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How we work…

Bandit, February 2009.

There are a wide variety of situations where we receive dogs in need of a new family. Elderly people who have to go into a home that won't take pets; people who have developed an allergy to their dogs; some council pounds give us a call if a lost dog is not claimed after eight days; even owners who cannot handle their dog or simply change their minds about having a Chihuahua. We get referrals from the Chihuahua Club etc as well.

This part is really important: we can only take dogs that have been surrendered by their legitimate owner (or an official agent such as a pound). Any lost dogs must be taken to a ranger (through your local counci) or vet.

We pick up the dog. We watch the dog for a few hours or days to assess the damage that has been done to the little one, and we endeavour to treat the problem if there is one. Each little dog is taken immediately to our vet to be checked for things like heart problems, heart worms, kennel cough etc. Once we are assured there is nothing to worry about we bring the dog home and let it loose amongst the other dogs.

When we were assessed by the council to run the Chihuahua Rescue they told us we had to build little cages to keep the dogs separated. No, we told them. This is to be a home situation for all our little lost Chihuahuas. And so it remains. They will be taught immediately to be sociable with the other dogs. Normally we take the new arrival into the back yard on a leash, for its own protection and to assess the introduction. A few tail sniffs all round and usually hey presto, the new dog is accepted. Although it will still be alert to any ill feeling from the others, most of the time there are no problems by the second day.

Guipi and Rita, 2002.

The Chihuahua is neutered and immunised. We commence toilet training (if they are not already toilet trained). We cuddle and kiss and reassure the baby. We worm and flea them, clean out little ears and wash little eyes, cut toe nails, brush coats, comb out knots and matts, bath and massage. Pretty soon the new arrival reckons this is a pretty nice place to stay! No little pens and cold floors etc. At night the dogs are bedded in dog beds, covered with big thick doonas, keeping the dogs warm and off the sometimes cold ground. They snuggle and burrow into the doonas. Sometimes illness or behavioural problems may require certain dogs be separated from the others so their dog bed is kept isolated from the others. We have no problems with barking or crying during the night. The dogs are kept under surveillance if there is a thunderstorm or people are letting off firecrackers. Normally our little guests are so settled and happy that these problems no longer bother them.

The dogs are fed twice a day. Dried dog food in the morning and a cooked stew for their night feed, a run in the yard for an hour or so and then all are bedded in for the night.

Once the dog has been assessed as suitable for adoption, we look for a suitable new owner. These are found from responses to our advertisements, web page, other associations, word of mouth. When the prospective new owner comes to visit, we allow the dogs to choose the owner, not the other way around. It soon becomes apparent which dog likes the person or not. Quite often someone will come to adopt a particular dog by description over the phone or from our website, but upon arrival they find the dog does not like them. Instead, the ugly little scruff was all over them, begging for love and attention. Guess what? Nine times out of ten, the little scruff finds a new home through such loving.





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