Last week the GTHS received nine Chihuahuas from New Mexico. All of the dogs had been slated for euthanasia. As an animal shelter, our first priority is always to the local dogs in our area. When we have room however, we allow our open kennels to be filled with dogs in need. This year we were fortunate enough to be able to find room for 36 Chihuahuas crosses that would have otherwise died.
Our partner and fellow animal lover Joanna, sent us this letter after the most recent transport. Her words moved us and filled us with warmth. We have coined the most recent transport “The Christmas Chihuahuas”. Please stay tuned for their stories and help us find them loving homes this holiday season. To learn more about these wonderful dogs, please visit; http://gths.ca/dogs-for-adoption/
“When I first moved to New Mexico from Ontario in 2007, I was unaware of the significant dog overpopulation problems in almost all of the southern US states. I had always adopted shelter dogs but beyond this involvement, the world of rescue was unfamiliar to me. My first real introduction to the dire challenges of dogs in New Mexico was when I obtained my second rescue. Larry is a pitbull cross who I found on the reservation in my town. When I found him he was severely injured having been attacked by what I assumed to be a pack of reservation dogs. His coat was dull from years of malnutrition, his teeth were cracked from eating whatever he could find, his ear was ripped, half his tail was missing and his black coat was flecked with white hair, the product of many small scars. After I found him, he went to my local shelter for three months before I decided to give him a home. Chile, a small Chihuahua/Minpin cross came to me next – and she finally opened my eyes, launched our Chihuahua transports and began my foray into the world of rescue work.
New Mexico is a very rural state. It is also a very poor state. Both of these factors have impacted the animals that live here. Our shelters and our population do not have the resources that shelters and people in more affluent areas have. I regularly receive facebook posts from my fellow rescuers here about New Mexico shelters that need coal or wood to heat their buildings in the colder months. Just the other day I read a post about a shelter in Estancia, NM that did not have any electricity – no lighting!! Dogs are often kenneled two and three to a run with no bed to keep them comfortable. One small shelter I am aware of has a live release rate of zero percent and another has a strict seven day stray hold and an eight day euthanasia policy on any and all dogs. These conditions are not unusual, they are the norm here in New Mexico. At Lea County, one of the shelters you have kindly been receiving dogs from, they have six staff that look after approximately three hundred dogs. We intake approximately three hundred more dogs a month. We send approximately forty dogs per week to rescue just to stay abreast of our maximum capacity. As you can imagine, this translates into many animal lives lost. The closer you are to struggles like these the harder it is to turn away – to watch it all unfold will hurt any heart.
However, there is reason for hope and Canada, Collingwood and the Georgian Triangle Humane Society are partly responsible for this optimism. When I bore witness to the struggle I jumped in to help (I am a social worker by training). I quickly realized that my birth country, the country of my heart, may be able to help. While Canada has dog struggles of its own, its shelters are not overwhelmed in the same manner that New Mexico’s are. My partners, those at the Dunin Foundation and my sister Claire, and I started with a place we are familiar with – Collingwood. I consider Collingwood my home. My father, two Aunts, a set of cousins and many friends live there now – you probably know some of them – and Claire and I used to spend every school break in the area. After conversations with those at the Georgian Triangle Humane Society, we began our transports last March.
I am filled with immense pride at the love, compassion and kindness that has proven to exist in my country, Canada, and in my town, Collingwood. It extends beyond borders and is not limited by geography. As a Canadian, I am celebrating our ability and willingness to help where we can. Thank you Collingwood!”