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!

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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