United Hope for Animals’ Shelter Support Program is dedicated to helping dogs in need of special care or medical attention. Mia is our latest case.
Without a doubt, Chihuahuas give meaning to the term “purse dog,” but when one of UHA’s volunteers noticed Mia in her kennel at one of our bimonthly Glamour Shot days, it was alarmingly evident that she was just a little too tiny.
Mia came in to the Baldwin Park shelter on July 16th as a stray from Lancaster. Most stray dogs that come into the shelter are, in some shape or form, dirty and tussled from life on the streets, but Mia had clearly had it rough. She was labeled as a teacup Chihuahua, but just by looking at her it was clear that three pounds was too small for comfort. Clearly neglected, her nails were so long that she could barely walk when she tried. At five years old, she had already had many litters of puppies, and her body was so malnourished that you could see her ribs. When our volunteer found her, she was also coughing and shivering, leading many of us to believe that she may have had pneumonia; her condition was so bad that she couldn’t even stand or walk, preferring to lay wherever she was put.
Immediately after getting a photograph and video, another generous volunteer, Holly Browde, decided to take Mia under her own wing and rescue her from the Baldwin Park shelter. “It was clear she wouldn’t last another 24 hours at the shelter,” Holly said. With Holly on board to foster Mia, UHA volunteers left the shelter in the middle of the Glamour Shot Day to take Mia to Dr. Kumar at the Southern California Animal Hospital in La Puente for immediate medical treatment. Holly’s loving touch was probably the first affection little Mia had ever known.
Our suspicions were correct: Mia had pneumonia and was dangerously emaciated. Dr. Kumar immediately put her on oxygen, IV fluids, and antibiotics. During her stay at SoCal, Dr. Kumar fell in love with little Mia and even wanted to adopt her except that he had his own dog-aggressive Boxer at home. Mia spent two full weeks in the hospital getting out of the danger zone until Holly finally took her home for some much needed quiet, rest, and recovery.
Here is where Mia’s story turns brighter. She is still on medication and isolation from Holly’s other pets, but Mia is quickly becoming the princess of her castle! “I’m working on making her as unbearably spoiled as possible,” says Holly. Mia’s appetite has returned in full force and she eagerly scarfs down huge quantities of poached chicken breasts and wet dog food. She has a companion in isolation – a six month old white terrier named Thompson – with whom she is now best friends. She is still sneezing and coughing, but she’s getting better every day. She’s even visibly gained some weight – by the time she is healthy, she should be at least four pounds. Mia can also walk now with no sign of discomfort or pain. It turns out that she has a luxating patella – a condition in which the kneecap is dislocated or moved out of its normal location – but this condition is common in small dogs and miniature breeds, and it certainly hasn’t slowed Mia down any. She looks a little bowlegged, but since when is a dog concerned about its looks?
Overall, Mia has made an astounding recovery in a short three weeks and her personality is beginning to shine. “Mia’s doing GREAT. She’s got the total classic, comical Chihuahua personality. She’s feisty, vocal when she isn’t getting as much attention as she wants (she has a big-ass Chihuahua voice and jumps up on my leg, begging to be held!), and has totally bonded with me,” Holly said. Mia will soon be ready for her forever home, and we think this fabulous little dog would be a perfect companion for a senior or an adult household in an apartment or condo.
We look forward to seeing Mia happy and healthy in her new home quite soon, but her story nearly had a different ending. Mia wasn’t originally included among the dogs United Hope planned to photograph that day at the shelter. It’s thanks to the volunteer eyes that spotted Mia in her kennel among several other dogs and the compassion and dedication of volunteers like Holly, who take action when they see a pressing need, that Mia has this second chance. To help us help shelter dogs like Mia in need of medical care, please donate to our Angel Rescue Fund at the top of the left column of this page.