on Apr 09, 20

A birthday in lockdown that will be a life saver for chihuahuas

Casey Walters says she’s fine with spending her 29th birthday in lockdown on Sunday … 

Casey doesn’t like gifts. “I find gifts awkward” she says. But usually when she says ‘no gifts please’ people like to give anyway.

This year, with everyone in their bubbles, she doesn’t need to worry about that. And that means she can encourage even the most hardened gift-givers to replace their gifts with donations to the charity that she founded, the New Zealand Chihuahua Rescue Trust (NZCR).

Casey formed NZCR in October 2017 after being inspired by adopting her first rescue Chihuahua, Pippin, in 2015 and becoming involved in the breed.

Pippin had been left alone in a Christchurch house when her owner went into hospice care and eventually passed away. Pippin was alone for a little over a month, to fend for herself with minimal contact from the landlord. Nobody was able to get close to her.

After her owner died, the landlords listed her on TradeMe, and Casey’s heart broke when she saw Pippin’s ‘sad little face’. Although the landlords warned that Pippin was ‘feral’ and might be better off put to sleep, Casey decided to give her a chance.

Casey says the next month was difficult. “Pippin bit me all the time, snarled when I looked at her, and was like a little Tasmanian devil.” But that started to change over time and, after gaining her trust, Pippin has become her loving and loyal shadow.

After adopting Pippin, Casey became involved with the local Dominion Chihuahua Breed Club, and saw how many dogs were being overbred, and unwanted by breeders, show competitors, or ill-informed buyers. So she informally started to help rescuing and rehabilitating unwanted dogs, and finding them new homes.

Then in 2017, 11 dogs from a hoarding situation came into the care of a rehoming committee she was part of, and she decided it was time to form an appropriate entity and become official — and so, the New Zealand Chihuahua Rescue Trust was formed and registered as a New Zealand Charity.

The Rescue expected to assist perhaps 10 dogs a year, but since October 2017 they have rescued, rehabilitated and adopted out around 60 dogs, and also help a number of dogs in the community with food and medical care.

It costs about $280 to de-sex a dog, $75 for vaccinations and $25 for micro-chipping. All of that — and much more — is money they need to fundraise (or it comes out of the Trustee’s pockets!)

So Casey says she’s very happy to be receiving donations to support Chihuahua rescue instead of gifts, through the birthday registry that she’s set up at The Good Registry. 

“All of the funds will go towards the rescue dogs. We have five dogs, Meg, Lexi, Isla, Dayna and Lady, that all need de-sexing once lockdown is over. Three have come into care since lockdown began and all of them need vaccinations, council registration, flea treatments, de-worming, dentals, and de-sexing. Lady also needs a hernia operation.”

“We also have a dog, Hercules, who is a ‘forever foster’, and he’s on heart medication so each month we could spend a couple of hundred dollars on his heart meds,” she says.

“Hopefully instead of gifts for my birthday we will get some much needed funds.”

Casey says Chihuahuas make great pets — “they’re clever, sassy, and can do everything a bigger dog can do; they just come in a smaller package. You can take them anywhere with you.”

But they also need to be well-trained, socialised, and cared for. And sadly breeders often breed for colours or size, not health, and many dogs end up with chronic health conditions. That means that unfortunately too many owners end up with dogs they don’t want, can’t or don’t know how to care for.

“People need to remember, although some are purebred — rescue dogs have quirks. They are damaged. A lot of the dogs that we have in are scared of people, so you can’t just expect them to jump up on your lap and love you. But if you put the time in, they’re worth it. Their bodies are little but their spirits are massive.”

You can find out more about New Zealand Chihuahua Rescue at their website, or on Facebook or Instagram.

And if you’d like to support them through Casey’s birthday registry you can do that here.

You could also set up a lockdown fundraising registry of your own at The Good Registry here.


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