I read the book from cover to cover: HOW TO HOUSEBREAK YOUR DOG IN 7 DAYS. The whole concept was to teach Fifi to eliminate in the outdoors, or in any place of MY choosing.
I never thought I’d want to own a Chihuahua, those little yappy, bug-eyed creatures that seem to hate most of the universe, except their immediate alphas. Then our live-in daughter, Angel, and sons Peyton and Jensen brought a tiny white puppy in that night (Peyton’s tenth birthday gift).
Peyton had her hidden under his coat and when she poked out her little white face with the black eyes, nose, and mouth, I was mesmerized. Of their own accord, my hands reached for her and I heard myself crooning “ohhh, how sweeeet.”
Hubby Lee, a landlord with a history of pet-destroyed rental units, had previously laid down the law, “Absolutely no pets!” And since he didn’t particularly care for animals, his iron-clad edict extended to his own “castle”.
Tonight, he narrowed his eyes at me, then at the others, his brain tallying up “mutiny”. Certain we’d ganged up on him, (though I’d not been in on it) he left the house in a disgusted huff. Angel sighed. “I’m sorry, Mom. I thought he’d take one look at her and be as hooked as us.” She took the puppy back to the dog breeder. Peyton cried buckets.
Next morning, I awoke to find Lee standing over the bed, already dressed, looking uncertain. “Do you think I overreacted?” he asked.
“You were just being honest,” I hedged, knowing when to curb my words.
He paced a few steps, muttering and insisting, “they wouldn’t take care of her.” I kept silent. He finally stopped pacing and peered at me, clearly aggravated. “You make sure they take care of her, okay?” I nodded.
I watched him cave. “Tell them to go get the danged puppy.”
Tiny Fifi followed him around like a shadow. We watched Lee stubbornly ignore her for several days. And then one day, I noticed she lay in his easy chair beside him, knowing that even though he still wouldn’t look directly at her, he’d hoisted her up beside him. Then the day came when I spotted her lying across his lap like she belonged there, with his fingers unconsciously ruffling her hair as he watched TV. I grinned and kept silent.
“Have they fed her?” he began asking, taking on the duty of keeping her puppy Kiddles replenished and her bowl filled with fresh water. Actually, his prophecy of the kids getting bored with her had already come to pass, firing up his protectiveness and giving him a mission. The car rides came soon after and trips to the post office where everyone knew her. Within six months, Lee was convinced that he was the only one who could adequately care for her and asked Angel to sign her over to him, which she willingly did with Peyton’s blessing.
Because, you see, they saw what I did. This connection between Lee and Fifi brought about a profound change in him. He’d never been an animal lover like me. Now, all that changed. He felt a miraculous link with this ridiculously tiny creature who gazed at him with liquid dark eyes that adored him simply because. She demanded nothing and gave everything.
His awe now extended to all of God’s creatures, both great and small. The miracle of God-breathed life fascinated him. Fifi became his.
The rest is history.
Now, back to the housebreaking. We did all the right things, the main one being to take Fifi out immediately after her meal. It worked! About 50% of the time. We discovered that puppies are smarter and wiser than us. Outdoors, they take time to smell the flowers, leaves, shrubbery, grass, mulch, sticks, rocks, cans and anything dead or alive that doesn’t bite their nose.
Fact is, Fifi’s nose is her busiest member. Her most expressive are her ears, which slick back when she melts into a guilty heap plastered flat to the floor, a reaction following one of her ‘accidents.’ Many times after she’s been ‘walked’ and has been so engrossed in inhaling everything in her path that her ‘business’ is forgotten, she comes indoors and within moments, those big brown eyes whimper oops! Sorry about that!
Nobody does guilty like Fifi, who hates to displease her alphas. ‘Bad girl!” says I while Lee croons, “Poor little thing. She can’t help it,” peels her from the floor and proceeds to comfort her while I do clean-up.
Yeh. He’s her greatest ally. Fifi’s doing much, much better these days. Time and persistence pays off. And maturity. She’s no ‘yapper’ and is good-natured and forgiving. Occasionally, we get busy and forget to rush her outside in time. No sweat. Science has come out with a marvelous spray called “Nature’s Miracle,” which it really is. Kills odor. And germs. So, the house smells fresh and clean.
And we get to enjoy Fifi, who lives to occupy our laps. Housebroken? Yeh, 90% of the time. It’s us who are ‘trained,’ actually, to get her out the door in time.
It’s a small trade-out in our Creator’s scope of things..
Because in this tiny creature, God perfected unconditional love.
Emily Sue Harvey is The Story Plant’s Author of the Month. This means we are offering sensational deals on all of her works. You can learn more at our website.