Why Are There So Many Chihuahuas Found in Shelters?
Holding Lily the Chihuahua required a gentle touch recently at a hair salon, for fear of breaking one of her bird-like bones that I could feel through her thin fur and skin. She stared appreciatively into my eyes while sitting on my lap. We were waiting for her owner, Allison Lindquist, executive director of the East Bay SPCA in California. On answering why there are so many Chihuahuas found in adoption shelters, Lindquist told me, “I’m worried about all Chihuahuas now. They’re on their way to becoming the next Pit Bulls.”
She explains that dog breed popularity can follow trends. Due to the latest breed “fashion” and Disney’s movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua, more people have been bringing home tiny breeds, particularly Chihuahuas, and then dumping them off at adoption shelters not long afterward.
The same thing has happened to Pit Bulls since they have an established “tough and cool” image. She says, “Sadly, many people do little research into breed characteristics and don’t understand and commit to the responsibilities of lifetime ownership of a puppy or dog.”
The Pitfalls of Adopting a Chihuahua
If you’re still considering adopting a Chihuahua into your home, perhaps after having admired one on TV or in a film, John Dauzat, director of Fremont Animal Services in California, offers some words to chew on. “A puppy that looks cute in a movie may not seem as cute when it chews a favorite shoe or cries to go out at 3 a.m. “Rather than work through the issues, it is often easier to dump the animal.”
“Sadder yet,” adds Adam Parascandola, director of California’s Oakland Animal Services, “is when a family realizes a poor fit with their Chihuahua and relegates the innocent animal to the backyard. That is when we get calls for barking or neglected dogs.” He continues, “Many times, help reaches these animals too late; some are too antisocial and fearful ever to enjoy life with a family again.”
How to Avert a Chihuahua Adoption Disaster
Despite the potential problems, countless Chihuahua owners can attest that this smallest of breeds makes one of the sweetest and most loving pet companions for the right individuals and families. To avoid Chihuahuas going the way of Pit Bulls (becoming home rejects at adoption shelters), Linquist offers the following advice:
Resist the Impulse Buy of a Chihuahua
These dogs are solely dependent upon us, and their lives are entirely in our hands. That is a massive responsibility for a long, long time.
Do your Homework Before Adopting a Chihuahua
Research the Chihuahua breed to determine if it will suit your lifestyle. You can do this online, by reading books or talking to neighbors, co-workers, veterinarians, and other animal experts.
Volunteer at a Shelter
Most could use the helping hands, and it will allow you to see what’s involved in pet care. See first hand how chihuahuas behave in the shelter before you decide to take it home for adoption.
Consider your Living Situation
Do you plan to stay in your home for a while, or could you move in a few years? If you rent, will your landlord allow pets, even small dogs like Chihuahuas? All of these factors, and more, could affect what happens to your dog in the long run.
Be Honest About Your Financial Ability
Take a hard, detailed look at your income and savings to make sure that you’ll afford pet care costs now and in the years to come.
Consider Saving a Shelter Dog
While many reputable Chihuahua breeders exist, check with your local adoption shelter to see if they have what you are looking for. You could save a life while saving money.
Lily is proof that loving little Chihuahuas can be found for adoption at animal shelters, and that caring homes can break the Pit Bull shelter cycle. Is she here to stay? Just ask one of Lindquist three additional dogs, all Pit Bulls, which have grown very protective of Lily and have voted that she’s a keeper.
Article written by Author: The Dog Daily Expert