Archive for February, 2011

Thank God for the Chihuahua!

I have recently concluded that the Chihuahua breed of dog saves millions of lives of unborn, unwanted puppies every year!

Pretty gutsy claim, huh?! HOW in the world could that be?

I just volunteered to help out at an all-day spay/neuter clinic sponsored by our local animal shelter.  We had four vets on duty for the surgeries, probably a dozen vet techs, and about three dozen volunteers for the day. Our goal was to spay or neuter 100 dogs and cats.

This day was anonymously underwritten by a private donor, so all spays and neuters were free, and the event was highly publicized. Folks were supposed to start checking in with their animals at 7:00 a.m. Volunteers for the morning shift were to arrive by 6:30. We could take 100 animals, period.

When I drove up at the appointed time there was nowhere to park, and the line of people with their prospective “sterilizees” wrapped around the building into the parking lot of the nearby Outback Steakhouse.  Some had apparently arrived as early as 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. in order to take advantage of this amazing offer to have their beloved 4-leggeds “fixed” for FREE. On a coooold, mid-winter, February morning to boot (thank goodness we didn’t have snow that day).

So what’s the deal with Chihuahuas, you may ask, and just how do they save puppies’ lives?

Well here it is. My own theory based on observation. So take it for what it’s worth.

About half the dogs we took in that morning were either purebred Chihuahuas or Chihuahua crosses. We had 3-mo.-old teensy, weensy, short-haired females, to 12-lb. long-haired blondes, to a litter of precious black “Chugs” (Chihuahua/Pug crosses), to one absolutely adorable pup in her pink “housecoat,” … you name it, we had just about every variety of Chihuahua or Chihuahua cross that could exist.

And of course there were more people and animals lined up than we could take in one day (though we did end up sterilizing 110 animals!). So when we reached our 100 mark, we started taking names in order to schedule appointments for the late-comers later in the week (I was the name-taker). And guess what.  At least half of those folks whose names I took had, you guessed it …… Chihuahuas.  Some had multiples. I would get their name and phone number and then ask what type of animal they had, and what sex. “Well, I have three Chihuahuas, one Chihuahua-mix . . .” and so on.  I was chuckling to myself by the end of my name-taking duties.

By the end of the day, about 13 hours later, handing back the Chihuahuas to their owners, mixed in with wrestling the Pit Bulls and Rotties, I had a huge “Aha” moment! As follows:

* Lots of folks have dogs they can’t contain or can’t afford to have fixed.

* Unfixed dogs running on the streets equals unquantifiable numbers of unwanted puppies.

BUT …

* If many of those dog lovers own Chihuahuas instead of just any old Heinz 57 variety of dog, and

* Since we all know Chihuahua owners are crazy and regard their dogs as something akin to royalty and tend to carry them around on satin pillows and dress them in ridiculous outfits . . . . . . . . . . . then

* Those folks’ Chihuahuas are not out on the streets reproducing  ………. (are you with me here?)  SO …………………

Chihuahuas, due to their revered status, are cherished and mostly kept indoors and coddled. So that, even if they are not neutered or spayed, they take the place of thousands of  dogs their owners could have chosen otherwise — larger, more worldly types — who would probably now be roaming the streets and filling our shelters with all those unwanted puppies. Got it?

Well, anyway, it’s just a thought and, granted, a weird premise.

Alas, our shelters are still overflowing with unwanted puppies and kittens anyway, in spite of the efforts of the noble Chihuahua. But it did occur to me that perhaps the Chihuahua breed is doing its part, simply by virtue of its prima donna’esque traits, thereby demanding so much attention it is rarely left to its own devices out on the streets!

Yes. This is Frida. Truly irresistible.

And I have to admit that, after all these years of disparaging the breed, I am totally enraptured by my own Chihuahua, a long-haired named Frida,

My precious Tucker, the ultimate Chiweenie!

AND my Mr. Personality Plus Chiweenie, Tucker (a Chihuahua/Dachshund cross). I have three other dogs too, of all sizes, including a Great Pyrenees, but nothing can quite compare with the Chihuahua spirit. I just can’t explain it.

Perhaps it’s because the breed has a mission to help save, by default, all those gazillions of other puppies’ lives!

 

 

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