Choosing a Breed
Montecristo is my first small dog, but I’ve owned larger breeds before, such as Belgian Bouviers. When my last Bouvier died, I went about 8 years without a dog for 2 reasons: their short lifespan was not something my heart could take anymore and I wanted to do some travelling - a LOT of travelling. Then, one day, I found out that small dogs could fly in cabin and I though “ok, well, that changes everything!”.
When I was researching small breeds, I stumbled across the Papillon and was about to get one, when I learnt that they are sometimes larger than the size permitted to fly in cabin. At this point, out of curiosity, I just googled “smallest dog” and the two that popped up were the yorkie and the chihuahua.
Yorkies were already out of the equation for me because of their high maintenance coat. As for the chihuahua, I had always pictured a short hair chihuahua in my head and although they’re beautiful dogs, they weren’t a breed that I was drawn to… until I saw a picture of a long hair chihuahua and thought… Hold up, that looks like a tiny Papillon!
And that was it. My long search was over.
Montecristo is actually not my first chihuahua puppy.
Before him, there was a puppy from the same breeder that I had named Hiccup (named after the movie How to Train your Dragon). Two days before I was supposed to pick her up, she had an accident where she was running very fast, took a bad turn, hit the door and snapped her neck. I was gutted and for a while, I didn’t know anymore. I was so heartbroken that none of the puppies really clicked with me.
Then, one day, the breeder messaged me about this puppy that she hadn’t posted yet. His litter mate was not allowing him to latch on and the breeder had been bottle feeding him, but he was fading.
One night, another female that wasn’t his mother gave birth to a still born pup. The breeder decided to try giving her Monte to see if she would accept him and she did! It saved his life.
When the breeder showed me his picture, I knew he was my dog.
“She kicked him out!”
As a result of all this, Montecristo stayed on the milk longer than most.
Normally, you can welcome your new puppy home at about 8 or 9 weeks, but the breeder wanted to keep him longer as he was still suckling - and this is how you know you’re dealing with a good breeder. She started training him and went above and beyond by even buying the same potty trainer we wanted to use.
She ended up keeping him a whole extra month before finally calling me saying: “It happened! He’s off the tit! She kicked him out!”.
I immediately booked a flight. The breeder had invited me to stay overnight and I got to see firsthand how well the dogs were treated and how loved they were.
My husband Stefan had never had a dog before so Montecristo is his first dog. When I came back home with Monte, he had balloons, cakes and “it’s a boy!” signs everywhere.
I had always inherited or rescued dogs before, but because my goal was to travel with my new dog, I decided to go with a breeder so I could properly train my dog to fly with me. It would have been harder to find a rescue that was not afraid of crowds, of loud noises, or to train one to wear protective gear. For example, Montecristo wears goggles when he’s on a scooter to protect his eyes, but he can because he’s been trained since he was young.
Monte took his first flight at 4 months when I picked him up. His first official trip was to Florida - a short flight to get him used to it. At that point, he was already used to noises, to crowds, to goggles, to cooling vests and we thought he was ready.
His first overseas trip was to Italy and we did a lot of trips to Europe after that because we find the flights there very easy to take with a dog. My favorite is the airport in Amsterdam. It’s a great place for a layover. The dogs are allowed to walk on a leash, they have an outdoor area for them to run and they’re just really set up for it (find out more on Montecristo’s Website - Montecristo Travels).
Monte and I have been flying together for 9 years now - 18 countries and counting. He is so chill about it and for him, it’s no different than hopping in the car.
Pompadour - aka Miss Cray-Cray
At 8 years old, Montecristo was starting to slow down and we realized he was bored. I would see him sitting on the couch, sighing, and I wanted him to reconnect with playing. I thought that if we waited any longer, it would be too late as he was already 8.
Pompadour is a local girl. When I got Monte, there were probably only 2 breeders in Canada that bred long hair chihuahuas. All the others were doing short hair and although I’ve always wanted to go with a Canadian breeder, the closest reputable breeder was located all the way in Vancouver. One day however, I discovered Josée Picard (Little Foot Chihuahuas) through another breeder and had been following her ever since. She was located in Montreal and Montecristo was about 4 years old at the time.
When I finally decided to get a friend for Montecristo, I contacted Josée and told her I was looking but I wanted to find the right puppy and therefore was not in a rush.
One day, she sends me this picture of a tiny little white ball of fierceness. Stefan had always wanted a skateboarding, tattoed, purple hair kind of gal - his vision of a daughter - and always said that if he had a daughter, they would go parkouring together and such. When he saw her, he said he wanted her right away. Pompadour is now very much daddy’s little girl and they fit so well together. We spend a lot of time saying “what’s in your mouth?!” - she is completely crazy and it’s been good for Monte. When we went to Costa Rica, instead of sitting in the shade with us, she spent her time running around on the beach and digging holes to China.
Pompadour is very much being raised by the three of us and Montecristo did a good 40% of the training. He potty trained her, he leash trained her, he has a job to do now! The first 4 months were rough as everybody had to adjust, especially Monte, but the love that they have for each other now is amazing. They are truly great together.