Let the gushing begin! One year ago we brought home this scrumptious nugget, a nine week-old Havanese puppy we named Phoebe. Phoebe was so small she could fit in one hand and so adorable and affectionate my husband, kids and I were smitten. But no puppy, no matter how cute or small, is free of challenges. Training Phoebe while living in a highrise meant lots of elevator trips at all hours of the day and night and countless accidents. However, now that Phoebe is full grown, fully trained and a robust 13 pounds I can say with enthusiasm that she is one of my greatest joys of 2020.
I did a lot of research on dog breeds, and was also inspired by my friend Kimberly’s sweet pooch before deciding on a Havanese. Here are some things you should know about this wonderful breed. First of all they come in all sorts of colors. Phoebe is mostly black which unfortunately makes her hard to photograph. Above are just a few of the hundreds of pics I’ve snapped over the last year.
The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba, bred to be a companion animal. These friendly dogs need to have people around most of the time or they suffer—not a problem for me, especially during the stay-home pandemic. Phoebe follows us through the house and “boops” us on the leg with her little wet nose to let us know when she wants attention. We are happy to deliver.
Havanese have a gorgeous, silky coat (Phoebe is soooo soft) and a distinctive plumed tail. When Phoebe trots around she looks like a float in a parade, her streaming tail and bouncy gait are so celebratory. Havanese don’t shed much and are considered hypo-allergenic, but their coat does need a lot care, especially if you let it grow long. We keep Phoebe’s coat short through monthly appointments at the groomer.
These little dogs are compact, sturdy and very playful. They make excellent apartment dogs because they don’t bark much and can get most of their exercise playing in the house—although I do take Phoebe on a decent 1.5 mile walk every morning. But I’m in Florida for the winter. If I had to brave the cold I’d cut the walks short. Phoebe’s temperament is what I call “aggressively submissive.” She literally throws herself down before every approaching human or dog and rolls on her back, begging to be admired.
My husband Liam wasn’t thrilled about getting a puppy at our empty nest stage of life. Now he’s Phoebe’s most devoted fan and playmate. She’s just what our grown-up family needed to get through this year—a cuddly ball of good energy, a neighborhood ambassador, and a reason to get outside at least four times a day. She’s brought so much fun and brightness to 2020. Hooray for puppy love!