Just over a week ago, two Pets In Need staff members made the inaugural journey to kick off our brand new transport program. Late on a Friday night, they packed up seven of our dogs and headed out on the 12+ hour journey to a no-kill animal shelter in Tucson, Arizona.

IMG_4218Small dogs, especially Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes, are often killed in California shelters. There are too many Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes in shelters, and they often have a hard time finding homes due to stereotypes about the breed. Tan Chihuahuas, like our very own Emilio and Antonio, are often killed in shelters despite being happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dogs.IMG_4220

We made a connection with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and found out that their shelter was actually having the opposite problem – they have an abundance of big dogs, but have trouble keeping up with the demand for smaller dogs. Over a series of months, we exchanged emails and phone calls back and forth. Eventually, we worked out the logistics for our first cross-country excursion. We decided to take seven of our longest-term animals on the trip, ranging from 6 months to almost 2 years in the shelter.

Our Shelter Manager, Patty Santana, and our Adoptions Manager, Marsa Hollander, loaded up our old, clunky van with the seven dogs we selected and added one more furry friend – our little Pomeranian buddy, Zeus, who hitched a ride to his new adopters and new forever home in New Mexico. It took almost 16 hours to get to Tucson, but Marsa and Patty and canine companions were greeted warmly by the HSSA staff.

We plan to continue the transport program in the future, and pull at-risk small dogs from local shelters that would be good candidates to take the ride to Arizona (and hopefully more shelters in the future!). Sometimes saving lives is a supply and demand problem, and we want to make sure the dogs we rescue end up in a loving, forever home, even if it means traveling to another state to make that match happen.

Thank you for your well wishes and support during our first journey! Because of this trip, we now have room at our shelter to pull more animals who are in danger at other shelters. We’ll continue to update you on future rescue journeys, so stay tuned.IMG_4219