For over two decades now, Grateful Dogs Rescue has been serving as a safety net for countless dogs deemed not suitable for adoption from the shelter by San Francisco's Animal Care and Control because they have some fixable issue: they need medical treatment; they need training (an all too common reason dogs end up in the shelter in the first place); they're absolutely terrified in the shelter environment (as is only natural, particularly if they suddenly end up there after years in a loving home). This all-volunteer group takes in these dogs, gives them the care and resources they need, gets to know them, and, as one story after another attests, finds them the perfect families.
Like shelters and rescues all over Northern California, Grateful Dogs continues to see an overwhelming influx of Chihuahuas and chi mixes, in numbers that now often exceed abandoned pit bulls. Paris Hilton may have launched the fad for handbag pooches years ago, but "no one ever thinks about Paris Hilton any more," laughs administrative director Kim Durney, "and it seems like there are more Chihuahuas than ever."
As an all-volunteer group, Grateful Dogs has little administrative overhead; hence virtually all donated funds go directly to the care of the dogs, with the greatest expense being vet bills. "2011 was the year of orthopedic surgery," Durney says, with everything from luxating patellas to broken bones requiring attention to get the dogs in their care back on track.
One of them is Rigby, a cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Chihuahua mix who came to Grateful Dogs from the shelter because he needed surgery for cherry eye. Then while recovering from the surgery he managed to break his femur, so he's currently recuperating. You can find out more about him (and perhaps make an appointment to visit) here.
Photo credit: Rigby recuperating: Grateful Dogs Rescue