By: Shanae Berry-Weldon, SSHCR President & Founder
In early 2013, my first dog passed away. I can honestly say, I had never loved anything quite as much as I loved Scrappy. He was my 4-legged son and I didn’t think I could ever love anything again as much as I loved little Scrap-ster.
About a month had passed and I was still depressed and barely getting through the days. Many people suggested that I get another dog, but I kept insisting that, “I’ll never get another dog again.” Then, on April 18th, 2013, I decided to entertain the idea just so I could say, I looked.
I saw a little Chihuahua online who looked exactly like my Scrappy-Doo. We ran down to the local rescue but unfortunately, the little guy had just been adopted 2 days earlier. My heart broke all over again. The staff at the rescue felt so bad for me that they took me to their back room hoping a puppy would ease my sobbing. As we walk through the door, a curious little fuzz ball runs up to my feet and stops me right in my tracks. She started barking and growling and her little poodle friend wasn’t far behind.
I immediately stopped sobbing and picked up this feisty little nugget. This is the ball of fire who would soon become, Sadie. The staff at the rescue informed me that she had just lost her only puppy, she was very depressed, and had trust issues (along with a myriad of other problems). I thought, “hey, me too" and, she was mine.
But of course, we couldn’t leave her poodle friend behind and the puppy that was brought out while I was fixated on Chastity (AKA Sadie), well, we took him home too. My boyfriend at the time claimed that the puppy, "gave him a hug" and therefore couldn't be left behind either. Yes, we adopted 3 dogs at the same time which I DO NOT recommend.
Once I got Sadie home, she warmed right up to me. She became my other half and always had to have something touching me whether it be a paw, nose or tail. Despite some medical issues from the get go, she turned into the greatest dog. She is protective, yet friendly. She loves kids and has an adorable motherly instinct. She is always looking out for the other dogs well-being. She is the pack matriarch and has so much to teach other dogs. That is why I chose the name, Sadie’s Safe House.
Now, you might still be wondering why I chose to start a rescue. Well, I got a job cleaning kennels at the rescue that Sadie came from and ended up being their kennel manager. That is where I learned first hand, the struggles of being a Chihuahua in the shelter system.
Chihuahua’s are loyal, protective, devoted and courageous but can also be domineering, territorial and jealous. They've been carelessly over-bred and under-trained. Commonly, by the time they’ve ended up at the shelter, they’re no longer cute puppies and they’ve got undesirable traits that were never corrected such as barking, mouthiness and anxiety. These traits often times were unintentionally reinforced because it was “cute” or “funny” when the dog was younger but now that the dog is an adult, the owner finds themselves frustrated.
Unfortunately, this is a huge reason why so many Chihuahua’s are found abandoned or dumped at shelters. Chihuahua’s and Chihuahua Mixes make up anywhere between 30% and 50% of the average shelter population at any given time and many are euthanized only to make room for the incoming population. That's why I decided to start Sadie’s Safe House. I will personally see that no comfortable, healthy, adoptable Chihuahua or Chihuahua Mix in my possession will ever be put to sleep.
As the saying goes, “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”