, new noises, and great exercise. He has never really been outside his whole life, so I think it will be great to get him out there.

I also know that he is starting to be curious about where we go when we walk out of the door. Just today, Nick went to check the mailbox. He left the door open to the hallway of our apartment, and he went around the corner to the mailbox. When he turned around, Macho was in the hallway looking at him! He never does this. He won't even come by the door if you leave it open. After that, Nick went and sat on the stairs where Macho could only see him if he came out of the door. He called Macho a couple times, and he came out again to peek his head around the corner to see where Nick was. I was very surprised by this because when anyone even opens the door, Macho runs into another room.

We received some exciting news in the mail today! In May, the Dearborn Animal Shelter is going to have a Chihuahua Reunion for all of the chihuahuas that were rescued from the house in Dearborn that Macho was at. They want all 104 adopted dogs to come to a park so we can all meet each other, let the dogs reunite, and update the shelter on how our dogs are doing. I am really excited about this. However, I'm not sure if Macho will be able to go. Because it's a short notice, I'm not sure if we will be able to get Macho on a leash by then. Especially to be around all those other dogs and people! But I am very determined to get him there, I think it would be a really great event for us and Macho. We have a little over a month to get him there, so keep your fingers crossed for us! We're really going to work with him on this.

We have had Macho for over 3 months now, and the progress he has made has been surprising but rewarding. I can't believe that he is this calm dog sometimes, who acts like he was never neglected or living in awful conditions. When I think about how he was 3 months ago, I am happy because I know that he is making progress because we are giving him a loving and patient home. I know that with more time and patience, we will have a dog that may still be timid, but will trust and love us. With that in mind, I am able to accept his lack of love and excitement because I know that it will be worth it in the end.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Pet That I Can Finally Pet

From the day we brought Macho home, I've been anticipating the day that I could sit on the couch and cuddle with him. He is so adorable when laying in his bed that I want to pick him up, hug him, and pet him.

Over this past weekend, I became pretty close to seeing that day! I was mopping the floor, and when I was finished, I was stuck in the bedroom as I didn't want to walk on the wet floor. I just laid down on the bed to rest for a minute, and Macho came into the room. He hopped up on the bed like he has done quite a few times now. But he came up above my head and just sat there. I reached up to pet him, and he jumped and ran away. I thought that was the end of him coming up on the bed with me, but I was wrong.

Next thing I knew, Macho came back in the room and hopped back on the bed. This time, however, he sat closer to my body facing away from me. I reached up to pet him, and he let me! As I pet him, he laid down on the bed. I could not believe it! He laid there for a little bit letting me pet him the entire time. He heard a noise in the living room as I had the window open, so he jumped off the bed to check it out. But a couple seconds later, he was back in the bedroom and hopped back up on the bed. Again, he laid down in the same position and let me pet him. This repeated quite a few times, but every time he came back. I ended up laying with him on the bed for about an hour.

I really think that this is a huge step for Macho. Not only did he lay on the bed without shaking in fear, he let me pet him the entire time. I know that I have pet him every day since about the second week we brought him home, but unless he is in his cage, he will not let us touch him. So letting me pet him when he is not in the cage was very surprising to me. Since Nick's roommate moved out and Macho is the only dog in the house, he has been loving it. He is more brave, calm, and open to us. Lately he will come right up to us to see what we are doing, he licks our plates after we have eaten, and he comes out of his cage voluntarily now.

When I think about how much progress Macho has made since we brought him home, I sometimes can't believe that he was the same dog who shook in fear and sat in the back of the cage terrified of us when we went to the shelter to see him. We are starting to see his true colors, and that is the most exciting part of adopting him. To see this little dog show off his personality and play a little makes me so happy. Yesterday I even saw him wag his tail for the first time. These little steps in the right direction let me know that one day, Macho will be that dog that will let me cuddle and pet him whenever I want. I cannot wait to see little Macho Man showing us what is under his shell.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Growing in Trust and Confidence

When we first adopted Macho, I expected him to take a long time to come around. But the more time we spend with him, the more social he becomes.

I think Macho grows significantly over the weekend when we are home all day rather than at when we are at work for part of the day. Over this weekend, he came out of his cage, laid in the living room in his bed, and came up to us while we were hanging out on the couch. He comes out of his cage when we have guests, and although you can tell he is nervous, he will eat queso out of their hands. I think this is a huge step!

The cutest thing happened yesterday. Nick's roommate bought her dog a big raw hide bone. Macho was laying in his cage, and after only smelling the bone, he got up and came over to smell it. Five minutes later, I was in the kitchen and heard a little noise. I looked over, and Macho had stolen the bone from Dora and had it in front of him. Dora came a little later to take it back and left it in the living room. I went to sit back down in the living room, and the next thing I know, Macho came prancing over, grabbed the huge bone in his little month and ran away with it! It was so cute to see this bone in his month that is obviously too big for him. When Dora came to take it back for the second time, Macho stole it again and put it in his bed this time. Of course, I had to go to the store to buy Macho the same bone. I'm going to give it to him tonight. Hopefully he is as excited as he was last night.

I'm still trying to get Macho on a leash, but it's really not working too well. I'm hoping to try more this weekend. I get nervous because he gets very scared when we make him face his fears because sometimes he will be afraid of you for a couple days. But he always turns around and trusts you after some time. He was very afraid of me for a couple days after I clipped his nails. He did great, the noise of the clippers scared him, but other than that he was brave. But when I tried to do his left paws, he got scared again. I still have not been able to clip them, so hopefully that is something I can get to soon!

I just have to tell myself that it will take some time for him to truly trust us. I know one day he will, and I can't wait for it. I just want to cuddle him and be able to pet him while he is outside of his cage. But I know when that day comes, all of our patience will be worth it, and the reward of adopting this little guy will be better than we could have ever imagined.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Macho Introduction


Macho: The Beginning
From the moment I saw Macho's picture in the newspaper, I knew I had to adopt him. His photo was next to a story about a local situation I was somewhat familiar with. Although I knew that adopting a dog, especially one that was neglected and lived in horrible conditions, is a huge decision, I had almost made up my mind. I called the animal shelter, and he was still available for adoption. Excited and nervous, I made an appointment to meet this little guy that stole my heart. Meeting Macho was not all I expected. He stayed in the back of his cage, would not show any interest in us, and shook with fear the entire time. Needless to say, it broke my heart, and I knew then that I wanted to take him home. After a lot of deliberation, and a lot of tears, Nick and I decided that we wanted to give him a loving home.

Bringing Macho Home
Again, excited and nervous, we brought Macho home on January 5th. My excitement wore off after about 10 minutes when it finally sank in that this dog is terrified of us and his new home. For days he did not come out of his cage even though the door was left open for him. When he did come out, he would only stay out for a minute or two and would just sniff furniture or climb on it. He will eat cheese, or queso as we call it, and treats from our hands. After a couple days, he let us pet him while he layed in the cage. Day-by-day, these little progressions happened more often.

One Month Later
Macho comes out of his cage all the time now! I get excited when we come home from work because he is at the front of his cage ready to come out. I know it's probably because he has to go to the bathroom, but it still makes me happy that he doesn't like to spend all his time in the cage. He also has not gone to the bathroom in his bed/cage for weeks now. We take his bed out of the cage while we are home, and he likes to lay in the living room where he can see what we're doing. He is also very curious of what we are doing when we leave the room. He will come into the bedroom when we are both in there, and just this past weekend he jumped onto the bed and laid with us! He trusts us more and more each day, but is still not used to us petting or touching him while he is outside of his cage. I still have not picked him up or held him, but Nick has picked him up a couple times. He definitely does not like it. Now I am trying to get him to go on a leash. After hooking it on his collar and letting him walk around the living room a couple times, he is now terrified of it. Whenever I even pick up the leash, he runs away from me. I really think it will be good for him to get on a leash and go outside, but right now he is not having it. He hasn't been outside since we brought him home, so this is something I look forward to working with him on.


Pictures


Hanging out in the papasan


One ear always down :)



Getting really close to us!



More comfortable in his new home