I arrived home without incident and pulled up to the garage. One at a time, I brought the crates inside and took them upstairs to the bedroom. The door to the guest room was closed and I knew Steve had been asleep for awhile.
I set up a baby gate and created a private, safe space in the bathroom area for Mama and her babies. I removed the top half of the crate allowing Mama ready access to food, water and pee pads, and I dimmed the lights.
I turned my attention to Rambo [pictured], the terrified daddy of the puppies. Poor little guy. What a tough situation. He didn't know what was happening or where he was.
I approached his crate. He growled and showed me his teeth. Best to let him relax in the safe zone of the carrier. It was late. I got ready for bed and turned out the lights.
Steve had already left for work when I got up. I took Rambo's crate downstairs and into the garage. With the garage door safely closed, in case he decided to bolt, and with the leash still attached to his collar, I opened the crate. He flew out, as I'd anticipated, and as he did, I grabbed the end of the leash that trailed behind him. I slowly walked to the wall to press the button to open the garage door and he didn't resist. Off we went for a walk. Rambo relieved himself and stretched his legs.
We walked a few blocks and went to the front of the house. I picked up the mail from the mailbox, and then we headed around back to the open garage door. I proceeded to gently and respectfully ignore Rambo while I sorted through the mail and looked through the circulars (junk mail advertisements).
"Hello," I said to Rambo, about twenty minutes later.
He wagged his tail.
"You're a pretty boy."
And he was. Black and tan and tiny. Just 3 lbs.
"Come here," I coaxed.
I knelt and held out my hand and waited patiently.
He apprised the opportunity, and finally approached. He sniffed. He licked my finger. I reached under his chin and gently stroked him. I petted him for a few minutes and he was relaxed and calm.
We walked back into the house and I offered him some food and water, which he accepted.
He was really a very sweet dog, despite his macho posturing and defensive behavior. He wouldn't be right for everyone, of course.
I phoned Liraz's friend, Phyllis. She lived in the Inland Empire. We made arrangements for me to bring Rambo and meet her a few hours later at a gas station about 60 miles away.
Whew. By the time Steve learned that Rambo had been a guest in our home, Rambo would have already left.
I left just before Steve got home from work, and I called him. I shared that I was taking Rambo to meet Phyllis and explained that Phyllis was generously taking him in.
I had alerted Phyllis beforehand that Rambo was very scared and defensive and shared how he'd finally come around. She said she'd had lots of experience with scared little dogs, not to worry.
We met in the parking lot of a gas station. Rambo allowed her to pet him, then hold him. She stroked him gently while we chatted for quite some time basking in the balmy fluorescent haze of the station lights. Finally we felt it was time to transition. I gave her a blanket that I'd gotten from the family and we parted ways. I was very grateful to her and to Liraz for finding a safe haven for him.
Over the next few days, I gave Mama Chihuahua some space to just be with her babies and recover from the stress of being taken from her family. Slowly I gained her confidence and she allowed me to pet her. She was very vigilant and protective of her little ones, but gradually she accepted my touching and handling the babies.
I dubbed them Miki (the male) and Mini (the female). Their eyes were still tightly closed. They were just two weeks old. They were precious. I'd have plenty of time to find them a new home by the time they'd be ready for adoption. They were precious. I'd told Steve to give it some time. It would all work out.