by Joyce Brandon
Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Fresno.
“¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!” is a phrase most people alive in the late 90s will recognize and associate with the adorable Taco Bell Chihuahua. That little tan, apple head Chihuahua, stole the hearts of millions of Americans and for good reason: Chihuahuas are adorable!
I don’t know if the popularity of the Taco Bell dog was responsible for the crisis we see today: an abundance of Chihuahuas in shelters and far too many dying there. We just can’t save them fast enough. Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes are the predominant breed in most Central Valley shelters you visit today. We can’t pull them fast enough and have a hard time finding homes for those we pull, especially the little boys.
Honestly, they are probably my favorite breed. I love their compact size, their eagerness to please, and they are the perfect fix for a bad day. Chihuahuas live to love you: they have no other job. Oh, they fancy themselves guard dogs, but we know the truth.They have a reputation for being “ankle biters”, “yappers”, and “nervous shakers.” Some of it’s deserved but much of it is not. Dogs that misbehave are most often the result of owners that don’t train. These little guys are so cute that they get away with behavior large dogs never would. They are coddled and babied until they are no longer cute, then they are dumped in shelters by the thousands.
I have a theory that I want to put to the test. I believe our Chihuahuas can be trained to be well behaved at home and in public. I am calling this experiment: “Extreme Chihuahua Makeover, Bachelor Edition.”
Animal Compassion Team is looking for volunteers to take one of our little boy Chihuahuas into their home for about three months. We have two wonderful trainers that have offered to donate their services. Foster parents will be working with professional trainers, Liz Alanis, (Liz’s Positive K9 Training) and Erica Horn (Me and the Dogs Canine Coaching) at their facility on Clovis Avenue one night each week. The boys will be taught basic obedience, a few cute tricks, and a simple agility course. You will need to practice these things at home every day in order for the training to be successful.
Important also is housebreaking: this is often the key to finding a permanent home. Liz and Erica will have some helpful suggestions in this area as well. Belly bands may be useful in the house until the training has been achieved.
The big reveal and special adoption event will be held at Animal Compassion Team’s Puppy Palooza event in early May. The dogs will show off their new skills and we hope, find their perfect new homes. In the event you fall madly in love with your student, foster failures are encouraged. ?The goal is to have ten participants. Does this sound like fun to you? Would you like to make a real difference in the life of a dog? Here is an opportunity to help. If you would like to become a participant in our Chihuahua Makeover, please contact joyce@animalcompassionteam[dot]com or call 559-260-1790. I have included photos of some of our candidates. They range from easy to challenging and we will help make a good match.
All dogs pictured in this article are candidates for the Chihuahua Makeover!
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section.