“They are the “in” dogs of Los Angeles — little poodles, Yorkies, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas. We can thank their rise in popularity to Paris Hilton, aficionado of teeny weeny dogs and films such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which made that breed a much sought-after commodity.
So while backyard dog breeders in the area see dollar signs, every day the shelters of L.A. overflow with tons of unwanted small dogs, now facing euthanasia. “It has alot to do with Hollywood,” says Robin Harmon, the adoption manager for Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles. “It got so popular for people to carry purse dogs.”
Meanwhile, in Utah as well as many other areas of the country, small dogs for adoption are rare, usually only for sale. “It’s senseless to have dogs euthanized in one area when dogs like that are in demand in another area,” says Jessica Almeida, rescue and transfer coordinator for the Humane Society of Utah, which almost never had small dogs for adoption.
That was until about two-and-a-half years ago, when Almeida and Harmon figured out what to do: create a pipeline to whisk the tiny strays of L.A. to eager small-dog adopters in Utah. Called Pup My Ride, some 3,500 of the tiny pups have been saved from a city kill shelter, making the trip north to Utah in twice-monthly van rides.
“You have these little dogs and you can’t imagine why no one would want them,” says Almeida. “And to imagine you can make someone’s dream come true, for a dog who had no future, is amazing. It is a fantastic feeling.