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Purse puppies pay a high price

Toy dog ‘accessories’ abandoned at alarming rate, says chihuahua rescue society representative
Eighteen-month-old Chester was one hour away from being euthanized when he was rescued by Linda Lanyon and the B.C. Chihuahua Rescue. Chester made an appearance at a Make a Difference event at Petsmart on Saturday.

Purse puppies or toy dogs, small dogs have been all the rage for several years, perhaps popularized by Hollywood starlets. For them, chihuahuas in particular became a must-have accessory.

However, once their owners realize that pets need to be trained and cared for, the attraction loses its lustre.

Many dogs have been found abandoned in the washrooms of coffee shops in upscale California neighbourhoods, and that can mean trouble, and sometimes the end, for the animals.

Chester is an 18-month-old chihuahua that had been abandoned along with his mother. The two were one hour from being euthanized when they were rescued by B.C. Chihuahua Rescue, a non-profit group co-founded by Linda Lanyon of Langley.

Chester’s mother was adopted by residents in Victoria where she is thriving and recently gave birth to four puppies.

Chester has been in Lanyon’s care, nursed back to health from an emaciated and boney pup to a healthy dog weighing almost four pounds.

On Saturday, Lanyon and her sister invited the public to the Langley Petsmart store where they explained the value of adoption and fostering as an alternative to euthanasia and abandonment. Chester was there, much admired by onlookers.

Lanyon pointed out that adopting or fostering is also a much healthier choice than buying puppies from pet stores which might have acquired the animals from puppy mills. Petsmart is not one of those stores, she said.

Lanyon and her organization have received the support of entertainer Donny Osmond and his Making a Difference (M.A.D.) charity which she learned about when she attended his concert in Las Vegas last year. Osmond told the audience he would give $100 each to 10 people in the audience who were willing to make a difference in the world.

As one of the 10 chosen, Lanyon went on stage where Osmond promptly increased his donation to $300 for each winner.

Lanyon, a Grade 1 teacher in Cloverdale, submitted the B.C. Chihuahua Rescue and, as part of the deal, is keeping track of her charity’s work for one year, recording events with a video camera donated by Osmond.

Since she accepted Osmond’s challenge, more than 20 dogs have been adopted, and more than a dozen families have applied to foster dogs.

“We starting to get donations from as far as Australia and Great Britain,” she said last year.

To find out more about M.A.D and the B.C. Chihuahua Rescue, visit