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Small-breed dogs from LA shelter find new home in Ponderay

Mon., March 24, 2014

Some small dogs from the big city found big hearts waiting in a small town over the weekend.

Twenty-five small-breed dogs rescued from Los Angeles arrived Saturday at the Panhandle Animal Shelter in Ponderay, Idaho. On Sunday, the shelter found new homes for 10 of the terriers, Chihuahuas and poodles.

A tiny brown terrier named Shrimp went home with Rhonda Reed, of Sandpoint.

“My husband said no more dogs, but … this is a sweetheart,” Reed said, snuggling the mellow fellow. “I have room in my heart for one more baby.”

The homeless pooches from the Los Angeles County Animal Shelter were flown in by Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue group based in Van Nuys, Calif.

In the crowded California shelters, these dogs face euthanasia. But shelters like Panhandle have room for them as well as animal lovers eager to adopt them, said Panhandle Animal Shelter Executive Director Mandy Evans.

“As long as they’re paying the cost to bring the dogs in, and we have the space to accommodate them, then we will bring them in,” Evans said.

This was the third Wings of Rescue delivery to the Panhandle Animal Shelter this year. People especially are looking for the small dogs, as most shelter dogs in rural areas are large breeds.

“Little dogs here are a hot commodity,” Evans said.

Hal and Barb Radeke, of Sagle, found a 3-year-old terrier mix named Buffalo Bill. “He chose us,” Hal said.

“We’re glad to be able to save a dog,” Barb added.

They were among a stream of people visiting the shelter Sunday afternoon. A television crew from the PBS series “Shelter Me” was there as well, capturing the end of the journey for the Los Angeles dogs.

Panhandle also regularly takes in dogs from SCRAPS and other shelters in the region, sparing them from being euthanized. Often these dogs are labeled aggressive or flagged for other bad characteristics before they arrive, but after a little time with the staff at Panhandle they are deemed fit for adoption, Evans said.

The shelter provides for about 1,600 lost, abandoned, neglected and abused animals each year. About half go to homes within Bonner County.

Bud Green, of Kootenai, came to the shelter looking for a new companion following the recent death of his dog from cancer. Green adopted a terrier mix named Sid.

“My wife and I decided we wanted a lap dog this time,” he said. “I think she’ll be very pleased.”

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