“F” is for …

Food Lady’s Fabulous and Furry Fun House!

This is the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, who are currently living on my dining room bar table.  They were living on my dining room floor, but a certain terrier figured out how to shove her nose between the wire top and plastic bottom of the Kittytat and use her anteater tongue to snake their kibbles, so they moved up in the world.

I brought these siblings home from work because they are so itty bitty, lost as they were in a sea of giant cats and older kittens.  We don’t have a lot of free time at work to play with the cats or anything, so I thought exposing them to a home environment and dogs etc would be good socialization for them.  However, they are SO small I fear for their safety underneath all the feet and teeth around here, so they are living in a guinea pig cage until they are a little larger.  They are maybe 4 or 5 weeks old?  I’m not fantastic at guestimating kitten ages.

This is the female:

She makes me laugh … the first day they came in I said “hey there little guy” at the cage door and she *hissed* at me with the teeniest, most unscary hiss ever.  She’s a shoot first, realize she is afraid later kinda cat.  She’s friendly now, but you can’t get a purr out of her for any amount of money.

This is her brother:

 He’s shyer than she is, but always has some motorboat noises for me.  He’s cuddlier, and doesn’t hiss at the dogs.

When they are more like 9 or 10 weeks old, I’ll bring them back to the shelter to get neutered and adopted.  But for now, they just need some names.  Any ideas?

“F’ could also stand for “What the F*CK is that, cuz it sure ain’t a dog!”

This is Tink.  She is a 3lb “PomChi” (*vom*) that was an unclaimed stray at the shelter, and she was TERRIFIED.  Imagine being 3 lbs and stuck in a cement and metal kennel surrounded by GIANTS, some of them big and hairy and LOUD, and some of them with fleshy, stinky hands that keep trying to hoist you in the air.  She hasn’t bitten yet, but she was so worried that *I* was worried a bite was coming.  And a bite never bodes well for a shelter dog, even if it’s from a little teeny mouth.  So I brought Tink home too.

My goal is to turn her into a real dog so she will be adoptable.  However, I’m not entirely sure that’s possible.

For starters, real dogs are not tinier than chickens.

Secondly, she doesn’t act like a dog.  Whenever she gets confused about something, or undecided what to do, she starts turning in circles.  it’s kind of disconcerting.  Is this an abnormally small dog thing, or is she mentally challenged?

She’s a weird creature.  She is completely anti-social, both with me and the other dogs.  Well, first she screamed at the other dogs, and now she just ignores them completely.  She ignores me too, unless I try to pick her up and then she might make some teeth at me, although she never follows through (because I always pick her up when she makes teeth at me).  She doesn’t like to be picked up, and she doesn’t like to be on the ground either. At least not outside.  She likes raw food, and hot dogs.  That’s about all she likes.  I cannot imagine what kind of life she must have lived before she ended up at the shelter.  I also can’t imagine how anyone could have lost her, because I assume if she snuck out of their house or something she would have just started turning in circles, so she should have been easy to catch!

She is so little that when I brought her home yesterday, TWooie wasn’t even bent out of shape.  I’m quite sure he didn’t even realize she was a dog, because he just looked at her and went about his business like she wasn’t there.

Today he has finally worked out that she is, in fact, a dog, and he’s only a little pissed off about it.  He even let her wander the house all morning unmolested, which is unheard of in TWoosville.  If anything, his brother’s nose is a lot more out of joint about it than his.

Everyone else is just confused.

Except for Dexter.  I am certain he has not even realized she is in the house yet.  He has paid her no attention whatsoever, even when she walked over top of him in her quest to escape the vacuum.  Kind of the same way he pays no attention to me on an agility course.

But wait!  Dexter HAS started paying attention to me on the agility course.  Last night in class Auntie Fiona asked who the ringer for Dex was that I’d brought to class, because he’s like a whole new dog.  All of our hard work and short sequencing is paying off.  He ran a whole course, clean, and I didn’t even bust out the tuggie toy, or break the course up into small, manageable sections.  We just tried running the whole thing and he went everywhere I asked, paid attention to my body language and was generally a very nice partner on the course.  It’s a miracle!

Maybe one day we will even be able to trial again.

It’s the middle of July and the weather has returned to “frightful” so I think it’s a hot-bath-and-a-book kind of afternoon, so I’m signing off.  But if you’re looking for a PomChi/weirdly small dog, let a sistah hook you up, and drop me an email!


  1. Little dogs….not much experience with them, but, my BIL’s shitzu does the circle thing occasionally, but my uncle-in-law’s rescue Pom doesn’t. Course said rescue Pom wants to kill Apollo who’s more than 10 times his size, so…..

  2. Treat her like a dog and she will become a dog.

    She’s adorable and with a little work she will come around. Also, bite inhibition is a good thing. Good girlie.

    I was just talking to a guy who’s fiance wants a pom, and I said ‘You should check out petfinder’ but he seemed unenthused by the whole idea (and we are in Phoenix, which might be a trick with the home visit logistics…. and they already have two chis, which he feels is plenty of dog for their household… )

  3. Candace Battles says:

    My 15 yr old JRT is exhibiting signs of Autoimmune Encephalitis….no concrete diagnosis, but she does the circling until it ends up becoming vestibular like without medication, her eyes shift to the right, the one difference is if I pick her up and brace her head, the symptoms go away…immediately. She is on prednisone, she has also started losing balance a little more stumbly, so I increased her pred dose and she goes back to normal. Still some circling but manageable for her…she will circle two or three times then straighten herself out. She also will circle in both directions but the majority of the time it is to the right.
    There is information on the intranet about this disease, little is known why, but it seems to affect small dogs and Chihuahua’s were on the list of breeds that are prone to this disease, as were terriers.
    It also may be a behavorial issue, that she developed not unlike OCD in humans?
    Concrete diagnoses involves a MRI…
    I tried to post a link but couldn’t, however if you type in Autoimmune Enchephalitis in dogs, it should bring up the info I found…
    She is a cutie pie…I hope she finds a good home!

  4. Nancy Drew & Hardy Boy.
    BAM! I named your cats!

  5. Oooo, I like Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy. My suggestion would have been Elsa for the girl, after the lioness on Born Free. If you like the idea of lion names for the pair, the boy could be Clarence, after the cross eyed lion.

    I wish you all the best with them, and you’re doing a wonderful thing.

    And way to go Dexter!!!

  6. I think the circling is likely a compulsive behavior. I also have a strong suspicion that little PomChi may have never lived in a house before. Imagine being stuck in a dog run or a crate all day. All you would have to do to entertain yourself would be either spinning or chewing on yourself.

    But as Jenn says: treat her like a dog and she’ll figure it out. Especially with other dogs around. Give her a routine, good meals, and she’ll start realizing that you aren’t so bad. I definitely think it was good you pulled her from the shelter. A shelter is no place for a neurotic small dog, not even a shelter with enough staff/volunteers.

    Been a while since I worked cat room at the shelter but I’d say 4-5 weeks sounds about right for your little pair. Teeny kittens hissing always made me laugh too. So fierce!

  7. You had me snorting coffee through my nose and on my keyboard with “Itty Bitty Kitty Committee”, LOL.
    I’m not a cat person, but that little female kitty is a-do-ra-ble. :-)

  8. First an adorable puppy, now adorable kittens. Baaaad Food Lady! Our house is full with our existing menagerie, but WANT!
    I will not get another dog until Gizmo is gone. I will not get another dog until Gizmo is gone. I will not…

  9. No, not a small dog thing. I have three and know lots more so speak from some experience. Mine aren’t *that* small, they are in the 15lb range. 3lbs is a pocket dog…

    Sounds vey much like what I know of puppy mill dog behavior. Not social, terrified, blank (never taught anything) and neurotic behavior that matches being in a small, confined area eternally and nowhere to turn except around, and around and around.

    Good luck with her. None of my dogs act like annoying “small dogs” because I treated them like dogs. Do the same for her and she’ll come around. Though I would hate to have to watch my step that carefully with her in the house! Really, what do people think breeding dogs that small?

  10. The kittens are soooo cute!
    As to the dog- I have 5 Japanes Chin dogs. This breed is well known for “chin spins”. It’s kind of cute, when they are excited about getting a treat or a pack member coming home they spin like tops! They don’t chase their tails but they spin in circles. I’ve had several Chins over the years and they have all done this. Don’t know if it’s a little dog trait or just a Chin thing though.

  11. I have a 3 1/2 pound chihuahua/ jack russel mix named Belle. She doesn’t do the spinning thing, but she’s a wierd little dog in her own right. She always seems very nervous, unless she’s under a blanket, where she becomes quite brave. We got a jack russel last year, and while Belle absolutely hated her at first, and seemed to always be on the verge of a nervous break down the first month or two, the two of them seem to be getting along better now. It actually seems to have made Belle a braver little dog, and she now acts more like an actual dog. She’s always been an indoor dog, and not spent much time with other dogs before, so I don’t think she knew how a dog was supposed to act before. Now that she has Josie around, she seems to have figured a few things out, though she still has her little quirks, but don’t they all.

  12. Oh, Food Lady, how you cracked me up with the size comparison to the hens. Hmm, but what if you just have giant chickens?!!!! LOL. Anyway, about the circling thing, our JRT mix does it, too. Usually when he’s kinda frustrated about something – like when he’s told off for barking at something or when he’s not allowed to follow outside the gate. For our dog, it’s like a mini-temper tantrum of some sort. You’re probably the only hope for the pomchi to receive some socialization it seems to be severely lacking. Good luck!

  13. My foundling Brittany does the circling thing when upset/overstimulated/insecure/etc.
    My niece the school psychology major says it’s a coping mechanism – she says the little unsocialized children do the same thing.
    Anyway, the circling has decreased dramatically over the past year as Jamie’s gotten more comfortable.
    I hope the same happens for the PomChi.

  14. Little black kitty…Slocum don’t know why, just popped into my head.

  15. Other Becky says:

    The circling thing reminds me of the Simple Dog (at Hyperbole and a Half).

    And honestly, I’ve always been of the opinion that “extremely small” and “mentally challenged” often co-occur in dogs. I mean, consider the brain size of a 3 lb dog.

  16. I have a chi that’s 5 lbs and I’ve never seen her do the spinning thing. I’ve dog sat a few of them over the years and none of them did it either. I don’t think it’s normal unless it’s a learned behavior from living in a crate or something? Hope she comes around soon!

  17. Love the kitty committee! Just an FYI, on average, most kittens weigh around a pound for each month of life for the first few months.

  18. Gosh, those kittens are cute! How about Widget for the girl and Fig for the boy? Wow, Tink is a tiny little thing. I agree with what Adrienne said earlier – her behavior sounds a lot like what puppy mill dogs do. That was my first thought when reading about her. She isn’t used to handling and doesn’t look to people or other dogs for anything and doesn’t seem particularly socialized. Also, the spinning in a tight circle can come from being keep in a crate or small pen where that is all she can do. Does it look like she’s been bred?

  19. All the poms I’ve encountered do the spinning in circles when neurvous or happy. Of course I’ve only met shelter dogs, don’t know if that matters.

    I love the kittens!

  20. Catherine says:

    Just helped successfully foster a 5lb Chi and a 6.5lb Chi-Ter. The Chi, from a hoarder, lived in a crate and had many lousy habits, knew nothing about a house, but didn’t do the spin thing. If any dog earned the right to be neurotic, that one would have. The Chi-Ter – no idea on the background, didn’t spin. But we can share stories about trying to get a Chi to be a “big dog” which we’d tell her to do regularly.

    – How are the potty habits? If it goes outside, it had a home at some point, because that doesn’t seem to be instinct for Chi’s, at least not those from mills/crates/neglect.
    – It looks like it’s fine in wet grass… count your lucky stars, it means it actually has seen water before.
    – Does it like to ride in a purse or jacket? (not carried in your arm).
    – Does is like sleeping under the covers? The Chi did not care for hubby at all… unless they were snuggling under the covers, in the dark.
    – Recall? Leash behavior? We ended up with a harness because of reverse sneezing or collapsing trach, or whatever – she didn’t cough when in a harness.

    Good luck with the little monster… and if you decide to present her to the sadist as his next prospect, make sure to get pictures of his expression!

  21. A friend of mine has a pom who circles, but she says it’s cage behavior because she was used for breeding at a puppy mill before my friend rescued her.

  22. Michelle says:

    Hmmmm….I have a tiny pom that does the circle thing only when she’s excited (dinner, when she’s going out etc), our other Pom did it too. But it could also be a vestibular thing, we had a very elderly pom that we rescued that started circling, and eventually took to basically tucking her head down in between her back legs…she ended up being extremely ill (not sure with what exactly) but it was kidney failure that was the final straw and we had to put her to sleep after having her for 3 weeks…at least she was loved for that whole three weeks!

  23. TOTALLY reminds me of Simple Dog, Other Becky! IMH experience, small dogs such as Chi’s and Pom’s (and Pap’s) do acquire the spinning behaviour for a number of reasons. Not necessarily a tell of what her background was as I’ve seen it in all situations and from all kinds. However, yes – best advise is to treat her the same as you treat the other dogs. She is a dog before she is a Pom-Chi, even though her confidence and experience sounds like its really lacking. Personal observation is that small dogs need to have routine in order to be settled.

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