What My Chihuahua Can Teach Us About Prepping

by M.D. Creekmore on June 26, 2013 · 35 comments

faith relaxingMost of you probably remember the awful health ordeal with Faith my little Chihuahua mix – but for those that are new here I’ll report a quick recap. She ruptured a disk in her back, that pinched off the nerves to her back legs which crippled her for over a month.

The vet said she would never walk again, but prayer from The Wolf Pack and lots of love and care brought her back to health. And I’m happy to let everyone know that she has recovered to 95% of her original mobility. Thank you all again for your support and prayers. She’s my little buddy…

So what can my pint sized bodyguard teach us about survival?

Like most survivalists, she is a hoarder. Most dogs have a natural instinct to hide food, but this one is the most proliferate hoarder that I’ve seen. She manages to hide at least 25% of food that I put in her bowl.

She has dozens of food caches scattered around the area and she is smart enough to find hiding places that the bigger dogs can’t get into it. I mean this dog can fit through a 5 inch opening, places where the other dogs can’t start.

We survivalists would be wise to do the same. Having several caches of food and gear hidden around our area is a good idea and cheap insurance, if we get cut off from our main food storage supplies for some reason. Things happen – remember Murphy’s Law?

Another thing we can learn from this little dog is to always be on alert for potential threats. She is always scanning the area, looking for intruders. Her detectors seem to always be turned on – anything out of the ordinary and she is alerted.

It seems humans have lost their alertness. Most people are so preoccupied with themselves that they have no idea of what is going on around them. They make themselves easy targets.

I’m not saying you should be in a state of constant red alert, the stress of such a lifestyle would probably kill you before an aggressor. What I am saying is, be more attuned to your surroundings, don’t get into the habit of walking around blind to what is going on around you.

Pay attention. Sometimes, something small can alert you to potential danger. For example, let’s say it’s been raining most of the day, you get home from work and notice the pattern of moister on the doorknob has been disturbed by someone turning the knob. Be like this little dog – pay attention. It could save your life.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that she isn’t afraid to run if the situation necessitates it. She will go after the biggest, meanest dog that wanders into her territory. But the thing is, she knows when to run. If the fight is too much and she has no chance of winning, she isn’t above running to me for help or hiding.

To many of us the idea of running or hiding from danger is unthinkable. But sometimes it does make sense. No matter how well armed we are we can not win every battle. When it’s your family one casualty is to many.

Sometimes the best way to win a battle is to avoid the fight altogether. Other times it may be necessary to retreat to a better location offering a tactical advantage.

Take a lesson from this little Chihuahua – don’t be too brave -  avoid a fight that you know you can’t win.

34 comments

Bctruck June 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

MD,I’m so gład faith is doing well. I know how important our 4 legged kids can be to us. I have two small dogs and a larger mountain curr/bulldog mix that mean the world to me.

Sirius June 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

M.D.

I have a retired working dog. A Belgian Malenois. He used to share space with a Yorkie and a Maltese. Guess who was NOT the big dog in the house?

I’m reminded of an old saying… It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog.

Little dogs definitely serve a purpose. And they will not let you forget that fact. My big dog patrols the outskirts of my back yard, but when he’s in the house he becomes a 90 pound lump. Until this morning… I got woken up, answered my one e-mail and by his insistent whining got notified of an F’n LAKE coming from my down stairs bathroom.

This dog is by all means a couch potato. I’ll even go so far as to call him a pillow princess. He did step up, once again, like he’s done so many times in the past. He saved me from thousands of dollars worth of damage today. O.K. most likely because he thought his food source was going to get flooded. It wasn’t. He didn’t know that.

I don’t care. My water is off. I have to call into work, get a plumber, open the checkbook… again, but if it wasn’t for my best friend… I’d be calling a contractor.

They (the dogs) always step-up and surprise you don’t they?

Lauri no e June 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

My 70 pound dog sleeps the same way as Faith. My husband comes in from work and comments the dog has had a hard day. (The dog sound asleep on his back)

Thanks, for sharing the photo so cute and she is very content.

Michele June 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thanks for the article and the pic of Faith. Yes, prayer is powerful.

I copied and forwarded your article to my DH. While his attention has recently changed focus to more on my protection and well being, he is still a Marine. Sure, he’s been out for a long time, but as most of you know, once a Marine, always a Marine, and he says Marines are always the first in and the last out. I just wanted to remind him that it’s OK to “run away and live to fight another day”.

Great article and great ideas. Thank Faith for me for being such a good example.

JP in MT June 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

The watch word around our house it “be aware of your surroundings”. Always has been. I am trying to teach my grandson’s the same thing.

Kin_of_Sgt. Alvin C. York June 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Yep. Good article! We’ve always been “hound” enthusiasts, with beagles, bassets, or bloodhounds.

BUT, we’ve just adopted a very small terrier mix, which has ears and sight which are phenomenal. This little critter, Zippy by name, is our homestead’s “Early Warning System.” She don’t miss a beat–from visitors, intruders, or even the mice running around our attic at night.

She alerts to most anything unusual. A real keeper!

doug June 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I have two dogs – a fearless [but, very loving – Border Collie) and a Dach. – I shorten his breed name because he is beyond fearless and is one of the most aware dogs I have owned = what I mean is he has taken on some of the big boys – but too will retreat if and/or when necessary. So as you indicated it is a critical lesson for life and living to “not be too brave”.
Oh (as aside) – one of Nico’s favorite positions for life and living is exactly the same as Faith’s – however he probably makes a bit longer and wider rug than her.
Thanks again for all you do for us – many of us do listen and apply what you share.

Brenda June 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I have had several chihuahuas over the years. Some braver than others and my lab in the backyard is a big baby. They both make a lot noise though when someone comes up to the gate.

The flight or fight is one of the (many) things we have been talking about in our home. When does it make sense to fight or to lay down arms and (appear) to give up. Live to fight another day, just make them think you have given up. Be the gray man or woman.

Another topic is caches and where to put one or many!

Brenda June 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Reading some of the other comments I was reminded of a mixed terrier that my DH had when we first started seeing each other. Hobo was about knee-high and very protective. One night after I had been couped up for 2 or 3 days with two toddlers because of heavy constant rain I went out for a walk. Hobo went with me, as we walked I heard a deep growling and Hobo got between me and the noise and growled back. He stayed between me and the noise all the way back to the house. I found out the next day that a neighbor down the street had gotten a very large german shepard, thankfully it was confined and could not get to us.

JeffintheWest June 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm

First rule of combat — Murphy’s.

Second rule of combat– “He who turns and runs away, lives to fight another day.”

If you’re in a fair fight, you picked the wrong fight.

Pretty much sums up what I’ve always thought, ever since I was a grunt right after the end of the Vietnam War.

TG June 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I love my 4 legged family member. She is my pretty baby. And she is oh so sweet and loveable, until someone gets too close to her mommy. She will use her butt to push me out of the way and let them know she means business.
We actually had a pizza delivery guy high tail it back to his car one day because he dared to walk up on our driveway, and she couldnt even get to him. I laughed myself silly after we got our pizza and I gave an extra tip for wetting himself.

We have a lot we can learn from our dogs. They truly are mans best friend. MD, I am so glad Faith is doing so well.

M.D. Creekmore June 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

TG,

Thank you.

Mama J June 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Oooo I love me some puppy breath.
We have 300 to 600lbs of dog fur here everyday. We live in a place where everyone takes their dogs with them everywhere. Luckily my dogs are conditioned to tolerate all other dogs.
Today I had 5 dogs at my heals while I did chores. All you can hear is hip hip MOO-VE it dogs. If you don’t stop for the required ear rubs and neck ruffs you aren’t going anywhere.
My Pyrenees girl sleeps next to me every night, I have to step over her (wa-y over) to get out of bed. My boy Pry is strictly outside because if he pees, it is at least 5 gallons.
The new Australian Sheppard girl is my snuggle puppy.
All the dogs in the middle are all rescues and have their own jobs and get lots of love.
Now that I had my doogie mom moment……Nothing gets by my dogs.
I can tell by the way a certain dog lifts its head, something is up. They notice a shadow is in the wrong place. A smell, even the wind blowing in an unusual direction.
Hawks, eagles, owls, prairie dogs, and holy crap if a deer was stupid enough to get over the fence. Worried barks when a fox is inside. Nasty barks for bear.
People walking…forget about it. It is so unusual on our road to see it, they must be lost or trespassing. Those people are Scooby Snacks.

Once I was rough housing with my oldest son in the yard. My dog bite him on the butt. Ripped his pants. He doesn’t live here and she was just getting to know him. Haha. Take that!

They are also meteorologists. Thunderstorms approaching… OH boy. The girl Pyr tried to eat the sky last time we had one. Rain coming, they are standing at the door. Snow, happy smiles. Dust storm coming, everyone who can fit is under the deck.

I would not feel completely safe without my canine kids. They share everything they have including their lives in exchange for love, food, water and a nice place to sleep.
I am so happy for Sweet Faith’s recovery. Can you imagine how dangerous she would be if she weighed a hundred pounds? Small dogs are so fierce! Grrrr….. LOL

Winomega June 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm

No room for a cat person here… Or rather, my cats are a lot less reserved about going after something rather than resorting to war-cries since I installed a cat-door.

I am started to be tempted towards that program where you raise a puppy to become a seeing-eye dog, but mostly because of the gushing about how great dogs are, and I desire to learn how to train one.

R-Me June 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Win omega,
We also have a cat ,, with only 3 legs that my DH found in the street when he was just a kitten. After multiple surguries for nerve damage to his leg,, we call him our $1000 cat.
But having 4 canine brothers, he thinks he is a dog!

We are also well protected, they all live in the house but spend a good portion of the time outside. 2 small dogs, red nose Pitt and boarder collie both sleep on the bed, the 2 medium pups, boxer and mastiff, take over the couch. If one hears something 3 dash out to find the cause,, the border collie stays behind w/me. He is my personal protector.

Like the cat, they are all rescues and have the run of our 27 acre farm. I would be lonely with out them, they all have their own personalities. (the cat, Scooter, is house bound for safety reasons)

Zaeda June 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm

As of yet, I don’t have a pooch – although I REALLY want one! I had a Shepherd Husky Mix, sadly he passed away last year. :( I’d like another – soon.

I did, read an article somewhere (I don’t remember where) I know I printed it and I am thinking of implementing this~

A man built deep “root cellar” type buildings around his 12.8 acres, and uses them to store quite a bit of his food stocks. Someone took his idea and buried an old non-working fridge stripped of the coolant and buried (I’d worry about moisture, but hey if it works?)
Another person had a room built below the basement when the home was being built. One I loved, they took the “hidden door” route in the finished basement and lined the whole 40 feet wall 3 feet out and had loads of shelves with food stock- the same on the other side, but water was stored there. With a little ingenuity and some thought, hiding food isn’t a bad idea!
Thank for the great idea!

Doris Jones June 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm

What a wonderful home grown example that Faith has shown us (and I appreciate your sharing this) of survival in the most basic terms. Your story brought to mind an example of a wise dog I once knew.

Her owner was an older single guy who worked off and on for my husband. He lived in a little camper in the woods and had a dog named “Mollie”. She was a gentle type of mixed breed that looked more like a black and white border collie. Since her master drank and drove, he found himself in jail often. Mollie would save up food and bury it in special places and when he went to jail, she had her caches and stayed supplied until he returned. (Often we wouldn’t even know he was gone or we would have fed the dog.)

Still, Mollie did fine with her saved up food, drinking from the small creek near her home and living off the land. I thought she was an unusual dog and had never seen one think and plan ahead. Now I know of TWO dogs like that–Mollie and Faith.

TN Mommy June 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm

MD, she is so cute!

M.D. Creekmore June 26, 2013 at 8:59 pm

TN Mommy,

Thank you.

dblbrnr June 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm

MD, that was a well written article. Seems like most folk remember sweet little Faith’s health challenge; it is good to get an update on how she is doing. Think she learned some of her prepping/saving/hoarding wisdom from you? Maybe she is one of your teachers.

We could all learn a lot from our critters. Right now I’m seeing examples of love, loyalty, and alertness in my two. As the old saying goes: I aspire to be half the person my dogs think I am.

Donna in MN June 27, 2013 at 8:46 am

I am happy Faith has recovered. She has earned her way into your prepping blog, howls for her!

I can’t imagine ever being without a dog these days. My heroes Mesha and Kewanee who have now passed, saved me from an aggressive bear and a criminal from breaking into my home. Often they and my other 4 100+ lb dogs warded off any possible intrusion. Can one imagine 6 big dogs barring teeth and barking through my picture window if anyone would consider breaking in to do harm or rob me while not at home?… yet they were friendly towards those I accepted. There’s no thowing a treat to distract these security agents.I now have decendants from my heroes. Their forfathers gave the word in the neighborhood to never mess with my house.

TG June 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Donna, my dog does not like my neighbor. When ever she sees him she will go nuts. He asked me one day if he could try giving her a treat or something to see if that will calm her down. I agreed, in part because I wanted to see what she would do. So he tossed her a treat and she ignored it. Kept right on telling him what she thought of him. Later I went and picked the treat up and threw it away because she wouldn’t touch it even after he wasnt in sight.

Mama J June 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

TG,
I would say their is something wrong with your neighbor. Just sayin.

TG June 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Mama J, I dont trust him for anything. I trust my dog. I am just glad she wouldnt take food from him, which is something I was unsure of until then.

Lauri no e June 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

TG,

I agree with Mama J, they say dogs and kids pick up on bad people.

Mama J June 28, 2013 at 12:31 am

TG and Lauri,
So true! I remember being a small child and “seeing” bad people. My grandfather was one. My mother was always amazed how I could pick up on weird vibs in people.
I think children and animals have a special connection with the world because they do have a file in their brains of all the things that can go wrong. Their spirit isn’t cluttered with responsibility and worry. Pure instinct and pure love.

Michele June 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm

My Milo, now a real angel, once sat between me and a male friend of mine, and when he reached up to give me a high 5, Milo jumped up between us.

While he never did anything to me, I never trusted that man again – Milo loved everyone, and had never done that before.

Listen to your fur angels. They know much more than we give them credit for.

Southern Girl June 27, 2013 at 8:50 am

Great article. Good food for thought. However, between the 2 Dachs & the dingy Weimer in our house, there is not a kibble of food left on the floor. (No hiding food in our house) You are correct in that the little guys can be vicious when needed. The Weimer has a scary bark & is 85 lbs, but the 2 Dachs are fearless.

So glad Faith is healing and recovered her mobility. One of my Dachs has been to Auburn Univ. twice for back surgery. He rupture 2 discs & now sounds like a locomotive walking on the wood floor. We call him choo-choo because he sounds so much like a train. Hey, he’s walking, but has an odd gait. His brother has actually ripped the Weimers ear open twice. She does her best to aggravate him & when he is fed up, he will leap at her & grab her ear when she least expects it. Gotta hand it to him, he fights dirty.

Yep. We could learn a lot from observing their behavior. Thanks again for jogging the old brain cells. Much food for thought.

SG

franko June 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I saw a cat with a horrendous infected lump lay on the hot concrete for half a day to ripen it and then chew a hole in it’s side to let the pus out. It was fully healed in a week, not even a scar. This taught me not to baby myself, not to run to the doctor everytime I had a problem. Today people put far too much trust in doctors, who are basically just drug dealers.

Ants have taught me when to prepare for extended periods of rain, storm birds when a storm is coming. Earth worms tell me where the best soils are, flies have helped me remove rotting animals from impossible to reach places and the mass overpopulation of former “pests” like scrub turkys and possums that infest my area have showed me that people have become weak in the head to the point where they value animals above humans.

I have watched governments spend millions of dollars on bridges that only animals can cross, millions on relocation of native bats (pests) when eradication was far more practical. There are no shortages of these animals, just a shortage of guts to deal with them and with the animal lovers who want everything on 4 legs protected and nurtured.

My entire nation has become infested with wild goats, deer and kangaroos, just to name a few, all because gunlaws have disuaded former shooters from bothering to clean them up. On a bright note though this implies a vast source of protien for the decades to come unless a drought kills them off meanwhile.

Sheri (IN) June 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I’m so glad to hear Faith is walking. Aren’t dogs amazing? Dogs are naturally determined and no human can deny them that built in trait.

I went from 1 dog a month ago to 3. We rescued a beautiful Pit (Red) a little over 4 years ago. He is the perfect dog. I swear there is a little person inside him. He communicates better than most people I know ; )

Both add-ons are female. One is a Pit mix (Daisy) and little Ruby I picked up as a stray. She is a food hider. I think it’s because she was on the street for so long.

Red is my big boy and most people run from the front door when they hear him bark. He is not aggressive but very intimidating. He is 70 lbs of solid muscle. I’m afraid he wouldn’t turn and run from anything. Unfortunately, this breed is known for fighting to the death if necessary. He would protect me at any cost and that makes me feel very safe. I love my 4 legged family members :D

kbird June 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm

We have an Australian Sheperd/pit bull mix. He has all the qualities of an Aussie though. Super smart herds our four cats and loves it. Herds us to the door for his outside duties. Will hold your hand in his mouth and lead you to the door and has barked until I woke up to let me know the four cats had snuck out a window. Not sure how we got so lucky. Highly recommend Aussies. Not sure how he knows but he lets me know if anything is walking near my home be it man or beast.

TG June 29, 2013 at 1:26 am

Kbird, when I was pregnant with my oldest I had a male pit. Everyone told me to ‘get rid’ of him before I had the baby (since pitbulls are such vicious dogs and would attack the baby). When we came home from the hospital he took one look at the baby and there after she was his. If I was in another room and she started crying, he would come and get me. If I wasnt moving fast enough he would nudge me along with his head.

Once my daughter became mobile he would herd her. If she tried crawling off where he didnt think she should be he would go and lay down in front of her blocking that area off. When she learned how to walk, he would oh so gently grab her diaper and tug her to where he wanted her. It was actually quite funny to watch, this big huge dog taking care of. But I never had to worry about her getting into the street or anyone getting near her.

J. A. July 2, 2013 at 12:23 am

M.D., I’m glad that Miss Faith is doing well. She’s one tough little lady!

Winomega July 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm

My cats have taught me something. I installed a cat-door, and so far I’ve chased my cats off of several butterflies and a bird.

The bird conflicts me into thinking they should be allowed to drag bugs into the house, but the bird would have only been a mouthful of protein.

Never let someone else know what you have, or they may take it from you.

Really, I would prefer the cats keep their predation outside, where I can’t see it or have to clean up the mess.

(The butterflies were a lost cause, the bird convinced me that I should learn how the cat makes it submissive without hurting it, though I suspect that it was a case of lucky it wasn’t actually bit hard enough.)

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