Tina and Nu Nu
I have to say that in 2004 I could have never dreamed that a little four-pound terror of a dog and Cesar Millan, a man I had never heard of would change the course of my life forever.
Chihuahua Nu Nu was found wandering the streets of San Luis Obispo, un-neutered and un-socialized. By way of a very long story, he ended up in Southern California where one of my clients at the vet hospital found him. I took him thinking he was scared and needed love.
After months of trying different methods and trainers (including one who suggested putting him down) and tons of love, I answered an ad on craigslist that asked if you were at your wits' end and needed help with your aggressive dog. It went on to say that a world-renowned dog trainer would help out. I figured that ad was meant for me! I called, I auditioned, and the rest is history.
When Cesar and Ilusion arrived at my home I kept saying, gosh, I hope this is not a Hollywood production and not true help for my dog. All I could see were the camera's lights, microphones and a make-up person (who happened to be Cesar’s wife, Ilusion). I knew nothing about Cesar and really did not want to be on TV; I just had nowhere else to turn. So I said the heck with it! Let's go for it. Cesar walked in my house for our first meeting, cameras rolling, and in the first two minutes, I knew that this was the right thing for me, my wonderful friend and roommate Barclay, and Nu Nu the Former Demon Chihuahua.
Nu Nu was the first dog ever filmed for the show, and he is a bundle of joy now. With Cesar's knowledge and my commitment to his rehabilitation, Nu Nu is a dog that most people would dream of having. He gets everything he could possibly need. An hour walk seven days per week, coupled with a bit of discipline (No teeth showing for this dog!) and then when he accomplishes both of these things, it is time for me to enjoy the affection.
I get stopped on our daily walks with questions about Nu Nu. Some of them are:
Q: Can I pet your dog?
A: Sure, if you let him smell you first, and he is calm.
Q: I have never seen a Chihuahua this mellow, is he always like this?
A: Yes, he is. He is fulfilled as a dog, and therefore he has no need to have anxiety!
Q: How long do you walk him?
A: An hour most days unless I have the day off, then we go for two hours. It keeps him happy, quiet, and mellow, and hey, it's good for me, too. Nu Nu even walks on the treadmill if it is raining outside, and he loves it!!!
About a year after shooting the episode for Dog Whisperer, I was speaking to Cesar's assistant and was out of a job. She needed help and hired me. I voiced that I wanted to help people with smaller issues in their dogs, and she was very supportive. Little by little, I observed and took in as much as I could, and now I am out there helping people with their dog’s behavior issues as my business. This has truly been an experience of a lifetime.