Miguel is a 10 year old Chihuahua who is friends with Kyra. He’s probably the dog, other than Kyra, that I’m closest to and I half-jokingly call him my little dog-nephew.
I also call him Miggy, MiggyBug, Bug, Bean, Miguelito, Miggaroo, Miggerillo, Migstache. He has many names. He doesn’t answer to all of them but we’re working on it.
His parents adopted him from a shelter in Cyprus only a month or so before we adopted Kyra, so he was one of the first other dogs we met.
At first Miggy hated Kyra and I don’t blame him – she’s huge and ridiculously muscley next this the little guy. Plus, with all her running and bouncing around, I can see why she intimidated the little bug. He barked at her, she ignored him and we learnt that he’s an adorable grumpy old man.
A few months on and Miggy began to get less scared of Kyra and tolerate her more. I started to babysit Miggs some times and take him out for toilet breaks. A couple of times he came over to ours. Kyra didn’t really care too much but Miggs was petrified at first – he didn’t want to come into our flat and when he did, he sat in one place on the sofa shaking.
After a little while he did build up more confidence. He found my blanket and snuggled into it, he had some snacks and he spent a lot of time snoozing.
Over time Miggy and Kyra spent more and more time together and he grew in confidence. He grew to trust me a lot more too and became really, really cuddly.
Miggy’s parents don’t know much about his background but it’s safe to say he didn’t have the best life before he was adopted. He’s missing a chunk out of one of his ears, his tail is broken, he has broken ribs that haven’t healed properly. The way he eats – he hoards food, eats very quickly – it’s likely he lived on the streets or was never really sure if / when he would get food again.
All this said, it’s no surprise he’s defensive around other dogs, scared of new places and didn’t know how to play with toys when he was first adopted.
This is what makes his growth over the last year so incredible though – he’s grown in confidence so much. Now if he comes over to mine he races straight out of the lift, runs down the corridor (with or without Kyra), waits outside the front door and immediately runs inside, sniffing everything and bouncing all over the furniture. In the park, he sometimes makes attempts to play with Kyra and run around after her. When he’s stayed with me, I’ve taught him how to play tug of war and we even worked on playing a little bit of fetch.
He’s far less likely to bark now and he’s more willing to go and meet new and bigger dogs.
What’s really interesting is how his relationship with Kyra has changed. He was aggressive and barky towards her at first, then scared, then he tolerated her but tried to avoid her… now, somehow, they’re pretty good friends. They’ll happily curl up next to each other and sleep, happily run around the park together, run down the street to meet each other and, Kyra has got pretty protective of Miggy!
The other day a new dog came up to them and Kyra was absolutely fine with him at first and the other dog was friendly with Kyra. Then Miggy went up to meet him and the new, bigger dog barked at Miguel. Kyra immediately jumped in between the new dog and Miggy and growled at him as a warning. The other dog ran away and Kyra and Miggs carried on playing together. I’ve never been more shocked or proud of her for defending her little friend like that.