A Chihuahua has found himself in the middle of a Cinderella story, only in this story it’s a diamond collar instead of a glass slipper that’s the perfect fit.
Although members of the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) protested this year’s Westminster Dog Show under the premise that pedigree dogs take away shelter dogs’ chances of finding a forever home, in this case the opposite is true.
A few days before the show, i Love Dogs participated in the 2nd Annual PETaPOTTY Westminster Experience, one of the many events that lead up to America’s most famous dog show. Hosted by SkyBark at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, the evening’s festivities included a fashion show that featured none other than i Love Dogs Diamonds’ exclusive diamond dog collars.
Also appearing at the show was an adorable Chihuahua named Jimmy—who just happened to be up for adoption. Jimmy served as date to i Love Dogs General Manager Martha Smith, who carried him around the festivities wearing a collar from the company. i Love Dogs specifically wanted an adoptable dog to wear the Jeune Chérie collar, to promote rescue and, of course, to prove that every dog can look and feel like a million dollars.
“We believe in giving rescue dogs every chance at a new home, so we wanted to help out by getting a rescue dog into the limelight with our collar,” says Smith. “Plus, since we donate a portion of the proceeds from every collar sold to a rescue organization, having a rescue dog model the collar seemed appropriate.”
Jimmy was one of the available dogs from the Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption, an open-admission shelter based in Accord, N.Y. The small, not-for-profit rescue group was happy to participate in the show.
“We’re always grateful for the opportunity to get the dogs out there and get them exposed so we were delighted to do the fashion show,” says Jane Kopelman of the Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption. “It’s a great way to say to people, ‘Hey, there are some really great dogs in the animal shelters. Come on in and adopt a really great dog.’”
Jimmy found his way to the folks at the Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption facility in a roundabout way. His journey actually began in Arkansas, where someone threw him over a home’s fence on Christmas Eve. The residents of the house surrendered him to a shelter and he was then taken in by the rescue group Last Chance Arkansas. That organization then transferred the little Chihuahua to Rondout.
“They transferred Jimmy to us,” says Kopelman, noting that Rondout Valley partners with other rescue groups. “Generally speaking, although [Last Chance Arkansas] do adoptions there as well, they have a very large number of dogs and not as many adopters. In the Northeast we have much less of an overpopulation problem and more adopters so they transferred Jimmy to us.”
Once at Rondout, Jimmy was temperament tested and found to be an excellent dog.
“He was evaluated and basically he has a great temperament,” Kopelman says. “His natural temperament is to be social, outgoing and friendly and that’s who he is. So we were able to evaluate him and see that this was a great dog and put him up for adoption.”
In an effort to help Jimmy find a new home, Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption printed up cards with information about him that could be passed around at the fashion show. The group also placed some cards in local pet supply stores and at the front desk.
A family who had rescued a dog from Rondout before saw one of Jimmy’s cards.
“We give people training classes for their dogs when they adopt from us [so they come back in],” Kopelman says. “And several months ago [this family] adopted from us and in the last few months one of their other dogs had died. They’ve always had a small dog as well as a big dog so in the back of their minds they were thinking, ‘Well, if a nice small dog came along we’re open to it.’”
When the family saw Jimmy’s card from the fashion show, they asked to meet him. “And they fell in love with Jimmy,” says Kopelman. “They came in and introduced him to their other two dogs and he went home with them.”
Although he’s only recently gone to his new forever home, he’s already come back to visit the staff at the rescue.
“They brought him in to say hello and visit and show us how well he’s doing with their other two dogs,” Kopelman says. Everything appears to be going well for Jimmy, although, Kopelman chuckles, “He just wishes he got to keep his diamond collar.”
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption
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