"600 Words by Esther J. Cepeda"
Oh but such sad, sad news on the Chihuahua front! This from today’s New York Times:
Chihuahua Tale (published: December 14, 2009)
Animal shelters across California are juggling Chihuahuas. A rising tide of abandonment has led the little dogs to now rival pit bulls for the unhappy title of most popular, most unwanted breed.
In Oakland, half the dogs at one shelter are Chihuahuas. In San Francisco’s municipal shelter, the proportion of full- or part-Chihuahuas is one-third and rising. Officials in Los Angeles have taken to airlifting them to the Northeast, which has many more Chihuahua lovers than shelters here can supply.
Shelter officials say breeders and puppy mills have been saturating a market that has been artificially stoked by pop culture. Add a deep recession, and it’s easy to understand the flood of plaintive stories and photos of unwanted dogs on shelter Web sites and on Craigslist, so far from the sunny worlds of "Legally Blonde" and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
But let’s leave Elle Wood out of this. Too many people learn too late that their little handbag companions can be nervous, yappy, fragile — they are prone to chronic problems with their teeth, skulls and bones — and expensive to maintain.
As shelters try to solve what is essentially a distribution problem, states need to discourage reckless breeders and pass laws requiring spaying and neutering. People also need to realize the responsibility they are taking on before they buy or adopt any dog. The dogs deserve a safe, caring and permanent home. (And, if it’s a shorthaired Chihuahua going to the Northeast in winter, a sweater.)
Yep, it’s been a full year that I’ve been writing about the effects of the economic downturn on pets ("Trickle-down economics: housing crunch hits man’s best friends") and the hits keep coming. Last time I spoke to Tom Van Winkle, the Executive Director of the Animal Care League in Oak Park, IL, not only were there still more pets arriving every day but also fewer and fewer good home to place pets in – and less dollar donations flowing to keep them sheltered.
But, alas, it may be tough out there for man and beast but the holiday spirit of hope must burn brightly. And with that I offer this happy holiday poem to steel you through the cold days ahead. Enjoy!
Chihuahuas y La Noche Buena
Adapted by Rio Lara-Bellon.Adaptation is Copyright © 1996 by Rio Lara-Bellon All Rights Reserved
'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the casa
Ni un raton se movia!Caramba! ?Que pasa?
Los ninos were all tucked away en sus camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas.
While Mama worked late in her little Cocina
El viejo was down at the corner Cantina
Living it up with amigos, !carrajo!
Muy contento y un poco borracho.
While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado,
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado
To bring a los ninos both buenos y malos,
A nice batch of dulces y otros regalos.
Outside in the yard there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window y mire' afuera
And who in the world do you think that it era?
Santo Nikos in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!
And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,
Were eight little *CHIHUAHUAS*, approaching volados.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
Ay Milo! Ay Tobee! Ay Frida y Sasha!
Ay Todo! Ay Pepe! Ay Poco y Nacho!
Then standing erect with hand en su pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.
Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his traje de gala,
He filled all the stockings with bonitos regalos
For none of the ninos had been muy malos.
Then chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,
He turned like a flash y volo' como el viento.
And I heard him exclaim (y es la verdad!)
"MERRY CHRISTMAS A TODOS, !! FELIZ NAVIDAD !!"
Esther J. Cepeda writes the "600 Words" & "Pregunta del Dia" columns, and is also the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Her views and reporting do not necessarily reflect those of ISAC. "600 words" is a registered trademark of EeJayCee, Inc., Copyright 2008. May be reprinted with permission, contact firstname.lastname@example.org