Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: I’ve taught bird care / training techniques
Posted April 24, 2015
Marceline is a Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua mix that is now becoming more prominently known as a 'JackChi'.
I adopted Marceline (Marcy for short) from a shelter that takes excessively good care of their dogs. She was the first shelter animal I'd ever run into who wasn't riddled with some sort of awful vermin infestation. I originally had gotten her to be a companion for my aging Shih Tzu, Chai but Chai passed away a little less than a year after I adopted Marcy. They mostly ignored each other since Chai was mostly blind and Marcy was still a growing pup full of pep.
While Marcy was cohabitating with Chai, she learned that I did not always have time to play with her every moment of the day since I work from home and that my boyfriend, her favorite person in the world, has a job outside our home that he went to and with which he is still actively involved. She learned to make up games on her own. It was fun to watch her throw her ball, chase after it, bring it back, and repeat. Sometimes I would intervene and hide the ball from her behind my back but she was too smart for silly tricks like that and would run around behind me, leap three feet up into the air, and grab the ball from me! She also got into the habit of burying her toys in mounds of blankets, hiding her stuffed animals in different rooms, taking my shoes from the cubby by the door and neatly stacking them in matched piles, and she even gave me back massages. Those last two require some elaboration...
Marcy has always been very good at pattern recognition and stacking. Even as a pup who was going through the end stages of teething, she was found stacking her toys and, to my dismay, my books. One day I caught her taking my shoes from beneath the bed and decided to just see what she did since I wasn't terribly attached to that pair. She stacked them neatly, one across the other, as though they had been laid out in a department store display case. I never scolded her for it because she did not chew the shoes-- she only stacked. Whenever I come home I always find a few pairs of matching shoes stacked around the house or, if she cannot find the shoe's mate, she will either stuff the shoe into her toy box or she will find it a comfy seat on the couch.
As for the back massages, well, it begins with the fact that my boyfriend was against getting a second dog. We already had a very high maintenance and ever aging Shih Tzu and he wasn't excited at all about taking on what he looked at as a burden. But, in a move that I highly do NOT recommend, I went ahead and adopted Marceline out from under his nose and surprised him with her on April Fool's Day. He wasn't happy. Marcy was happy, though. She took an immediate shine to him and, after a few short hours together, they were the best of friends. So, naturally, Marcy slept in bed with us. She would shimmy down under the covers between us and, in the wee hours of the morning, I would get the most wonderful back massages. I thought they were from my boyfriend at first and decided not to look a proverbial gift horse in the mouth. I complimented him on them but he just seemed confused. Finally, one night my back massage suddenly turned violently unpleasant when very sharp little nails dug into my shoulders. I went to whang my poor sleeping boyfriend with my pillow but he was turned the opposite direction. I lifted the covers to find a VERY guilty looking Marcy laying prone on her back, her little legs stretching up into the air. I gave her a hearty pat on the head and turned her feet to face my boyfriend so that he could get a taste of what I had originally thought was his own medicine. A resounding "Yowch!" a few minutes later made me smile.
Aside from silly pet tricks, Marceline is my Medical Service Dog. She does not accompany me everywhere as I do not need her help at all times but she does accompany me and my boyfriend when we go out of town because travelling is hard on me and Marcy makes it much easier. She has been flying since she was not even a year old and she has been going on roadtrips with us even since before then. When I start to feel ill or anxious, she is able to sense it and will crawl into my lap to comfort me. Marcy has stayed with me in hospitals, the ER, in movie theatres, and in many other very distracting and noisy places. She always curls up into my lap and falls asleep. She did quite well with all three The Hobbit films.
With the overpopulation of Chihuahua's on the rise, it is good to know that there are some out there who, while they may not have specifically been bred to be intelligent, they certainly are. If you can get your hands on a JackChi and are willing to put up with high energy levels in exchange for loyalty and companionship then you will not be disappointed in the slightest.
Marcy is not the only JackChi who is hyper-intelligent. I adopted her brother, Marshall Lee, about a year after Chai passed away. He and Marcy were both two at the time. Lee is not nearly as smart as his sister but he is still highly intelligent. He did inherit the nervous ticks of the Chihuahua breed which I personally believes is clouding his judgement and making him seem a lot less intelligent than he truly is. He can do a lot more extraordinary things than most give him credit for. That and he is a superb dancer!