The Players:

Yuuki in a meditation moment

Yuuki, star of the show. Captured from his life as a spy-chihuahua while on a top secret mission, the details of which remain unknown, Yuuki was held captive at an enemy camp known as “Animal Control” for a month before a $25 ransom was paid and he began his life as a “house pet.” Happy to leave the spy-life behind, Yuuki spends his days begging for food and walks, starring in silly YouTube videos and posing for photography, as well as regulating movement around his house. His human has informed him that he is on a “diet,” but he assumes this means he will continue getting his coveted pizza crusts and french fries. You might wonder about the subtitle of the blog. Yuuki is fat. And he is grumpy- but we’re working on that, and he’s getting friendlier with strangers every day. Current weight: 9.8 lbs.

Chilly’s close-up

Chilly, princess of the house. Born into a life of luxury, Chilly is the most genetically impressive Chihuahua you will ever meet. Though she’d rather spend the day sunning in the backyard or snuggled up to a willing (or unwilling, if it comes down to it) human, her talents are endless. Agility, obedience, noseworks– you name it, Chilly can do it! As long as it isn’t wet or cold outside, she’s up for any task. Her secret life she leads as a skittle-ninja. When her man-human forgets to put away his skittles bag, she manages to get rainbows all over the bed. She’s developed such a taste for them, she will attempt to use her telepathic powers through staring in order to get humans to share their candy. Favorite foods: gummy bears, skittles and cat poop. Current weight: 9.5 lbs.

Shizuka’s headshot

Shizuka, freelance hunter. First, but youngest, dog in the house, Shizuka is a lab-somethingorother (Basenji??) mix that believes she is a large Chihuahua. She has the athletic ability and intelligence to do any dog sport you can think of, but barely the attention span to last a minute. Her favorite sport is and always has been: hunting- her terms only. Shizuka prefers that other dogs chase her when she runs, and other humans watch her while she hunts. Her most prominent victories are the opossum casualties earlier this year. Not a scratch, thank you! Favorite foods: Japanese rice fresh from the rice cooker and rotisserie chicken. Current weight: 42 lbs.

And then there’s me. I’m Erika, and I’m writing this blog because my partner in life/crime is tired of listening to me go on and on about my dog and hedgehog craziness. It was his suggestion that I start this blog to record all the things I discover along the path to become a “good” dog owner, whatever that means in the end. Shizuka came into my life as the first non-passively “owned” (if we really “own” other lives) pet I’ve had. Of course, I had pets growing up, but she was the first pet I ever invested research and training time in. I’m fumbling my way through pet ownership, and I figured I’d document it for others I see who are on the same path. I’m not an expert, by any means, but I see other pet owners from time to time who aren’t quite as far down the dog-crazy path as me yet. Maybe I can help someone out there! Because this is my own journey, most of the content is focused around the Hampton Roads area of Virginia which we’ll be exploring on our quest to help Yuuki lose weight.

I’m also (very) not perfect, and this blog will be a testament to that and all the things I will do wrong in my quest to do right. First and foremost, my fat chihuahua has been on a weight loss plan for two years now. It’s time he actually lose the 1 pound his cardiologist suggested. Will it happen this year? We’ll see…I’d love to hear from you- we can learn together. You can email me, or Yuuki, at: yuukichihuahua@gmail.com and we’ll try to get back with you right away!


Recent Posts

Summer Petsitting and Other Projects

ImageI’ve really neglected this blog for a while. I think a winter of health incidents culminating in my doggy soulmate’s decline into congestive heart failure left me a little depressed in the pet world. Yuuki’s on the mend, as much as a 2-year tops life prognosis can be considered ‘mended’– maybe ‘stabilized is a better way to describe it– and our summer B&B doors have opened for the pets of all our friends. I actually really love petsitting because it gives me a chance to imagine what it would be like to have this or that in my life. Sugar gliders– interesting to watch, but glad I never allowed myself to get them. And I always love to host our big doofy husky friend pictured above, though I would never have a husky myself (neither would they, for the record, but their big old hearts couldn’t let him keep house-jumping). Right now, I’m learning the ropes of Box Turtle care, who I think is actually a little depressed his people are gone…is that possible?? 

Our newest summer project is a rescue chihuahua that’s entered our lives via a friend of a friend. I remind myself that Cesar Milan tells people, ‘You don’t get the dog you want, you get the dog you need,’ and I suppose this little guy is really going to push us to find our inner calm and help him out of his tormented shell- it’s dog rehab ‘intermediate’ level. He’s the worst little demon chihuahua (like the kind you see on the Dog Whisperer) I’ve ever seen in real life. He screams and thrashes if you try to pick him up, we have a leash permanently attached because otherwise we can’t get anything hooked to his collar because of his ferocious biting at the leash and alligator death-rolls (and to drag him around everywhere we go so he can’t hole up in a corner somewhere), he won’t take food from anyone’s hand, and just when you think he’s finally comfortable enough to receive petting, he snaps! He’s a mess– truly a mess. Dumped off on me at 9 years old because it was inconvenient for his owners to arrange for his move with them. I think that might be reasonable to say if your dog weighed 200 lbs, but not for 11 lbs of dog. Not for one you’ve had since he was a puppy. Oh, and I haven’t yet mentioned the crying. All dogs get depressed, in my experience, when their owners leave them with me for a little bit. For some, it’s a day or two, for others a week or two. It’s not always expressed in the same way. Some mope, some seem constantly looking for something. This one, he cries. He cries and cries and cries. Inconsolable puppy-like whimpering and mourning. They had no idea they would rip out his tiny soul and stomp all over it by leaving him here– not that we won’t be good to him. I don’t know how long it will last, but so far, two days of off-and-on sobbing. He knows they’re gone. They left him in a crate to watch while their friends and family came through to say goodbye. He’s not stupid. He is timid, insecure, uncertain of the world, and lacking self-esteem in a way I’ve never seen before. So he’ll be our summer project– our project for most likely the next few years. Who would take a broken soul like this one? He’ll just have to stay here for a while…


The new dog, Blitz(en)–because “blitz” sounds violent– wet from our walk in the rain

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