Choosing the breed

On my quest to find my new puppy, the first step – naturally – is to choose which breed I’m going to go for. I knew right away I wanted a small breed. My previous dog, Jack, was a medium sized terrier mix, which isn’t big by any means. But it did come with some disadvantages. I’m in Europe, so most of my activities are either by foot, by bike, or by bus. For my dog’s safety, I often picked him up and carried him in my arms to cross busy streets and walk through crowded places. I got especially nervous when I saw lots of high heels around, ready to accidentally impale my dog’s paws. When you’re carrying roughly 26 pounds in your arms (about 12 kilos), you quickly realize that there are certain places you just can’t take your dog to.

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After a lot of going back and forth between pinschers, bichons, small poodles, chihuahuas, pugs, yorkshires, and what have you, I finally settled for chihuahuas. They tick all the boxes for me. Tiny, lightweight, easy to work with, extremely sociable when properly trained. And did I mention they’re tiny? Plus, you have to admit, Jack kind of looked like a giant chihuahua, so I feel quite drawn to brown dogs with big ears :-)

My poor Jack had to fly in cargo when I traveled with him. It broke my heart, and I never wanted to put us both through that again. Now here’s the wonderful thing about chihuahuas (or any tiny breed for that matter): they’re allowed to fly in cabin. If you’re flying internationally, you obviously have some paperwork to worry about. But if you stick to domestic flights – or in my case, within the European Union – traveling should go like a breeze. I say *should* because I’ve never dealt with this first hand.

Then comes the question: where to buy? I don’t really have an answer to this yet. All my previous pets were rescues, so my first reflex was to check out shelters. To my biggest surprise though, shelters in Northern Europe are nothing like those I saw in the States. They don’t seem to have tiny breeds here like I’m looking for (except for an odd one here and there, but not a single chihuahua); and I started looking about 7 months ago. So I think it’s safe to say at this point that my next pup most likely won’t come from a shelter.

I think the other responsible option would be to check out registered breeders who have all their paperwork in check, and also should assure genetic diversity to minimize potential health risks. I’ve heard about pro breeder chihuahuas living up to 20 years. This would be awesome, obviously. I would have loved for my Jack to live two decades. He didn’t even reach the 10 year mark. So I can only hope my next pup will make it a little longer than he did. I can’t go through this ordeal every 8 years, it’s too heartbreaking. Which is another reason to think carefully right now before I settle for anything.

I definitely still have a lot of homework to do. I’m thinking about adopting in Spring 2014 at the very earliest. Or, ideally, after Summer 2014. It should be plenty of time to prepare the arrival of my next little companion!

♥︎ Lisa

Slowly closing Jack’s chapter

I wanted to create this blog with a special thought in mind for my first dog, Jack, who passed away on May 8th 2013.

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I got him when I was 21 years old. He left us way too soon, at the age of 8 and a half, and I feel like I will never stop missing him.

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The grieving process was hard. He was with me 24/7, which is more than any human ever is; including my husband. From the moment I woke up till the moment I went to sleep, and even while asleep, he was right there next to me. We did absolutely everything together. So when he passed away, my whole life fell apart. My daily occupations and habits suddenly came to a halt. I had to reinvent myself a new routine without him, after nearly a decade. I missed my little buddy. I realize that me being a stay-at-home basically put me in that position of having such a tight bond with my dog. Much more so than people who are out and about at their job all day. I literally lost a part of my being and was inconsolable.

After he died, I knew fairly quickly that I wanted to get another dog. But I realized that I needed to give myself at least a year to grieve properly. You can’t start a new chapter if you’re still dealing with the previous one. It’s hard, because I miss the company of a dog by my side every day. But it’s a necessary step. I also want to give myself time to prepare the arrival of my next pup. Jack came to me quite unexpectedly, and he was my first dog. So needless to say that the first year of his life was a chaotic mix of improvisation and learning, since I knew absolutely nothing about dogs. I also couldn’t believe how fast he grew up. I feel like I hardly got a chance to take pictures of him as a puppy. Within 6 months, he was already full grown.

This time, I really want to have everything perfect and ready for my new little companion. I also promised myself I would not settle for just any dog. It will have to be the right one for me. I mean, if I’m going to be spending the next decade with this little creature by my side at all times, it better suit me a T. That’s when the idea of creating this blog came to mind. I have a photo album of Jack filled with pictures in chronological order from when he was a puppy, up until the last week of his life. It’s a great keepsake. But this time around, I want a diary of our journey together with tons more pictures than a physical album could ever hold. I want every little moment captured, along with detailed accounts. And I want to share it with the world, instead of keeping it locked up in a cupboard.

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Time goes by so fast. The sad reality we have to face when we adopt a pet is that we’ll most likely outlive them. They’ll be part of our lives for 10, maybe 15 years if we’re lucky. Every day is a blessing. Every day counts. So here’s to the past, the present, and the future. May time be captured here so that all those precious moments can be cherished forever.

♥︎ Lisa

And this is my beginning

I figured it was time to start this blog today. No exciting news to share, no particular reason. The timing just felt right.

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I think I’m now at a place in my life where I start to have a clearer sense of direction. Just sort of emotionally letting go of certain things that were really weighing me down and holding me back. Like my dad’s passing, and then my dog, Jack. I lost my father and my little four legged buddy in the span of one year and a half, all jumbled up in between other stressful situations. It’s been a lot to take in and process.

I knew in my heart I wanted to focus on new projects and ideas. But I also realized I needed to give myself some time first to deal with everything so that I could properly move forward from that point on. These things take time, and there’s no way around it. My inspiration really suffered from it over the past two years. This can’t go on forever. It’s time to turn the page and get back into the swing of things.

There are so many things I’m looking forward to in 2014! I feel like it’s going to be a fresh new start. Some projects that have been dragging their feet for years will finally be completed, and some totally different projects will get started. I have no idea yet where any of this will go, but as long as it goes forward, it can only be good!

♥︎ Lisa