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.