It is a point of pride here at Kitaco that we match the right puppy to the right owners before they leave us. We do not allow people to pick their puppy. Rather, we work with the owners to figure the right pup from them. This often means owners don't get the pup they have their heart set on (based on colour or gender), but the one we deem perfect for them. And it works, because inevitably they come back to us with the comment that we were 100% correct and their dog is so perfect for them, it was like we made it that way.
As anybody who has ever bought a puppy from Kitaco will attest, we have lots of discussions before allocating a puppy from a litter to a family. We want to know all about the life our owners envisage with their new fur family member, so we don't send the high-energy pup to the family who wants a couch potato or the couch potato pup to the family who wants to go trekking every weekend with their pupper. This is even more so when we place an older dog, because we absolutely know their personalities and what a perfect home for them might look like.
Such is the case with a pup we sent to Australia early in 2020. Because of the distance, there was little chance the dog could come back to NZ if the placement didn't work out, so we were very careful to listen to what the prospective family, Ian and Leslie, wanted in a pup, and their description of the life their dog would lead, to ensure we sent them exactly what they needed.
We learned during our many discussions with them that they wanted a sociable dog who would be happy to go on daily walks, interact with strangers with confidence and yet be quite the cuddle-bunny at home.
So we chose Mia for them, who seemed to fit the bill very nicely. She came from parents with excellent temperaments (this is so important as scientists believe temperament heritability can be as high as 60-80%), was an outgoing, confident pup, and a real cuddle-bunny, as well. Not only that, she had already been "stress-tested" (for wont of a better phrase) at an event for the NZ Chihuahua Rescue, where she was handled by scores of strangers and took the whole day and all those people squee-ing over her and wanting to love her to death, in her stride.
Naturally, we stayed in close touch with Ian and Leslie, who often share stories about Mia, how perfect she is for them, what a great ambassador for the breed she is, and more importantly, the positive impact she has on so many people in their lives, not just them.
According to Leslie and Ian, Mia is the "local therapy dog, providing happiness to so many people every day. Though she may not be certified because all the services are closed due to COVID, her work is to provide joy and happiness on a daily basis to others.
"So many people and children in particular after meeting her and spending time with her on our daily walk, have walked away saying that’s the kind of dog I want - a Chihuahua!"
Leslie and Ian live in an apartment and, without exception, everyone in the building loves her. She makes it very clear who her favourites are and gets very excited when she sees them. Leslie also tells us that Mia "has a special bond with a former defence soldier who suffers from PTSD and a number of other mental health issues. He greets her on our walks from time to time, or bumps into her in our building, as he lives in the same building, and he just melts when he sees her."
Even more touching is the other neighbour Ian and Leslie we met when they first moved in who suffers from high levels of anxiety. She had lost her 19-year-old Chihuahua just before she moved to the area. Leslie and Ian have been able to connect with her and have and built a great friendship through Mia. The neighbour's anxiety levels have reduced, she admits she is feeling a lot better because of Mia, looks forward to her daily visits, and now accompanies Mia and Leslie on her walks.
There were a few things, however, the Ian and Leslie didn't tell us. Like Mia would be allowed command of the TV when her favourite show comes on, or that if she wanted peanut butter sandwiches, then Ian, ahem, would drop everything to make them for her (let's not discuss the cake!), but these seem minor details in the grand scheme of things, LOL.
We are just so thrilled that our pup is living her best life, being treated like a queen, and is spreading the joy and love that only Chihuahuas can bring, to so many people. We can't thank Ian and Leslie enough for the wonderful job they are doing with Mia, and wish that every Chihuahua in the world could find such a perfect home when they leave their kennel for their forever family, because Mia, Ian and Leslie are what forever families are made of.