Likes: Stimpy loved to chase lizards, birds, cats etc... He would hunt for hours. He loved to hoard his toys in a closet. In his later years, he preferred to be outside as much as possible.
Pet-Peeves: HATED the vet! Hated being "fenced in" and was a first rate escape artist. Grooming was the thing he hated most. The words "brush" or "bath" would send him into hiding.
Favorite Toy: He was not terribly fond of toys, but liked to chase and pounce on any item you cared to toss. He had a strange fascination with the cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper-- he would get really happy when you called his name thru the tube!
Favorite Food: He ate everything, but loved Eukanuba in the pink bag and pig ears.
Favorite Walk: Stimpy liked to walk anywhere at night.
Best Tricks: He liked to "play fight" when he was younger... not one for tricks, though!
Arrival Story: I got him at a pet store in October of 1992 when we were living in Florida. Stimpy was the most beautiful fluffy golden creature I ever saw. He was with me constantly until August of 2005.
Bio: Stimpy was a perfect example of why people need to be careful when they get Chows. While he was my best friend for years, he had many behavioral problems. Stories of chows biting vets, children and even their owners are rampant, and should be taken seriously if you are considering a chow as a pet. While there are many very pleasant chows, there are a great number that are dangerous. Up until Stimpy was one year old, I took him everywhere to try to socialize him with other dogs. My parents had 5 dogs, so he always had a ready and willing play group. He was always the most dominant dog anywhere he went. When he was about a year old, the dominance began to turn to agression. Not just towards animals, but to anyone he had never seen before. Up until the end of his life, he was always thrilled to see the people whom he had known as a baby. He would see friends of mine whom he had not seen in YEARS, and he would remember them as though they had just left the room. Yet, new friends whom he saw regularly were a source of distrust. I am not the only chow owner to report this type of behavior.
Any attempts to discipline him were typically met with horrendous growling (most of which was for show) and often he would "turn" as though he were going to bite me, though he never ever did. When I got a new puppy (The Baerleht) to keep him company, he decided that he wanted to kill her instead. He was extremely agressive and while medicated from a veterinary exam, he bit my boyfriend (thinking he was biting our new puppy). Eventually, our vet cut his teeth all the way down to prevent him from grabbing skin. It worked wonders, and he became less aggressive once the teeth and "boy dog parts" were gone. He was not good with strangers, kids, or loud noises. He was terrified of storms--mind you, we lived in Florida until 2001! He was truly a ONE PERSON DOG, and personified every bad trait a chow might have. Still, to ME he was a quiet, gentle easy-to-care-for companion. I miss him every day.
Several things to consider if you seriously love chows but have never owned one:
1. The Source: Where is your chow coming from? A breeder, pet store, puppy mill, rescue/shelter? And WHY is the chow available? If you are adopting a chow from a shelter, especially an older chow, you may wish to investigate why the chow was placed in the shelter. Was the chow seized from an unsuitable home, or does he have "issues?" In hindsight, I think I may have done better to purchase a chow from a reputable breeder so that temperament may have been easier to predict. And I would have to recommend this to would-be chow owners as well. If you do not mind having a one-person dog AND you have no plans to have any kids running around or smaller animals galavanting about, then a rescued chow might be a good choice. Chows make great dogs for solitary folk, especially if you live close to nature. If you are predictable, assertive and calm, you will make a good chow owner.
2. Environment: If you plan to raise a chow in a crowded, loud home filled with strange and new events and happenings, you may want to reconsider this breed. Even very friendly chows are very "stuck in their ways" and having owned several chows over the past 20 years (all of which lived to be at least 12), I can tell you it is next to impossible to change a chow's mind about what scares him or what he hates! For some breeds, you can get them accustomed to things and they will lose their sense of fear-- but chows seem to have a natural sense of what scares them and they cannot always be trained to accept things such as noise, crowds, storms, grooming... In fact, the more you try to expose them to what riles them, the more agitated and unpredictable they may become. 3. Purpose: WHY do you want a chow? That might sound like a strange consideration, but many people want them because they look like sweet fluffy bears. They ARE, but the operational word here is BEAR. Chows tend to border on feral in terms of their instincts, and this is not always a good thing. So be sure you WANT this breed... and remember that even Cesar Millan has NO full blooded chows in his pack.
Chows have a quiet, reserved and solitary nature. They are very special creatures and if a chow truly loves and trrusts you, it is one of the best relationships you will ever have. If you are considering a chow, don't just take my word on this, talk to other chow owners and see what they say about their experience with this breed. Personally, I would not trade my chows for anything. Losing Stimpy was pretty tough-- I had him FOREVER and I still accidentally call him and put his bowl on the ground. I still look for him in his "favorite spots" and expect to see him there. He was a big part of my life for so many years.
All day long, we run and we play
with the many new friends we meet along the way.
We swim and run and show off our tricks
in a beautiful field filled with perfect sticks
for us to chase and throw around.
We dig lots of holes in the soft moist ground.
And when we are tired-- which is very rare,
a shady tree is always there.
We rest and watch the others have fun until
we feel the urge to run.
At night we close our eyes and dream
of those we still hail as part of our team.
You can't see us today because we are here;
across the Rainbow Bridge where we know no fear
or pain or hunger, and we never cry
the way we did when we said goodbye.
If you could see us, you would smile
because we'll meet again in a very short while.
We know you miss us
We know you worry...
But it's so much fun here-
We are fat and furry!
Just picture us happy and running free--
We are living now in your fondest memory.
We'll meet again, have no doubt
when the Rainbow Bridge rolls the red carpet out.