Manny’s the spunky, confident guy. Chata’s a bit of a pistol. Boy likes to run and play, while Dinky, Sammy and Cocoa are more typical lap dogs.
Decked out in sweaters to combat a chilly Southern California winter, the group of senior Chihuahuas at Castaic Animal Care Center didn’t have the best of holidays, but they’re hoping for a better life in 2017.
They came to the shelter on December 12, after being surrendered by an owner in San Fernando who had too many dogs. 11 to be exact, 8 over the legal limit in Los Angeles.
While loved by their owners, the dogs were a bit neglected, all suffering from advanced periodontal disease.
“That situation is pretty common, unfortunately. People think they’re doing a good thing, they don’t want to bring their dogs to the shelter, but we do very well with getting small dogs adopted,” said senior volunteer Clare Storey.
After receiving dental procedures to remove plaque, tartar, and loose teeth, as well as being spayed or neutered, two of the original 8 have since been adopted.
The remaining six are still waiting for new homes. Storey estimates that the age range for the dogs is between 8 and 14.
“With good care and quality food, they’ve got quite a few years ahead of them,” she said. “For dogs this size, living 18 to 20 is not unheard of.”
Being a Chihuahua owner herself, Storey is quite a fan of the breed.
“They’re such characters. My Chihuahua is in charge of the big dogs in my house and has my husband wrapped around his paw,” she said with a laugh.
Ideally, Storey said the six Chihuahuas the center would be adopted in pairs, as they are a bit shy and really enjoy one another’s company, or into a home with other dogs since they’re used to being in a pack.
“Once in a home, I recommend letting them become acclimated at their own pace. Treats and lots of love will help. A bond will soon form,” she said.
Cocoa and Dinky have spent some time in a foster home with volunteer Judi Bruner. She set the duo up in a quiet room with a night light and lots of cushy bedding.
“It’s about making them as comfortable as possible,” Bruner said.
She has become quite enamored of the pair, who like to climb on her lap and give kisses.
“Cocoa can be reserved but Dinky is really coming out of his shell,” Bruner said. “He’s very sweet and more social.”
Adoption fees for the dogs range from $85 to $30 for senior citizens plus a county licensing fee. Each is fixed, vaccinated, microchipped and ready to go home immediately.
“The great things about dogs is that they live in the moment and don’t carry baggage. They’re so adaptable, especially seniors,” Storey said. “Those in their golden years deserve to be in a really nice home.”
Castaic Animal Care Center is located at 31044 N. Charlie Canyon Road, Castaic. The center is open from Monday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (661) 257-3191 or visit animalcare.lacounty.