Adopt a Chihuahua Project

Chihuahua bus project photo

A large number of the dogs taken in by the Shelter are Chihuahua mixes. A Chi-mix is any small dog that looks like it might have an ounce of Chihuahua in its family tree. These pups come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, mixed with everything from dachshunds to terriers. Like all dogs they have a full range of personalities; some make great running or hiking partners, while others are content to just curl up on a lap and snuggle. Chihuahuas were originally bred to be companions and lap dogs. They are very special because of their ability to bring love, joy and happiness far beyond their size when given safety and affection.

The Adopt a Chihuahua Project was formed by a group of Shelter volunteers, to highlight the adoptability of Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes, dogs that make up a large percentage of the animals that are taken in by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. You may have seen our posters on Metro Santa Cruz buses or viewed our “Be Small-Minded…Adopt a Chihuahua” video at the Nickelodeon and Del Mar Theatres.  The exhibit at the County Government Center is the latest effort to raise awareness about the bond between Chihuahuas and their people.

Finding forever homes for all of these small dogs is especially challenging. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter's "Adopt a Chihuahua Project" seeks to meet this challenge by educating the public about the special qualities of these smart, loving, energetic, and fun dogs so people will come to the shelter and adopt them.

Community outreach includes 3'x12' banner signs on Metro Buses donated by Gayle's Bakery and two anonymous donors. These signs will be repurposed and placed at different places throughout the county in the next few months. Back in 2015, a 30-second video with portraits of people and Chihuahuas was be shown as a lead in to all moves at the three Nickelodeon theaters.

Chihuahua photos in hallway at county building

The Shelter lacks the resources to continue to advertise the Adopt a Chihuahua Project, so we are reaching out to the community to ask for financial support. This will allow us to help these sweet, spunky dogs have a chance to share their joy for life with a forever family of their own.

If you can help in this effort, please consider DONATING to our cause! You can also help by attending our fundraiser (see sidebar at right).


The shelter is very grateful for the project team of volunteers who have given so generously of their time and talents.

Adopt a Chihuahua Project Team
Tom Burke
Joan DeNeffe
Kelly Menehan
Ann Miya
Nikki Simpson