In March 2021, we were blessed with a beautiful litter from our own home-grown champion, Kyrie (NZ CH Kitaco's Valkyrie Warrior) and our beautiful Ren (Salinacruz Renaissance). We had 4 puppies and named them after the Teletubies, confident their new owners would rename them, once they went to their forever homes.
Not so much. We kept Dipsy and renamed her Sophie (although in hindsight , Dipsy suits her just fine) and placed her in a Guardian home where she is spoiled rotten. Po became Dave and we planned to keep him as a show dog until he started to look at judges like they were a food source. We decided a pet life for Dave was best and he is living his best life now as a pamperd pet in the North Island, something we are sure the NZ Dog Judging fraternity is relieved to hear.
That just left Laa-Laa and Tinky.
Our process for placing puppies is a time-consuming one. Once we have a litter on the way, we first contact the people on our waiting list. Some will be ready for their pup, some may want to wait or want something very specific (colour, gender, show-quality, etc). Once we've done that, if we still have pups, looking for homes, we go back over the puppy requests we haven't had time to respond to and reach out to these people, to see if they are still looking for a pup.
Some will have found a pup elsewhere and some will be very excited and we'll then talk to them about what they want. This also means they may fall into one of the categories above (not ready, specific requests, etc), so it doesn't always result in finding a perfect home.
And then sometimes - more often than you'd believe - fate seems to intervene.
Such was the case with Tinky and Laa-Laa. We had one home lined up with a lovely and very active family in the North Island and had pegged Laa-Laa as being the perfect dog for them (which has totally proved to be the case) and Tinky.
Right from the start, we were of two minds about Tinky. She was a gorgeous pup with a fabulous head and great construction but she is descended from the "Niki No Fluff" line, we'd already decided to keep Sophie and there really is a limit to how many dogs you can keep and still ensure they have the quality of life they deserve and not become a "kennel dog" hence the immeasurable value of a good Guardian home (and we are blessed with several) where our can dogs live as pampered pets in their forever homes right from the get-go, and only have to come back to us when they're needed for breeding or showing.
We were still humming and hah-ing about Tinky's future, when we got a call from a lovely lady named Debra who had a very sad tale about how her last dog, a Chi-cross named Layla, had recently died and she was bereft without a Chihuahua in her life.
We are total suckers for a sad tale and cannot bear the thought of someone without a Chihuahua in their life so we invited Debra out to visit the puppies (who she'd been stalking online), thinking maybe, if she seemed like a good fit. she might be the right home for Tinky. We didn't tell her that. Just invited her out for a visit. She might have been a complete loon, for all we knew, so we never commit to anything until we've ruled out the possibility that she was a serial killer, or worse, someone who puts pineapple on their pizza.
Unbeknown to us, Debra had absolutely fallen in love with Tinky's photos online, was desperately hoping she was the pup we said might be available, and she was beside herself at the thought that we might not think her worthy. (We know this because Debra has become a great friend in the past year, and we laugh about this all the time!)
So Debra arrives in her Sunday best (with her mum - who had been telling her all the way out to our place that she needed to act like a lady, LOL). We have a coffee (bad move on our part - Deb is a coffee afficianado and we served her instant! Yikes!), talked about contracts and what she would get with a Kitaco pup. She seemed a lovely potential owner and her mum was nice too, and then we mentioned the pup available was Tinky.
Debra burst into tears.
That sealed the deal, really, Tinky was only about 8 weeks old so Debra had to wait an agonising 4 more weeks before she was on our doorstep on the designated day to take her new baby home.
From that moment, Tinky must have thought she'd died and gone to heaven. Not only was she living in a fabulous new home with stairs to run up and down (woo hoo!) a nana's lap to sit on as well as Debra's knitting to destroy, Debra's two gorgeous granddaughters come for regular visits to play with her and she has a talking parrot named Wiggly for company.
Debra proved to be the gold standard of Chihuahua owners. She signed Tinky up for Puppy Pre-School (Tinky graduated with honours, natch), never missed a playgroup and took her for progressively longer walks. She socialised her and loves her and Tinky just thrived under her fabuous care.
So all was well in the world and other than lamenting occasionaly that we'd sold the wrong dog (did we mention how dipsy Sophie turned out to be?) life moved on. Then we had an Open Show at New Year and asked Debra if she'd like to enter TInky. She'd never been in a show, but she had a fabulous temperamant, walked well on a lead, and was getting more and more like her father every day.
Debra said "why not" so she joined Dogs NZ, entered Tinky and ended up winning Best NZ Bred in Show.
Well, that made us take a step back. We asked Debra if she'd like to keep showing Tinky. She'd had a blast at the show (the Dominion Chihuahua Club shows are so much fun) so she said yes.
On Tinky's next outing, with no formal "show training" and a completely novice handler, she beat Ava and took Reserve of Breed in a field of 19 other Chihuahuas! Deb cried that day, too, LOL.
That was January 2022. It is now December 2022 and our gorgeous little pet is (Dogs NZ approval pending) a Champion show dog, henceforth to be known as NZ CH Kitaco Mastermind.
We have no words to express how happy we are for Tinky and Debra and how impressed. This dog has never done a single day of show training. She is a beloved pet and the most fabulous example of what you get when every is just there. A confident temperament, a fully engaged owner and great connection between the two of them.
We joke a lot about Tinky always being the bridesmaid to Ava's bride, but that's actually not the case. She's won over Ava plenty of times and along the way to becoming a Champion has racked up an impressive list of wins including a Best Junior in Show. a Best of Breed and 8 Reserve Best of Breed titles against some really stiff competition.
Oh, and along the way, Debra has become quite a tidy little handler and walked Ben out so well in the line-up in Dunedin at the weekend she took Reserve of Breed with him, too
We are so thrilled to welcome Tinky to the ranks of Champion and can't wait to see what else she can do in the future.