There is nothing more entertaining than a shock and horror story.  Fortunately, for us rescuers, there is always a shock and horror story more heinous than the last one we heard, just to keep this process fresh and exciting for us.  Ok, enough sarcasm...on with the story of our magnificent Valentino...who is now living life to the fullest, as Gringo of Manhattan.

This stunning male Miniature Pinscher completely stole my heart.  Gringo was owned by a whackadoodle collector who abandoned his pack of 12 dogs in a tenement apartment in Manhattan, when he was evicted. One month passed before the landlord entered the apartment to investigate a malodorous emergency.  She discovered the dog pack, half starved, traumatized and living in unspeakable filth along with a variety of vermin.  Instead of calling Animal Control immediately, the woman attempted to grab at the traumatized dogs, and she was bitten. Apparently, Gringo got his share of the blame.  She filed police reports, and then Animal Control interceded.  The dogs were taken to the Manhattan Animal Care and Control where they were all treated for health problems stemming from malnutrition and neglect. 

The rescue girls at the ACC immediately called Min Pin rescue...but, they were they usually are when dogs come along who have behavior quirks. I suppose you could call a bite history quirky... but we think it is business as usual for a dog who has been mistreated and is appropriately pissed off.   We have become accustomed to playing backup to Min Pin rescue....because of my well publicized Min Pin fetish.  I was not going to leave Gringo behind.  And so, we made our way to the Big Apple for a Min Pin adventure. 

Gringo was thrilled to meet me and to get out of the shelter, and we had quite the joyous ride home. He integrated beautifully with his new foster family, which included two gorgeous and Divaesque Min Pin girls.  We were seeking a special person to adopt Gringo, someone assertive and yet patient enough to allow him to relax and reach his untapped potential.  I was thrilled when Marina contacted me, eager to adopt Gringo.  Marina had been a Min Pin fan for sometime, having attended a few of the Manhattan Min Pin Meet-up groups, where Min Pin owners meet and greet with their Kings and Queens of the Toys Breeds. 

Marina was gung ho about adoption, and she had just the tough mettle needed to tackle Gringo, who, indeed, was a nervous boy, suspicious of strangers and men in particular.  When I met Marina, I was overwhelmed by his good fortune to live on a street known in Manhattan, as "Restaurant Row."  When I lived in Manhattan,  it seemed like the entire city was "Restaurant Row," but, to find such a melange of fantastic joints concentrated in one official street was too good to be true.  Gringo was going to be the little King of 46th Street...if he could behave himself. 

Marina was a big hit with Gringo.  He made himself at home right away, and 90 percent of the first two weeks were great.  Then, Gringo began to become a bit overprotective of Marina (who, by the way, is mighty self assured and needs no protecting!), and it took some tactical strategy to reign in this behavior. Any nipping or biting dog needs a diagnostic intervention.  There is always a damn good reason for the behavior, even though we humans may not understand it.  Gringo had not screwed up with us, in rescue, most likely because we are seasoned enough with troubled dogs to inspire their confidence.  The test with Marina would be channeling her inner Alpha Bitch to take control of Gringo and lead him into the fear free future.  And, really, how bad could a 14 pound dog be?  Ain't that the million dollar question?  Marina and Gringo's story is an inspiration to folks who need to work through issues with their beloved rescue dogs. Adopting a rescue dog is certainly a challenge...and a leap of faith...but, most problems can be solved with the right approach, and with good exercise and patience. 

Oddly enough, I visited a few times to do a Min Pin Pack walk, and Marina was relieved and surprised to see that Gringo was, indeed, the best behaved dog on the walk, as he strutted proudly in his sleek European styled walking jacket.  My Mystikal, on the other hand, managed to sit her rotund behind down square in the middle of 9th Avenue during the green light and refused to move. I had to schlep her two blocks on my hip. My dogs always make a spectacle of the breed, and it is a wonder that I have the nerve to tell anyone else how to problem solve their dog issues.

Our updates have been good, then dire, then excellent, and Marina reports now, that she and Gringo are "in love."  I knew it wouldn't take long....and I admit I am jealous, because Gringo is the one dog who knows how to show proper gratitude to the rescue schmuck who saved his life.  Every time I see him, he jumps shoulder height to give me a proper hello and Min Pin kiss. 

February 29, 2009

Hi Denise,

Gringo cried a little during the afternoon, but then he slept in my bed and he was ok. (anyway I'll get him a bed, let's see if I can convince him)  He barked a lot each time that people entered to the building....even at 4 am...(ufff motherhood! LOL!) and he's doing ok with the food and the walking.

I saw his behavior with other dogs and people, and till now, I just got some barking to some strangers, but nothing to worry about.  He got PARALIZED twice, when he saw 2 men, but he is going to be fine with me.

I bought that collar but I think he's not happy with something because he shakes a lot when he walks like something is annoying him.

Well, thanks for all your help and of course we can see you Saturday.

Thanks and a hug from us. 


March 29, 2009

Hi Denise!

How are you?  Well, now that we spent almost a month together,,,,I think that I can say that Gringo is not what I was expecting.  He can be very aggressive.  But, I don't want you to think I'm going to give up or something like that.  He behaves really bad with strangers, he has snapped at 3 strangers by the street -- The last was a guy yesterday, passing by beside us without even looking at Gringo, and the dog was really calm till that I can see is something random,,,or something that I cannot understand.

He adapted very good at my home and lifestyle, but is fair to say that he has snapped at me several times too... that is when he is in fear of something, like vet, bathing, or a fast movement of mine that he hadn't expected. He feels sorry right away each time coming under me, and looking for protection.

He cries all the time, and doesn't know how to play or interact with other dogs or humans. The only one moment (very short moment) that I see him happy is when I come back home, I give him a treat or I show him the leash to go out, the rest, is all sadness and crying..

I know this is going to be a long time work, but I think that I may need some help.

I was thinking about training, and at the pet store they suggested that you maybe can get me somebody good, related with the shelters and use to abused and adopted dogs.  I don't think that I can do this by myself.

Well, I'm sorry that I'm not bringing good news.....for the moment.

A hug from Manhattan

Marina (a little bit down and worry)

April 16, 2009

Hi Denise,

How are you?  Gringo is better, but still acting up on the street, I solved your way, simply muzzle, and we keep working on it. I have to say, I was very good to talk with you that time, because it helped me to understand (one more time), that the problem is the human, not the dog.

Thanks from Gringo!


May 15, 2009

Hi Denise!

What a surprise!

Not long ago I gave your e-mail to a mother's friend who was looking to adopt a dog, in CT.

About us I just can tell you that Gringo and I are in love.  I'd love you to write Gringo's story in your website, cause I saw Eskimos but not Min-Pin's.

A big hug, and we're always here!