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Collaboration brings California Chihuahuas to the midwest

Small dogs make a big trip to find new homes

Moving from sunny California to snowy Minnesota may not sound ideal to everyone, but to dozens of Chihuahuas the move has been a lifesaver. It's all thanks to a partnership between Animal Humane Society and a group called Compassion Without Borders.

The idea was born when Dr. Cindy Karsten, a shelter medicine resident at UC Davis in California, was troubled by the over-representation of Chihuahuas in crowded shelters. Over the past several years, Chihuahuas have filled up California shelters in record-breaking numbers, representing as much as 60 percent of all dogs in some shelters in the state.

Looking for ways to alleviate the problem, Dr. Karsten reached out to AHS where she did a veterinary externship in 2010. AHS agreed to find the Chihuahuas new homes if Dr. Karsten could get them to Minnesota.

Dr. Karsten partnered with Dr. Christi Camblor, founder of Compassion Without Borders, to raise money for the transport program.

From November 2012 through September 2013, 188 Chihuahuas were flown across the country to begin new lives in Minnesota.

“After walking through shelter after shelter in California and seeing all of the Chihuahuas that fill the kennels, it is so amazing to have an opportunity to rescue some and in turn help the wonderful people who work so tirelessly to find them homes,”  says Dr. Karsten.