Friday, February 10, 2012

Shelter rescues California canines

67 dogs transferred from California to Idaho

Express Staff Writer

Shelter dogs Yvette and Brownie are new arrivals at the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. They were transferred along with 65 other dogs from a crowded California shelter to Idaho shelters. Photo by David N. Seelig

More than 60 abandoned dogs will have another chance at forever homes this month thanks to the efforts of the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley and the Idaho Humane Society.

Nadia Novik, veterinary technician for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, said Wednesday that the shelter orchestrated the transfer of 67 dogs—mostly small Chihuahua mixes—from a desperately overcrowded shelter in California to shelters in Idaho.

"While we try to keep our efforts local, this was someone who reached out to us," she said. "We were able to help a lot of dogs."

Novik said the transfer happened when the San Francisco Chihuahua rescue called former board member Nicole Kohn, who called Novik, who called the Idaho Humane Society.

Naturally, the shelter did not have the capacity to take on all 67 dogs. Hannah Parpart, communications and outreach coordinator for the Idaho Humane Society, said the society's kennels can hold up to 150 dogs in addition to the 30 kennels that the organization has set up in a local PetSmart.

Parpart said that by the end of the day Tuesday, the first day that the transferred dogs were up for adoption, 13 had already found homes. As of Wednesday, 25 of the small mixes had been adopted.

Parpart said that so far this year, her organization has found homes for 219 dogs from other shelters, mostly small dogs that couldn't find homes elsewhere.

"Oh, definitely [there is a demand]," she said. "We have always had high adoption numbers with dogs. These little dogs especially go very, very quickly."


The new dogs' dispositions are also speeding their adoptions, Parpart said, as the Chihuahua mixes are not necessarily representatives of the breed's stereotypes.

"They are actually very nice little dogs," she said. "Chihuahuas are known to be hesitant with strangers. You can tell that they had a lot of interaction [at the previous shelter]."

But small dogs don't tend to get adopted speedily in the Wood River Valley, Novik said.

"It seems that this valley wants dogs that they can go hiking or skiing with," she said. "A lot of times our smaller breeds don't get adopted out as quickly as a Lab mix or a border collie mix."

The shelter accepted seven of the 67 dogs taken from the city of Porterville Animal Control Services, including two "exceptional" Chihuahuas that Novik said should be adopted quickly.

Though the dogs were in a shelter for quite some time, Novik said, they were obviously well cared for and socialized.

"Some have been kenneled for a long time so they are very shy," she said. "But some of them are just outgoing, social—everything we want."

In addition to the two Chihuahuas (named Aurora and Valerie), the shelter has taken in five medium-size dogs that went up for adoption Thursday, dogs that might get adopted by active valley residents.

Novik said the animals have all been spayed or neutered, and include Lab, border collie, terrier and Pyrenees mixes.

In addition to help from the Idaho Humane Society and the shelter, the smaller Chihuahuas were given tiny sweaters from a California pet fashion company, SimplyShe, to help them acclimate to the Idaho winter.

Katherine Wutz:

Shelter hours

The shelter, on Croy Canyon Road west of Hailey, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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