British Chihuahua Club Rescue Association
Registered Charity registration number 1094417
The object of the Association shall be to relieve the suffering and distress of Chihuahua dogs in need of care, attention or rehoming as a result of ill treatment, hardship, neglect or change of circumstances.
Trustees and Officers
The Association is administered by the following Trustees: Mr Jim Culverhouse (Chairman), Mrs Margaret Foote (Coordinator & Treasurer), Mrs Norma Armstrong, Mrs Teresa Barker, Mr Adrian Bickers, Mrs Pam Bungard and Mr Rupert Bungard.
When we are contacted by somebody wishing to rehome their dog, details are taken and the list of prospective homes is checked. The relinquishing owner signs a Relinquishment Form, giving up all rights to the animal and we then proceed with the adoption.
People wishing to adopt may find names and telephone numbers of the British Chihuahua Club Committee printed in The Kennel Club 'Dog Rescue Directory', which is distributed to every veterinary practice in the UK. Names, telephone numbers and email addresses can also be found on the internet, on this and other dog-related sites. The Club secretary also receives enquiries from people who have contacted The Kennel Club direct, re acquiring a rescue Chihuahua. In all cases, the enquiry is forwarded to the BCCRA Secretary and people are then asked to send an s.a.e. for a 'Rescue Adoption Registration Form'. The form can alternatively be downloaded from this website and printed out by the applicant.
Once filled in and returned, the adoption form is filed, awaiting a suitable dog. The list is not operated on a 'first come, first served' basis, but rather concentrates on matching the dog to a home most suitable for its requirements, for instance some dogs love the hustle and bustle of a family, whilst others prefer a home on a one to one basis. Once a dog becomes available, the most suitable-sounding home is contacted and a home-check is carried out by a member of the Club living in the vicinity. If all is satisfactory, the dog is received and an adoption form is completed in duplicate, one copy for the new adoptive owner and one for the Rescue File. In some cases, where there is nobody available to do a home check immediately, we may take a reference from the prospective home's vet and perform a follow-up visit later (this only happens occasionally).
Elderly dogs are checked by a vet first and if there is ongoing medication at the time of adoption, we may offer to help with this, depending upon the circumstances of the new adoptive home.
Whilst we try to rehome dogs as quickly as possible, i.e. directly from the relinquishing to the adopting home, it is sometimes necessary for dogs to be fostered for a short period of time. This occurs in emergency situations, such as the death of an elderly owner, or when a dog is difficult in some way and has to be assessed before rehoming. Our foster-homes are experienced volunteer Club members who offer their services free or, if money is tight, a token amount is offered to cover feeding costs. Naturally any veterinary bills arising during the time of fostering are covered by the Club Rescue. We now have foster-homes available in most parts of the country, as people are very keen to help on this basis.
Transport is provided again by volunteer Club members, who will collect and deliver dogs, either for rehoming or to foster-homes. The Association pays volunteers a small mileage allowance, if required. If large mileage is involved, the relinquishing and adopting homes are asked if they would be willing to make a donation towards fuel costs.
This is by far our most expensive item. As mentioned above, many of our dogs are elderly and require medication such as heart-tablets etc. and one cannot expect somebody who is taking on an old animal to pay these bills as well, as many of these people are elderly and on very limited incomes. Similarly, if a neglected dog comes in and needs dental treatment, this can amount to around £150 (depending upon area) and must be done before a dog is rehomed.
Including ourselves, there are nine Chihuahua breed clubs in the UK. Some of them have limited funds in their rescue accounts (but none large enough to apply for charitable status) and some could not afford to run a rescue service. It is the practice of the British Chihuahua Rescue Association to involve these clubs (all of whom have been more than willing to participate) and offer support where needed. If, for example, we hear of a dog needing rehoming in an area covered by one of the other clubs, we would organise and fund collection, delivery and veterinary bills for the dog, but allow the adoption and possible donation to be carried out on the paperwork of that club. All participating clubs use the same paperwork formats as we do, but in their own club name. Many members of the other Chihuahua breed clubs are also members of The British Chihuahua Club. By involving the other clubs, our aim is to provide a Chihuahua rescue network covering the whole of the UK, and results are already most encouraging.
When homing a rescue dog we do not charge a specific amount of money, apart from a £25 administration fee, but the new owners and sometimes the relinquishing owners are usually happy to make a voluntary donation which may go some way towards covering the other costs of providing the service. We are also required to maintain investments built up from gifts, bequests etc. giving a sufficient level of interest payments to provide the income needed to qualify for Registered Charity status, and this gives us a certain amount of freedom to help without the specific need to raise further funds for every case. Our members do, though, appreciate that this cannot fully meet the ongoing daily expenses and rising medical costs of rescue, and are very keen to participate in such fund-raising events such as breed garden parties, rescue stalls and exemption dog shows. A licence for an exemption dog show must be obtained from The Kennel Club, who only issue a licence if the proceeds are for a registered charity.
Such fund-raising events may also have very definite social benefits. Elderly people who have always had large breed dogs find, in later life, that they are only able to cope with a toy breed, therefore it is with such people that the majority of our rescues find homes. The interest in the breed causes people in a particular area to socialise and get together and one of the favourite pastimes is organising items for sale in aid of Rescue, such as knitted blankets, toys and Chihuahua coats and in some cases it gives people a feeling of 'belonging' and being useful and as such provides important therapy in an ageing community.