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ABOUT THIS EDITORIAL

Our website has a Chihuahua Lover's Message Board where guests may leave timely questions concerning the Chihuahua breed. This message board has proved to be very popular with first time Chihuahua owners when they bring home a new puppy. The Chihuahua dog is the smallest of all the registered pedigreed dogs recognized by the American Kennel Association, therefore it has some issues unique to it's small size and temperament.

Certain questions come up more often than others and most of those have already been addressed by myself or other guests who visit our message board that are experienced with owning Chihuahuas. However, a question keeps turning up both on the message board and in emails that I wish to address that will reflect my own personal opinion and not necessarily that of others. I am sure my opinion will open a floodgate of differing opinions on the subject and I respect them all. But I would still like to share my own feelings about it.

Should Your Chihuahua Be allowed To Sleep With You?

Before I ever brought Gypsy home as an eight week old puppy I had done lots of research about the breed and fully prepared my home for the addition of this tiny breed. I knew in advance what I desired from my new Chihuahua puppy and had my mind made up that I would train her with love and bond with her as much as possible while she was very young.

She was very easy to house train and because I work out of my home we were able to spend a lot of time together in her formative months and we bonded quickly. From the very start she had a special "place" in a hallway where she could be safely put when we had company or when I needed to leave the house. She also stayed there at night where for the most part she slept peacefully all night long without any complaints.

After I built this website for Gypsy in 2001 I began to hear from many wonderful people who also had Chihuahuas and I learned that almost all were totally devoted to their babies just as I was, but that many of them slept with their Chihuahuas in their beds. Since Gypsy seemed content with the arrangement for sleeping that she had, I did not think too much about allowing her in my bed at night till one night when an overnight guest came to stay...

The guest was a "dog person" who raised West Siberian Laikas, a rare Russian hunting dog which looks similar to a Malamute, but is larger and more wolf-like in appearance. The houseguest did not have any of his dogs with him, but I feel sure their scent was everywhere on his person. Gypsy, like a lot of Chihuahuas, only likes "her own kind" and immediately went into a full meltdown, barking nervously, voicing her displeasure that I had allowed someone in our home who did not "smell right."

Gypsy finally settled down around this guest and even grew to like him very much once she realized he loves dogs and had a gentle way in approaching them, allowing Gypsy to decide when she would accept him on her own terms. All was well until time to go to bed for the night. Then Gypsy's insecurities returned and she began to whimper softly and cry in her little bed in the hallway where she had always slept. It was the most pitiful and heart-wrenching display of unhappiness I had ever heard and it tore at my heart till I could not stand it any longer. So, I did the unthinkable and took my baby to bed with me!

This simple act of love proved to be an epiphany. Gypsy immediately stopped whining and crying, of course, but she also got under the covers and snuggled up against my body as closely as possible where she curled up contentedly and never moved till morning! But the real winner in this situation was myself! I simply did not know what I had been missing by not having my baby in bed with me till that fateful night! She was so sweet, so happy and such a good little bed partner that I never wanted to put her back in her own bed at night again. Some will say the dog manipulated me into doing what she wanted, but I say I am the one who came out the real winner.

Now, I cannot imagine NOT sleeping with Gypsy! Our nightly ritual of preparing for bedtime is so enjoyable that Gypsy looks forward to it and will even sometimes urge me to get ready for bed if she is tired and needs her sleep. The acts of changing into my nightgown, brushing my teeth and all the things humans do before they go to bed are done with Gypsy waiting expectantly at my feet, always with a look of pure love because she knows we are soon going to have "our time" together.

So, now when the question comes up from visitors to our site who are first time Chihuahua owners whether they should allow their Chihuahua to sleep with them I always urge them to try it. But I know full well what I am doing...once they take their Chihuahua to bed with them they will never sleep without it again! They simply do not know what they have been missing till they have tried it.

I am surprised then when I see a posting on our message board from someone who has been told to NOT let their Chihuahua sleep with them! I do not understand why they have been told that. Recently a visitor asked me this question point blank. I replied that I do not know why they have been told not to sleep with their Chihuahua since it is a harmless act of love that both the owner and the Chihuahua will derive great pleasure from.

But I am sure I will receive differing opinions about this. I will probably even receive a few ugly responses from the contingent that believes "a dog is a dog and does not belong in a human's house, much less their bed!" But they are entitled to their opinion and what they think does not concern me. I love my dog very, very much and she loves me without question. Letting her sleep with me is a wonderful pleasure which is only an extension of my deep love for her. I could never have it any other way.

That is why I decided to create this editorial page. The question of whether to allow your dog to sleep with you will keep coming up and opinions will differ, of course. But I stand firmly behind my conviction that letting your Chihuahua sleep with you is a win-win situation for both the pet and it's owner.


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