One of my dogs had recently passed away and I was browsing Petfinder.com just for fun. Our family already has two elderly dogs, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Cavin, 15 years) and a Shih Tzu (Sushi 13 years)  Since they are elderly, I didn’t want either to be alone should one of them pass away. On Petfinder.com, I found a local South Bay area rescue group, Schwartz Family Foundation, that works closely with the Toy Breed Rescue group.Dr. Schwartz, a veterinarian, and his wife Loree, are kind and generous people that have rescued and placed adult dogs that are in need of a good family.  Lea caught my eye immediately and after a thorough screening process, I took her home on December 10.
I have continued to get her care from Dr. Schwartz and stay in touch with Loree, who runs the rescue foundation. Loree used to show Shih Tzu’s and had befriended a well-known and large breeder of toy dogs in Hawaii. The breeder often has dogs that they can no longer show or breed and cannot be kept as house pets. Sadly, it’s a business.  The bright side is that this breeder realizes that there are not enough good homes in Hawaii for these dogs and through the Schwartz Family Foundation, the “extra” pure-bred, often prizewinning dogs, are flown out to California and treated by Dr. Schwartz. The breeder responsibly pays for the air transport and part of the medical costs.
Lea came to me as a beautiful, house broken dog that lifted the energy and spirits of my two senior dogs. She turned 5 in April and is the love of our lives!  It would be sad to think that she could have been overlooked due to her age. I have found that getting a rescue has been a very rewarding experience and much better that starting with a puppy.  Also, this points to the problem with large breeding kennels of pedigreed dogs; they simply cannot keep every dog that they show or breed. Not every breeder is as generous or conscientious as the kennel that Lea came from, but I’m concerned about the “backyard” breeders that simply breed because a certain breed has become popular for profits.
That’s the story of Lea from Hawaii, now a happy house dog in San Jose, CA!  Attached is the before picture of her from Petfinder.com and a current picture of how she looks now. I’m growing her beautiful fur back long since she is now my little girl! – Noelle Shahin

Location: San Jose, CA

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