Small Dogs Doing Big Things To Help Others
Helen Woodward Animal Center, Jason Debus Heigl Foundation and Katherine Heigl have teamed up in a big way to raise awareness for small dogs in rescues and shelters around the country. The goal for the partnership’s awareness-building social media campaign, #MySmallDogIs, is to find lots of big hearts to adopt the bittiest breeds around.
#MySmallDogIs Aims to Find Big Hearts For Small Dogs
After pit bulls and American Staffordshire terriers, Chihuahuas are one of the most commonly surrendered dog breeds in the country. The ever-growing number may be attributed to backyard breeders hoping to capitalize on the quirky attention they received in the heyday of the Taco Bell Chihuahua commercials and the Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie. Whatever the catalyst, orphan Chihuahuas, and other small dog breeds, can now be found in California and Arizona shelters by the thousands.
Indeed, one of the major reasons small dogs are ignored by potential adopters is due to popular negative stereotypes surrounding the Chihuahua breed in general. However, because Chihuahuas are normally a blend of a variety of small breed canines, their personalities and traits actually vary widely.
#MySmallDogIs invites small dog parents to share mold-breaking stereotypes about why potential pet parents should adopt small dogs and celebrate what wonderful companions they are!
Get Involved – Use #MySmallDogIs and Share Your Small Dog’s Story
Do you have a small dog that you know is amazing? Use #MySmallDogIs to share your story and to help inspire the next generation of pet adopters to adopt a new small dog furry friend!
We included five small dogs below we know that have done great big things to help and enhance the lives of other pets and people. Talk about breaking through the small dog mold!
Five Small Dogs Doing Big Things To Help Others
1. Squishy the Kind
Who is 16 years old, has three legs and a huge, loving heart? It’s Squishy! Squishy is a therapy dog who volunteers in Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy program. In fact, she’s the smallest dog in the program! She is what we call a “tri-pawd” but missing a leg doesn’t stop her from bringing joy to her clients.
Squishy visits assisted living facilities on a regular basis and fills the laps of senior citizens who, without her visits, would have no animal interaction. Her calm demeanor and willingness to curl up on anyone’s lap brings joy to all she meets. Her clients learn her name and all about her (including how she was born without a leg) and serves as a good memory exercise each time her senior friends see her.
Even at 16, Squishy always has a bounce in her step and a smile on her face. We love you, Squishy!
2. Cherie the Surf Dog, the Athletic
A surfing dog?! Yep, you read that right. We’d love to introduce you to Cherie the Surf Dog. We first met Cherie in 2013, at Helen Woodward Animal Center’s dog surfing lessons, when her adopted mom and dad decided to give dog surfing a try. It was obvious from that first lesson that Cherie was a natural “sur-fur.”
Cherie is fearless and has a natural ability to navigate through all kinds of surf. She even has a particular tell-tale stance and smile unlike any other dog surfer around.
We love her for proving that small dogs are sporty, active and, well, awesome, and are especially well-suited for outdoor family activities – even surfing!
You can see her accomplished list of awards, including “top dog fundraiser,” since she started competing. Cherie has raised thousands to support pet adoption, proving that this small dog has a huge heart for fun and for helping animals in need.
Watch Cherie Catch a Wave
3. Marnie the Dog, the Compassionate
One day in 2012, Marniethedog’s life changed forever. She was adopted by her new mom, Shirley, and both began a social media celebrity journey they never knew was coming! According to her website, Marnie waited for a forever family for over four months, but due to her older age and health issues, no one adopted her. But she WAS adopted, by a woman named Shirley, and swiftly became the most popular rescue dog on Instagram.
Since then, Marnie’s mission has been advocating senior pet adoption.
Just this past October, Marnie celebrated her thirteenth birthday, and she used her social media celeb status to help senior dogs in shelters. She’s even created her very own fund, Marnie’s Old Pals, so she can continue to help others in a big way each and every day.
4. Smoky the Brave
While Smoky isn’t the first war dog, she’s definitely the smallest! This four-pound bitty brave-heart was a World War II veteran who served her county by lifting the spirits of injured soldiers, backpacking through the New Guinea jungle and even assisting communication line-laying between outposts. She even saved his owner’s life once by warning of incoming fire!
When Smoky’s owner, William Wynne, was hospitalized in 1944, hospital staff asked for Smoky’s help in lifting the spirits of injured soldiers, thus becoming one of the earliest known therapy dogs.
5. Clover the Inspiring
Clover was close to hearts of staff and volunteers at Helen Woodward Animal Center. She was abandoned to a shelter in the high desert of southern California, but then transported to the Center to find a forever home. She was a Dachshund blend who was sorely in need of a special forever family. Why special? She was blind in both eyes.
Despite her disability, we quickly learned that Clover had a special gift she shared with other dogs. She had a knack for calming stressed or anxious dogs with just her presence. When placed in kennels with dogs who struggled with separation anxiety, her manner was immediately soothing to her companion. Her roommates barked less, relaxed more, and were more open to receiving attention from potential adopting families, which helped them find forever families faster.
After months of helping multiple dogs with nervousness, Clover was adopted with a dog she helped calm! Her tranquil temperament continues to keep her companion, Duke, grounded and mentally healthy. Plus, she helps her new mom, too!
Don’t forget to use #MySmallDogIs on social media and share why your small dog is amazing!
Visit Helen Woodward Animal Center for more information.