Kiko was rescued at the mexican border, stuffed and taped inside a car seat with 28 other puppies. The dog smuggler was arrested and she was brought to the shelter with the other puppies. She was 5 weeks old (too young to be taken from her mother) and very sick with Distemper, Giardia and worms. The vets did not believe she would make it as she was only 3 pounds. I worked in animal care at the time and that is where I first set my eyes on her, in the back of the humane society locked in the white puppy rooms full of sick rescued puppies. After seeing her for the first day, I could not sleep all night because I was thinking about her. The next day I began fostering to adopt her. She was presumed not to survive the Distemper and all the other puppies of larger breeds were dying each day, so her name was “puppy” for the first two months as I tube fed her and hoped for the best.
I called her Kiko because it means “Spot” in Hawaiian and it’s a female name in Japanese. Kiko is an inspiration to me on a daily basis and one of the greatest teachers I have ever met. Kiko has made me the dog trainer that I am today. She is also proof that a dog that had to stay in quarantine for the first few months of her life during the critical socialization period, could be transformed from a extremely fearful dog into a confident and highly friendly dog towards all humans including small children and who loves being pet.
Splash is a Blue Merle Border Collie. She is my only dog that was not rescued from a shelter. I had never intended to get a dog that wasn’t already homeless but I believe in destiny and that Splash and I were meant to be partners in life in the same way I felt when I met Kiko. So Splash came to live with the Kikopup Clan. She is the most caring of all my dogs and is always there to offer me a paw or give me a lick when I am having a hard time.
Splash was attacked by a dog as a puppy which left her traumatized and reactive. She became frightened of other dogs and of any living thing coming towards her from miles away. Splash has taught me so much about helping dogs that are reactive and fearful. Now Splash loves other dogs and people and is a very calm, confident and joyful dog. She even helps other dogs learn to gain their confidence. Splash excels in complex behaviors and freestyle moves that require precision, like skipping and stacking cones.
I found Tug, possibly a chihuahua/terrier mix, at a rescue and again it was another moment of destiny. Tug was meant to live with the Kikopup Clan! He is named Tug because even though he is a tiny dog, he can achieve anything he sets his mind to- like a Tug Boat! Tug adores the other members of the clan, and is the glue that keeps them so closely knit. Splash is a very calm dog, and Tug is my “Border Collie”- high drive- easily excited dog. Tug can beat Splash at clicker challenges. He’s one smart cookie. He also is part goat, and likes to perch on odd places like the rim of the bath tub. Tug is very fond of a stuffed carrot that he must carry around, and hide before bed time. Usually he will hide the toy in high up places like chairs, tables and the back of the couch.
Trisch, Martina’s dog, is a Podenco- a Spanish sight hound. Martina was working at a shelter in Spain when she fell in love with Trisch. Trisch was a very fearful dog- she was scared of all dogs, all strangers, being touched, and any social situation which she could not escape. When Martina first met her any movement of a foot would send Trisch flying. It was impossible to even walk near her and she would scream if you touched her while she wasn’t expecting it. Now she is a very well adjusted dog and adores being pet. She also likes to prove that it’s not just Border Collies that can do amazing tricks and behaviors. She has amazing balance and agility. Trisch loves climbing trees.
Lacey, Martina’s second dog, is a Lurcher from Ireland, and our newest addition to the Kikopup Clan. A Lurcher is a cross between some type of sight hound and usually a herding breed or terrier. Because Lacey is a rescue we do not know for sure what mix she is. Lacey was dumped by the side of the road in Ireland when she was a tiny pup, found dirty and skinny with a cut on her head. She was taken care of by the Leinster Animal Rescue until we adopted her. Lacey was very fearful of the city, barking at all dogs and humans and all noises in the apartment for the first 2 weeks. With care and training Lacey has come out of her shell, and become an extremely social dog. With caring guidance she has also fit in very nicely with all the other dogs.