For nearly two years, FurKid Rescue has taken in dozens of homeless dogs and puppies from the streets and beaches of Puerto Rico.
“So many adorable fluffy little dogs and many beautiful purebreds” including shih tzu, said Jennifer Bird of Bethel Park, who has found homes for about 170 dogs and puppies each year since starting FurKid in 2008.
Last January, her shipment of Puerto Rican dogs included a beat-up looking Chihuahua with virtually no hair. He was blind in one eye and he had a large black mole on his face.
“I looked at him and said ‘What am I going to do with this dog? He is ugly and no one will want him.’”
Meanwhile, physician Colleen Krajewski was looking to bring a third dog into her Lawrenceville home. She went to FurKid Rescue asking for “an old, decrepit dog” that many people would be unwilling to adopt.
It was a match made in heaven, though Ms. Bird thinks the Chihuahua is only 6 or 7 years old.
Not content to merely adopt the dog she re-named Felipe Ferdinand Krajewski, the ob-gyn specialist aims to make him a “social media phenomenon,” according to the tiny business cards she hands out to everyone she meets.
The cards emblazoned with a little Chihuahua face direct people to www.instagram.com/alldayfelipe. Photos include Felipe in Halloween costumes and lounging in his tiny condo, which contains a cushy bed, wallpaper and a crystal chandelier.
Making cameo appearances on the site are Coco, 14, and Levi, 14, the black and tan miniature pinschers Dr. Krajewski adopted when she was in medical school.
Dr. Krajewski said it was initially challenging to adopt a dog that had never lived in a house. “At first Felipe just always wanted to be close to me. He didn’t like toys” because he never had any, and didn’t know what to do with them.
“In the last three or four months, his personality is really coming out,” she said. His tail is constantly wagging and he has become “a personable sweet pea.” He’s smart and eager to please and most of his hair has grown back.
The alldayfelipe Instagram page currently has 649 followers, which means he has a way to go in the “phenomenon” category. Roxy, 8, and Greyson, 3, two Italian greyhounds who live in Washington, Pa., have 7,415 followers on their Facebook page, “Foxy Roxy the Italian Greyhound.” Their owners are Jason Dunkle and Mona Gray.
Mr. Dunkle, 36, posts photographs of the 12- to 14-pound dogs dressed in costumes. Some of the photos are put into calendars that he sells for $35 to benefit National Mill Dog Rescue. The Colorado organization helps dogs from large commercial breeding facilities that some call puppy mills.
Mr. Dunkle describes himself as a “semi-professional” guitar-playing musician who earns his living researching oil and gas rights for an energy company.
The 2018 calendars have a beach theme, with the dogs posing at Presque Isle State Park. The dogs wear flip-flop sandals, sunglasses and other beach garb and pose with surfboards. Christine Erin Photography of Millcreek did the photo shoot, and 60 calendars have already been sold. The $35 calendars can be ordered at Foxy Roxy the Italian Greyhound, c/o Jason Dunkle, Box 443, Washington, PA 15301.
Dr. Krajewski said putting Felipe on Instagram “is a silly idea but I am having fun with it.” She believes that the site can raise awareness that there are many homeless dogs in Puerto Rico. The situation has worsened since the island nation was devastated by Hurricane Maria. FurKid gets some dogs from the Barks of Hope rescue in Rincon, Puerto Rico.
“They are living with 60 dogs that made it through the hurricane but they have no electricity and they are having trouble getting dogs onto flights now because so many people are leaving,” Ms. Bird said.
Before the hurricane, FurKid had rescued 50 dogs from Puerto Rico in 2017, and Ms. Bird expects to get five or six more on Tuesday. Go to furkidrescue.org for information and to see adoptable dogs.
One is Julie, a Chihuahua who was pregnant when she arrived at FurKid. She gave birth to five “Chugs” — Chihuahua-pug mixes. By mid-week, two of the puppies had been adopted.
Donations to help Julie and the others can be made online or mailed to Furkid Rescue, Box 5, South Park, PA 15129.
Linda Wilson Fuoco: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3064 or on Facebook.