Today, I learned that Peanut is a girl. That’s right. My boy Chihuahua is not a male; he is a female. At least that is what the USDA says. Evidently, the neutering worked too well. Those who have known Peanut since before the procedure will remember him to be a very well endowed Chihuahua. I really think the change in gender is going to come as quite a shock to Peanut, although it would explain why Chip keeps trying to hump him. Maybe Chip has known all along.
How did I find this out? Today, I went to Thane to get the boys what I hope will be the final pieces of paperwork to make them official: letters stating that they are in good health. The doctor copied the information from the USDA record. When I read the letter, I noticed he had Peanut as a female. Obviously that is not right. He showed me where the form said that he was female, and as is the case with anything official in India, everything must match exactly. I looked at the no objection certificate (NOC) from the Indian government. Fortunately, it said Peanut was a male. I had the doctor rewrite the letter. I had asked that the letter be dated 8 May 2012, even though today is 19 May. Evidently, that is the date that must be used. I have no idea why; I am just doing what I am told. I will be sending the letters to Furry Flyers, the company that helped us get the boys into the country, so that they can complete the immigration process.
Going to the vet in India is not the same as the US. The office was a shop along the street. The waiting room was outside under a lean-to. When I went into the office, I had to remove my shoes. So, at first glance, it might not seem like much, but inside was a state-of-the-art but small surgical center. It is where we will continue to take them.
I learned some really great things at the vet today. First, they do not have heartworm in India. Evidently, even though we are in a temperate climate, heartworm does not exist. But, fleas and ticks can be quite an issue here because of the feral dog population. So, the vet recommended Advantix, which cost almost as much as his office visit. Second, monsoon season will present certain cleanliness challenges for the dogs. The vet assured me that in Powai flooding should not be a problem. The dogs will get splashed, but they will not be walking in water up to their stomachs. The vet has a pug, so he understands the challenges of small dogs in Mumbai. He assured me they would be fine. Third, he reassured me that I do not need a rabies shot. With all the stray dogs in the city, I was quite concerned about rabies. He told me that he has a rabies vaccine because of his profession, but his family is not vaccinated. If the vet does not vaccinate his kids, then the risk is low. To be honest, the street dogs freaked me out a bit when I first got here, but now that I have learned to say jhao (go) in Hindi, I have felt much more confident in dealing with them. I have used it a couple of times, and it has worked.
The boys were very good, even Chip. He did not need a muzzle, and the vet was very good with him. The boys are quite the hit here in India. One of the elevator guys always greets Chip with “Hi Chip! Morning Chip!” Chip has even started warming up to this behavior. Small dogs are very unusual here. Feral dogs look like our Spice Bear, and most people who own dogs have goldens, labs, or shepherds. Most people stare when we walk the pups. The other day, they were mobbed by a group of children. Peanut thought that was great fun, but Chip not so much. They seem to be adjusting well to life here, though. We will see how monsoon season goes. Our groomer emailed to ask if we wanted to buy monsoon gear. We are thinking about it. When I asked the vet about it, though, he laughed. Of course, the image of Peanut in a rain coat and wellies makes me laugh, too.