A CHIHUAHUA owner who feared her pet would be lonely now arranges parties and get togethers for hundreds of the tiny dogs every weekend!
Lynn Richardson set up a Facebook appeal to find pals for her pooch Tinkerbell and spends her free time making flamboyant outfits and organising soirees for her and hundreds of her tiny friends.
Her group, NE Chihuahuas in Tynemouth, Newcastle, has more than 100 members since starting 18 months ago with some members having as many as six dogs.
Lynn, 55, said: “Nearly every weekend there is a birthday party and all the dogs come dressed up. At Christmas we had a big party and they all ran around together, playing in a ball pit and playing games like musical sits where they have to sit down when the music stops.
“They absolutely love it. At Halloween, one of the dogs Cocoa had a birthday so we celebrated at the Brandling Villa which is a pub dedicated to dogs. They sectioned off a VIP area and made a buffet and all the dogs wore Halloween costumes.
“They have a lovely time and it’s so nice for all the Chihuahua mummies and daddies to get together as well. If there isn’t a birthday party, we get together every week for a walk in the countryside or on the beach too.”
Lynn says being part of the group is vital for some owners and has even spared dogs being rehomed as it has helped them to socialise and stopped troublesome snappy behaviour.
She explained: “Bringing all the chihuahua parents together is so good for the dogs. Many people think they are aggressive because they yap and bark at other dogs but they’re misunderstood.
“Because they’re so small, they get scared when people approach them and that’s why they yap. They have such a lovely time and we all adore spoiling them and dressing them up.
“The members range in age from 18 years olds to people in their 70s and many of the women are on their own so it’s a good social thing for them too. Seeing them all dressed up at parties, the girls in their pretty frocks and the boys in their suits and dickie bows, is just adorable.”
Lynn, a civil servant, who lives with her husband Ray, 58, has set up her own business, Sparkles Pet Boutique, making dresses, suits, harnesses, steps so they can get on furniture and snuggle sacks for the tiny dogs that she sells on a market stall and the group go along to pet shows and obstacle courses.
One of most important things the group does is educate owners that chihuahuas need walks, exercise and stimulation just like any other breed.
Lynn says: “We have breeders in the group who give talks and are very knowledgable. It’s about making people understand that chihuahuas are just like any other dog, not just to be pampered and fussed around.
“We’re setting up a dog hotel too, as so many of the group don’t want to leave their dogs when they go away, so we’ll have them at home linked up to a webcam so they can check on them whenever they want.
“It’s just so lovely that I’ve been able to bring this community of dogs and people together and it really has changed my life and seeing the dogs playing happily makes me see I’ve changed theirs too.”
Lynn’s story appeared in the Sunday People which you can read online.
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