Last year, right after Thanksgiving, I made a life changing decision–I adopted a dog! I’d honestly never “owned” a dog by myself before…I’d had cats mostly, and had adopted them from shelters over the years, that is until my youngest showed signs of cat allergy. After that, I was more or less pet-less, although we had a family guinea pig, Nutmeg, a betta fish named Sal, and a family dog we call Sodor. But as for a critter that would follow me around like a furry stalker, and always choose my lap to sit on, nope, not really…
It was my husband’s idea that I get a little dog…one I could keep in the house, take places with me, and one that would be my own little shadow. He suggested that we find a reputable breeder and consider a Yorkie. As I began to look into the different breeds of small dogs, I read that Chihuahuas were fiercely loyal, and tended to bond with one person in the house. That sounded right up my alley!
I thought about breeders and going for a pure bred dog. There are certainly advantages to that, such as a better chance of getting particular traits that suit you and your needs, and I don’t fault anyone for wanting a pure or “real” version of any dog. That’s a personal choice. But for me, I just kept thinking about all the animals, dogs, cats, etc. that are destroyed each year because they are unwanted. There’s usually nothing wrong with them such as being overly aggressive or sick, there are simply too many of them and not enough people who want them…or perhaps not enough people who know how to get them.
I began to search online for shelters in my area, and my internet queries quickly pulled up a nonprofit organization in my region—Florida Little Dog Rescue. I was intrigued! This place obviously dealt in little dogs, and I’d actually be “rescuing” a dog. Quite honestly, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I assumed I’d be saving a dog from certain death, or maybe a fate worse than death. This sounded like a plan!
And so it began…in a process that smacks of online dating, I searched the little furry faces on the page, and as I read their biographies, tears welled up several times. A lot of them had been rescued from abusive situations, abandonment, and puppy mills—there seem to be an inordinate number of monsters who were all too willing to keep animals in deplorable conditions, forcing them to give birth to one litter of puppies after another, all for profit. Ugh…sometimes I’m really embarrassed to be a part of the human race…
Anyway, as I browsed over a few days, looking for the best friend that was just right for me, I saw many pooches that were strong candidates. They were all small, cute, and their stories tugged at my heartstings. And then, along about day 3, I saw her—the one. She was a Chihuahua, mostly anyway, and in her photo she just had this attitude…you know, not a bad attitude, but she was staring proudly and looking straight into the camera as if to say, “I’m cute, I’m sweet, and I’m the one for you! Why wouldn’t you want me???” And those ears…let’s just say, Peach (that was her name) could have auditioned for the lead in the canine version of “Dumbo”….just sayin’…In fact, it was those amazing, no apologies, Look at me world!!!, ears that sealed the deal for me. They gave, and still give her, character and personality.
I called about Peach right away and arranged to go and visit her at her foster home, which was over an hour’s drive away, after my application had been approved. They told me that I could either adopt her right on the spot, or go home and think about it. I dragged my family out on a Sunday afternoon, because I was sure that my dog would get snapped up by some bogus person if I didn’t go right then. As mentioned before, I’m impulsive like that. Sometimes it works in my favor, and sometimes not.
When we arrived at the foster home, she came right out to the car and started wagging her tail. Her “Foster Dad” stared in disbelief and said, “I can’t believe she’s not barking at you guys…she barks at everybody!” This turned out to be a highly prophetic statement, as my Peach, who I renamed Coco, is the terror of the neighborhood on our nightly walks. She especially hates other dogs (aside from her adoptive brother Sodor), and bicycles. The guy who rides his bicycle while trailing his little dog on a leash alongside really makes her foam at the mouth. Oh, and she’s doubled in size, more or less growing into those ears. 🙂 She has several quirks, some of them cute, some of them annoying, but she’s mine. And she’s perfect for me! She also definitely has those loyal Chihuahua traits too—she’s bonded pretty strongly with me, going wherever I go. She’s a good car rider…likes to stick her head out the window and bark at bike riders and anyone else who looks suspicious to her.
As a nonprofit organization, Florida Little Dog Rescue has a smart, efficient business model. In order to keep overhead low, they do not maintain office space, and business is conducted mostly by phone and online. They also rely heavily on foster homes for rescue dogs, which consist of animal lovers in the region who are willing and able to open their homes to the animals until they are adopted. This is actually a big part of what makes Florida Little Dog Rescue unique, because the foster environment allows foster humans to assess the temperament, personality, quirks, and housebroken status of the dog in a home setting. That way, the foster family or individual can communicate directly with the potential adoptive family or individual about the realities of adopting a particular animal, thus ensuring a better dog/human match, and hopefully a stable, lifelong home for an already traumatized doggie.
Florida Little Dog Rescue is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is a division of Big Dog Rescue. The organization supports its efforts and operation solely on charitable donations. If you would like to make a donation to the general operating fund of Florida Little Dog Rescue, please click on the picture of Coco below:
If you are interested in adopting a little dog yourself, please start by filling out this Adoption Application so that your eligibility may be assessed. Please Note: Adoption is only available to Florida residents at this time!
To view the photos and read the bios of little dogs currently available for adoption, click here: I’m Looking For My New Best Friend
If you live in Central Florida and would like to become involved in fostering rescued dogs, go here: I’d Like to Open My Home to Rescue Dogs
To follow Florida Little Dog Rescue on Facebook, where adoptable dogs are featured along with their eventual rescue success stories, click here: Florida Little Dog Rescue on Facebook
And finally, if you’d like to donate to save a specific dog that is scheduled to be euthanized by Animal Control this week, click this link: Save Me, I’m Worth It!