I used to call them “little yappy dogs” (as in, “That little yappy dog on the third floor never stops yapping!”). Now I call them “little loquacious lover dogs” with the emphasis on “lover.”
I live in a brick building in New York City. (There’s an elevator but it’s usually stuck on the fifth floor.) When I moved in, I had two big Pit Bulls; they were really more of medium size, but the size ratio in NYC starts a bit smaller than in most places. Compared with my 50- and 60-pound mutts, the other dogs in the building looked like fluffy mice with black noses and a tendency to yap. Not that all Itty Bitty Dogs yap — far from it.
These Itty Bitty Dogs (defined, by me, as less than 10 pounds, many weighing four to six) sometimes walked down the stairs with their owners but more often than not were invisible except for an itty bitty head sticking out of a purse or through an arm. This was my first experience with dogs who were so tiny. I don’t know where I was, but I missed out on this phenomenon.
I think as you get older, you realize that first impressions really aren’t as important as you once thought. I certainly hope so, because my first impression on others is a frazzled woman with lots of dog hair on her clothes. My first impressions of these Itty Bitty Dogs were:
- Are these really dogs?
- If they are dogs, do they do dog things?
- If they do dog things, do they count? For example, does anyone really notice if an Itty Bitty Dog owner doesn’t clean up after her dog because its poopie is so itty bitty? What about an itty bitty dog bite? Or an itty bitty bark?
- Assuming they do bark, can it be heard?
And very soon, I had an answer to that last question. Yes. Itty Bitty Dogs, in general, like to bark, and it can be heard four floors away inside of one’s apartment. And not only do they have powerful lungs, they have stamina. I’ve listened to one dog in my building on the third floor bark all day, day after day.
I think the mistake we “big dog” people make is to assume an Itty Bitty Dog:
- Thinks he or she is better than other dogs.
- Yaps to be annoying.
I will admit I’ve thought that Itty Bitty Dogs can look, well, haughty. However, I doubt that haughtiness is a canine character trait. So then, why did I think that? I believe it’s because they’re always dressed to the nines and go to a stylist every other week.
As for the annoying yapping, I wondered whether all Itty Bitty Dogs were anxious and of the opinion that they were ferocious watchdogs like my dog on the third floor seemed to be. But then, I met Auriel and her Yorkie, Gracie.
Auriel was a beautiful model with a kind streak for the lesser folk like myself, and Gracie was my first experience with a little loquacious lover dog. Her frantic welcomes (Gracie’s, not Auriel’s) in addition to her bright eyes and exuberant kisses won me over immediately, and I came to respect her many yaps, realizing that she had many stories to tell as well as lots of good gossip.
It was then that I realized Itty Bitty Dogs have important things to say.
After Gracie, I came to love Bon Bon, a Pomeranian with a short cut. Her eerie resemblance to a teddy bear threw me off for a while, as did her stilted little walk that went “tick, tick, tick” on the linoleum floor in the front hall, which reminded me of a wind-up toy. Bon Bon looked far too precocious to be interested in a Pit Bull person but she was actually as warm as a southern belle. Then there was Gus, a Chihuahua; Balthazar, a mix; and many more.
I will probably always be a “big dog” person. I might adopt a smaller dog later in life, but probably not less than 20 pounds. But I’ve learned that despite the fact that Itty Bitty Dogs can be motormouths, they are often more affectionate and demonstrative than their big dog cousins. Their garrulousness is catching; it’s impossible for me to see one now without smiling. And, when I find myself on the third floor with that little dog going full blast, I stop and listen now, sitting right by the door, sympathizing. And that Itty Bitty Dog is actually quiet for a while.
Do you have an Itty Bitty Dog? Tell us about her in the comments!
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