The Story of Chai

When I was 22 years old, I made the bold move to get a pup on my own. I was living between my parent’s house and my Aunt’s house because she was out of the country a lot due to some adoption process. Anyways, I decided that I would take care of this pup and train him or her to be an inside dog. For most of my life, I have only seen dogs live outside. Some in their tiny dog houses, others tied behind their master’s house, or a big group of them out in the wild. We called those wild dogs ‘boonie dogs’ because they would just come out of the boonies or jungles in Guam.

I met my first indoor dog, Sumo, through my friend Claire. She had him with her all the time. In her car, in her room, at our coffee hangouts…EVERYWHERE. I was amazed at how he knew how to urinate on a pee pee pad. That was my goal. I wanted to have a cute little doggy that would be with me at all times and go potty in a pad. With that being said, I don’t think I had the right motive and mind set when I set out to get a puppy.

BUT, to get a puppy I did…I knew I wanted a small furry dog (again…not the right motive and mind set!) I went between researching for a Papillon or a Pomeranian. I couldn’t decide…but, then I saw an ad in the Pacific Daily News for 8 week old Pomeranians for sale at $400 or $500 (I can’t remember anymore…) I called the number and the lady told me where to go so I can pick and choose one. Guess where the address led me to? A Korean restaurant in Tumon (don’t ask me why she had dogs in her restaurant!)

As I walked in, I saw the 4 puppies and the momma on the floor at the restaurant. The little pups were running around, however, there remained one at the food bowl constantly munching away on her kibble. Shem, my brother, was so amused by her because as the other pups were excited to play and greet us…she just kept chomping down her food. He said she belonged with us…because she would fit right in (our family does love to eat!) I thought that was a good observation and that is how we picked Chai.

For as long as I can remember, she loved eating! She would even fight others for her food. And don’t even get me started with the barks…every time my mom sat to eat…Chai would keep barking so she can get a piece of whatever it was she was eating. When I got a call a few weeks ago from my mom with the news that Chai had stopped eating…I already knew that her days were counted. Oddly, earlier this year, when I left Guam…I had this weird thought and feeling that could be my last visit with Chai around. After all, she was 15 years old! And, after three weeks of not eating as her usual self, she finally took a deep breath and rested for good. She survived two pregnancies, a major surgery, and old age!

When I got Chai, I never had planned to leave Guam. But, two years later, I applied for a job I wanted and sadly did not get. I talked about leaving Guam with my parents and setting out to do something better with my life, and they gave the OK! I was a bit sad leaving Chai, but I knew that my mom would be able to give her a better life than I could if I had taken her. Looking back, I’m glad I did that… for the sake of Chai and my mom. Chai filled the void my mom had of not having me around, and my mom filled the void for Chai. In a way, it was replacement therapy for both. They comforted each other, they ate together, and Chai would always be at my mom’s side. Countless hours of laying next to my mom, especially when her chemo treatments left her body so weak, Chai never left her side. Her presence will be truly missed, but the fond memories we have of her I will treasure forever!

Responsible Pet Parenting

Many pet parents have their views and ways of proper pet parenting. And, I’m not one to impose my views on others. However, I do find two things of utmost importance, and I  hope you do too!

  1. Always pick up your dog’s poop. No matter what!  I’ve used plastic bags, sandwich bags, and other items to pick up Brutus’ poop. Once, I walked up to a complete stranger and asked for a doggy bag. He gladly handed me one.
  2. Commitment. Having a pet, like a child, comes with great responsibility. It takes time, money, effort, and lots of patience. At one point, Winfred and I decided to end our lease early and move out of our place because our previous landlord gave us an ultimatum to either get rid of our dog or leave. We, of course, chose the latter. And, during that time, Winfred and I went through one of the most stressful episodes in our lives because we had to find a new place fast and lose such a bargain for our apartment.  However, it was unimaginable for us to abandon or put our dog up for adoption for the sake of pleasing her; even though we were greatly mislead. Anyways, with that being said, it is VERY important to know beforehand whether you can own a pet, and if so, if there are any weight restrictions or breed restrictions at your current place. Knowing these things will help you in becoming the committed and responsible pet parent that you possibly could be.
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A dog loving place-Santa Barbara, CA

This post is long overdue…regarding that one weekend in Santa Barbara, California.

We truly enjoyed this spontaneous weekend trip because we realized how dog-loving Santa Barbara was. We drove down on a Saturday and spent the remainder of the day at Arroyo Burro Beach. We are keen of that beach…and let me tell you why! First, there’s a section for dogs to be off leash (East of Slough,) and another section for dogs on leash. Second, there’s a self service pet wash station by the parking lot, as you exit. It was so convenient and affordable for us to have a great time with our dog, and bring him back to the hotel not smelling like a wet, filthy rag.

Our hotel, Kimpton Canary Hotel, was extraordinary! Great service through and through. They allow pets, especially one like ours, who weighed in at 120lbs. They made each one of us feel welcome, including Brutus. The hotel also houses a great restaurant, Finch and Fork, to have your special date night at. The hotel also boasts a beautiful rooftop pool that overlooks parts of Santa Barbara. Great area to lounge and have a few drinks.

The hotel is also conveniently located near many shops and other restaurants. The hotel lends you their bikes or you can walk. We walked since we had Brutus with us, and there were many places that offered outdoor seating. One such place was Tupelo Junction Cafe. Although the seating outside was limited, the hostess was very friendly and accommodating to let us know when the table would be available. We didn’t have to wait very long.

Overall, Santa Barbara is definitely one of those places that we would love to visit again and again because of their dog-loving ways. Its a place I can see us bringing Brutus to time and time again, without having to worry if he will be accepted because of his size or his breed. Its also one of those places that keep you interested because its not stodgy. Santa Barbara will always have something to offer… for just about anyone.

Training Tips that Worked for Us

Update: I drafted this post a few weeks back and just this past weekend Brutus was attacked by a Pit Bull while he was about to go on his walk. The Pit Bull broke free from his home and came at Brutus while my husband and him were about to go for their morning walk in the in-law’s neighborhood. We are observing Brutus and he is scheduled to see his vet this Friday.

Tip #1: Be consistent.

This is key for potty training and any type of training in general. When he was a pup, we had made sure that he always went outside right after a meal, before we went to bed, and right when we woke up. He knew that this was the routine and, although he had a few accidents, he quickly learned to potty outside. Also, we taught him to “ring the bell.” We made sure that before we opened the door for him to go outside and potty, he had to ring the bell. This, in turn, taught him that to get our attention to bring him outside…he had to ring the bell. And, it still works until now. He no longer has his bell, but paws the door stopper or anything near the door, to get our attention.

Tip #2: Be firm and let him know who is boss.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a tyrant. But, when he’s bad, You have to give a firm,”NO!” Don’t be giggling or laughing or smiling…because they will definitely think you’re playing with them, and not giving them a command.

Tip# 3: Praise him when he’s good.

Reward good behavior. Don’t emphasize so much on the bad behavior but know that when he makes you happy and proud…say the words, “Good Boy/Girl!” or even a gentle pet on his head or a treat.

Tip #4: Have play time.

This is part of being consistent, but when your dog knows he gets to have play time, he doesn’t get too crazy. For instance, he won’t run away from you or try to escape the house because he knows there’s no better place than being home with great masters.

These are the tips that worked for us…there are great dog trainers out there, haven’t tried any of them yet, but the way I see it…most of the dog’s behavior is a result of how the owner handles them. How much time we spend with them, how much love we show them, and the interaction we provide for them.

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