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Diego, welcome to the Montreal puparazzi

September, 2010

I’m a new mother for the third time. My 29-year-old and 31-year-old daughters will just have to get used to it. My new son is two and I had to go all the way to L.A. to adopt him.

His name is Diego and he’s a Chihuahua/miniature Pinscher mix. As you may have read on these pages, I’ve been looking for a smaall dog to adopt for months.

I visited my daughter, sister and niece Cleo for nine days in Los Angeles at the beginning of August and I got it into my head that I could just have a look at one of the shelters in the area to see whether they had my perfect dog.

Diego helps Shannon write her article.

Amy, my daughter, and Irwin, my husband, were less than encouraging. They thought it would be too hard to bring a dog into Canada.

We visited the downtown shelter three days before we were due to leave, after a lot of whining from me. Amy and I were overwhelmed by the number of small dogs in large cages, more than 30, barking and begging and crying to be let out.

We spotted one small black one sitting in a corner who was awfully quiet. A sign on the outside of his cage read: “HATES MEN.”

But he was so quiet. We asked for him to be taken out of the cage and Irwin was called in from the car, where he was holed up, to see whether this 6.5-pounder really hated men. Irwin held him and Diego seemed to like him.

He did look an awful lot like Becky, my giant Chihuahua whom I lost three years ago, when she was 14.

But what can I tell you? I fell in love. There was chemistry and I knew that I was going to take this little one home with me.

They make it easy to adopt in L.A. It’s only $100 including neutering and all shots. Canada requires proof of a rabies shot and proof of adoption when re-entering the country.

There are about a dozen shelters in the L.A. area and hundreds of small dogs are available. Californians say it’s because of the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua and the fact that stars seem to like them as decorations and toys.

Our Diego was given up after two years, ostensibly because he “hates men.” He certainly didn’t hate Irwin or Amy’s boyfriend Todd or my brother-in-law, Duncan. He loved Cleo and they were very gentle with each other.

Having a dog changes your life.

The trip back was delightful. We purchased a smallish carrying case and paid $125 to have him sit under my seat. He was so quiet I don’t think most of the passengers realized there was a dog in our row.

When we arrived in Washington for our four-hour layover, I discovered a room marked: Service Dog Rest Area.

Although Diego is not a service dog, I took a chance. There was a large area of artificial grass, a garbage can for poop, and a plastic fire hydrant in the middle of the “lawn.” As soon as the pup went on the lawn, I pushed a button and a spray of mist cleansed the area. Very state of the art!

When we arrived at Trudeau International Airport, our bag was missing and after an hour of Diego having to remain tucked in his case, we were told we had to go through customs and immigration. We waited in line for another hour to show the border agents his papers.

As we were about to be inspected, Diego started to cough loudly. He had coughed before, but not for a day or two!

By way of explanation, Irwin quickly introduced him to the customs agent as a rescue dog.

“He doesn’t look like he’s going to rescue anyone,” the agent said. Irwin clarified with: “No, we’re rescuing him.”

Happily, we got through the inspection and were finally home with Diego. Oh, and by the way, Diego also hates cats. Alas for Dimaggio. So far, we’ve had to keep them separated.

I do have a dog trainer coming n000000000000000000000000000 oops, that was Diego leaning on the zeroes.

Diego’s biggest problem is that although he didn’t bark at all during the time we spent in L.A., he started barking and growling big time when we got back, once he became comfortable in his new space—at every man he sees. Hopefully John the dog trainer will work wonders with him.

At last I have a home.

Deigo’s already worked wonders on me. I love walking him and showing him off. Having a dog changes your life. You look for outdoor restaurants that accept dogs and spend more time in nature, getting lots of exercise.

Oh yes, Diego is perfectly house broken and even goes on pee pads when pressed. As for winter, he’s already got his extra thick winter coat with a hoodie underneath for insulation. Boots are next!

And I’ll keep you posted on John’s success with getting Diego not to hate cats and men.

“Irwin was called in from the car, where he was holed up, to see whether this 6.5-pounder really hated men.”



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