PeoplePets.com They waited on a cold Manhattan morning for up to four hours, shivering, but never losing hope. More than 150 lined up, praying that they'd be "the one." And on Wednesday morning, 13 lucky families adopted healthy Chihuahuas flown to New York City from San Francisco in search of happy homes.
After spending a week at Manhattan's ASPCA following a cross-country flight courtesy of Virgin Airlines, the pups were made available to the public Wednesday, and as expected, went fast. According to ASPCA Adoption Center Senior Vice President Gail Buchwald, staffers had a chance to bond with the animals, who ranged in age from 4 months to 7 years, before adoption day, ensuring that they'd go home with the right families. "Most of the time when adoptions don't work out, it's not because the animal was bad, but because it wasn't a great match," she tells PEOPLEPets.com. "We didn't want these Chihuahuas to come back to us again after all they'd been through."
As people were let in to meet the dogs, they were screened by ASPCA staff in an interview concerning their lifestyle and previous pet experience. "We truly feel that all of the dogs found perfect homes," Buchwald says. She added that staff members will be following up with all the adoptive families in the weeks to come.
Sadly, two of the available dogs weren't adopted on Wednesday. Collette and Sherlock, who both have a myriad of medical problems, were left behind by potential families due to concerns over their health — and the financial strain their conditions could bring. "I do understand that sometimes, adopters don't want to deal with medical issues," Buchwald says. "But it's heartbreaking to have hundreds of people show up wanting these dogs, then hear they have health issues and say they're not interested. They're all wonderful animals, and they all deserve special homes." Happily, though, several of the shelter's other dogs did go home with families that arrived too late for the Chihuahuas.
In light of Wednesday's success, Buchwald hopes that the ASPCA is able to help dogs from around the country in the years to come. "The single biggest obstacle, and this is no surprise, is the airline transportation," she says. "Shelters don't have the funds to fly dogs, so we depend on the generosity from airlines like Virgin, and hope we can count on it again in the future."