During the Great Chihuahua Airlifts of 2010, the excesses of chihuahuas, like the Falasha Jews airlifted out of Ethiopia, were able to escape their native state.
On 6 January 2010 (my birthday!), fifteen California chihuahuas were received at Kennedy International Airport.
These included Malibu, Annie, Bebop, C. J., Nala, Sherlock, Hancock, Honey, Tina, Holly, Maximus, Jeb, Orlando, Bella and Colette.
Most of the news stories like to mention Hollywood in the coverage of the Great Chihuahua Airlift, but this group comes from San Francisco.
They received jackets for the colder weather and "I Heart NY" buttons. In the photo above, Malibu is getting a drink of water after the long flight, while Annie licks her chops expectantly, heading for the same waterbowl.
Here at the right we see Malibu again, giving one of the receivers at the airport an appreciative kiss. The tongue-thrust chihuahua below-left is Colette.
(As an aside, many chihuahuas have a tongue slightly longer than the muzzle and you'll see a quarter-inch of tongue showing most of the time, but some of the least well bred bloodlines produce dogs like Colette with tongues "cutely" an inch or two two long. In rarer cases the tongue will loll to six inches, as for some of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest winners.
The condition is correctible surgically but no reason to do so if it's not impacting the dog's quality of life, but they should not be bred).
Strangely, of the hundreds of newspaper reports about the excess chihuahuas leaving California, they nearly all represented the event being the result of tragedy and neglect, which it was not.
Some even said it was all personally Paris Hilton's fault that so many chihuahuas were in need. In many California shelters, thirty-percent to sixty-percent of unwanted dogs were chihuahuas.
What these reports fail to mention is there was a consumate decline in the numbers of large dogs for which no one is waiting in line to adopt.
The shelters' publicity blitz and public relations "spin" was great for donations, orchestrated to be profitable rather than informative. Fact is, this presumed horrible "excess" was a bonanza for the shelters, as for once they had far fewer of the large dogs which are difficult to place in new homes, thousands of them euthanized every year.
Chihuahuas need not die, however, because they were a profitable commodity. Shelters in a dozen states from Washington to New York were begging to get them.
Then the dogs were sold usually for about $300 each, calling it an adoption fee, but really these rescue organizations are second-hand dog dealers.
So, far from being a catastrophe, this was good for the California dog population. Rather, the drop in the large dog population and rise in small dogs meant fewer dogs total had to be killed at considerable outlay of expenditure, but could instead be redistributed to an eager marketplace.
That marketplace has all too little interest in big ol' German shepherds, labs, dobermans, Great Danes, or mastiffs that have lost their first homes, often for lack of training that made them family burdens, problems new adoptees are reluctant to inherit.
But tiny dogs are eagerly sought even by the urban inhabitants of small condominiums, and what amounted to overbreeding in California was a thumbs-up situation for states where chihuahua populations are low.
And the proof of the pudding was how, on the first day the first fifteen chihuahuas were offered for adoption, a reported three hundred New Yorkers lined up outside the doors of the shelter hoping for a chance to get one, as seen in the two photos here at the right.
About half of them gave up when they saw how many people were after a scant fifteen dogs, but that left 150 people lining up in hopes of getting a chihuahua, or in several cases a second chihuahua as some folks brought one they already had.
The further claim that people were being irresponsible, obtaining chihuahuas because movie stars have them, then turning them over to shelters when tired of them, was another fatuous lie designed to stir outrage and inspire dog-lovers to write checks.
The Airlift dogs were well behaved and fully socialized with other dogs and with people, so they were not abandoned by people who weren't fond of them or neglected them.
Rather, California, one of the harder-hit states during a recession, has cost people their jobs and ability to make a living. With thousands upon thousands of homes foreclosed, there's a growing homeless population of human beings, or a population seeking cheap apartments that prohibit pets.
Human suffering led to the sad necessity of parting with family pets, which fortunately were dogs people throughout the USA were eager to get their hands on. So, no catastrophe except for the humans whose lives have experienced massive disruption. It was no catastrophe for chihuahuas, certainly not for the shelters that are getting record-breaking donations from all across America, even from the wealthy celebrities whom the truth-doesn't-matter journalists have tried to blame.
It's also been great advertising for Virgin America, the airline that donated passenger space on the plane. The airline has set up a Facepage for people who want to follow the happy fates of these dogs, and they had nearly 50,000 fans on the first day:
The Great Chihuahua Airlift of 2010