I am a chihuahua person, you say “chihuahua in need of rescue” and I will be there faster than you can finish your sentence. I discovered my passion for these boggly eyed – over sized forehead, big personalities trapped in tiny bodies when i rescued my first one, Ringo at 18 from being euthanized for dog aggression. So when i got asked if i was willing to take on a Chihuahua from Taiwan who was in a shelter of over 1000 dogs and did not stand much of a chance mingling with the big-pups, there was no hesitation.
Before i knew it i was en-route with a fellow rescuer to pick up this little lady – Akiko, who was arriving in Toronto at 8pm, which ended up being 2am, and then head straight back home. Many people questioned – your going that far for just a Chihuahua? What does just a Chihuahua mean? Yes! Of course i would go ‘that far’ for a Chihuahua! They clearly do not know me well.
A total of 12 dogs were sent from Taiwan to Canada, which the private shelter organized on their own between the shelters. This shelter – TUAPA – is a private shelter in Taiwan houses over 1000 dogs on average at a time, all rescued from abusive orneglectful situations. Most of these dogs are purebreds, as the dogs and breeds represent status symbols in the community. Therefore are often bought like a brand new purse, and dumped when not in fashion anymore. As the shelter is overwhelmed, and there are far less good homes than dogs for adoption in the community, the shelter often sends these dogs to other countries at their own cost (and vaccinated, sterilized, ect), simply because they know it is their only real chance at a good life.
However, this brings up an on-going debate in the animal rescue community. Why bring in dogs from other countries, when we have enough homeless animals in the community already? Although i do not believe in personally rescuing dogs from other countries that are sitting in shelters in Montreal already, like large breeds. I know that in the past 8 weeks alone i must have been asked at least 20 times if we have a female Chihuahua for adoption, there are more homes for small breeds like Chihuahuas than available small breeds. I have heard it too many times – i bought from a breeder because i could not find what i wanted in rescue. For each individual that inquired about a Chihuahua, i referred to petfinder to look, where on average there are usually around 10 Chihuahua’s fro adoption in the Montreal. At least half probably bought from a breeder because they did not find what they were looking for.
The rescue of these Taiwan dogs is bitter sweet, 12 dogs were saved from a country that had no homes to offer them. However there continues to be homeless pets in our community already. Although all of the dogs went to rescues in Ontario, a province that has a much higher adoption vs. abandonment rate, and therefore were able to offer these dogs what they need – a home. We took on the Chihuahua and brought her to Montreal, where we knew she would not steal the home of other dogs already homeless in the community, because there is a higher demand vs. abandonment rate for Chihuahuas. As much as we wanted to rescue all the dogs from this country and shelter – our loyalty remains with the homeless animals already in Montreal.
Akiko is a young, affectionate, out-going Chihuahua who once veterinary checked to be healthy and clear of the common blood parasite in the country (Hemobartonella) will be ready for adoption. She also needs a good dental cleaning, which will be done before adoption. She was rescues as a stray brought to a high-kill pound in Taiwan, probably originally from a puppy-mill as she is de-vocalized and has signs of having many litters. She is one lucky pup – and is looking for a home that will spoil her rotten, because she deserves it.
Founder, Eleven Eleven Animal Rescue