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Please note: The dogs in ODH's Final Refuge care are not adoptable due to medical reasons and all are in permanent homes. Your sponsorship supports the veterinary expenses for these dogs - and we thank you!

Niño arrived to our home a raggedy, 13 year-old Pomeranian Chihuahua pup with a chip on his shoulder. He was nervous and anxious, but hid it behind a pugnacious, I-can-take-care-of-myself facade. He didn’t appear to have lived with other dogs or cats, and spent the first days rebuffing friendly overtures from the two dogs already at the house. The cats were a complete mystery to Niño, and for whatever reason, one he quickly put into the “can be ignored” category, but the other had to be chased whenever Niño noticed him. With people, he was cautious, or even downright suspicious: treats and food had to be thoroughly inspected before he would eat.

We quickly realized that he *loved* going on walks. Whether he had actually been on walks before wasn’t clear, as he was reactive to everything, but it became a daily ritual that he clearly looked forward to. When I say Niño was reactive to everything, I mean everything—reactive to people walking by us, other dogs, bicyclists, people on motorbikes, baby strollers. So we set about trying to communicate with little Niño: you’re safe, and you don’t have to worry about all these things. And we learned from him: he’s mostly deaf and has partial cataracts so he startled easily, and just needed a heads-up that something was coming, or something was about to happen. Little by little, Niño learned that he could ignore all the things the flew by him (bicycles and motorbikes), that people were pretty cool, and his job is to sniff things and be a dog (he’s a BOSS at his job!). He’s still a bit anxious about other, bigger dogs, but he’s come so far that we can take walks on public trails and trust that he’ll be able to handle things.

At home, Niño has relaxed into a totally different dog. We believe that in addition to the Pomeranian and Chihuahua, he’s probably part Ewok, too. He romps daily, and zoomies are a common thing, happening multiple times a day. He doesn’t chase the cats, and he has a huge bed in front of the fire to nap on—although he likes the carpet, too. He can sleep deeply, without keeping an eye on his surroundings. He’s become my little shadow. He’s excited when we come home, and when he gets to go on walks. The best part of my day every day is at the end of our walk: as we turn into our (long, long) driveway, he breaks into a run and insists that we get through the gate as quickly as possible. Niño knows he is home!

Ready for my walk!

Home sweet home

Zonked after a day of zoomies

Niño is sponsored by:

  • Ann F. Lomeli of Whately, MA in memory of Herbert & Connie Futter - Lifetime Sponsor
  • Victor Nosce in memory of Klondike - Lifetime Sponsor
  • Brandy Stracener of Kirkland, WA - Lifetime Sponsor