How a stray Chihuahua made a lasting impact

Steve Hofstetter already had a Beagle/Dachshund mix he had named Bea Arthur. He had adopted her though Stray from the Heart in NYC after she was rescued from years on the streets of Puerto Rico. And then he happened upon a stray he named Carlin. Bea Arthur? Carlin? See a pattern here? Turns out Steve is a comedian (and a writer). But now some of the laughter has left his life as he has taken on a really serious project: a mission to end puppy mills. That’s how meeting Carlin changed his life.

Carlin the Chihuahua

Read Carlin’s story in Steve’s words.

Bea was traveling with Steve and his wife, Sara, to Visalia, CA, from San Francisco when they spotted a stray Chihuahua hanging out at a gas station. It took Steve, Sara and Bea to nab him, but they managed. They cleaned him up as best they could, fed him some soft food because he had no teeth and took him to a dog park, but it was obvious that he was sick. They couldn’t take him home because their apartment had a one-dog limit. Instead, they headed to the nearest animal welfare organization to see what was going on with him.

There, they received the devastating news from the vet that he had advanced distemper. He was going to have to be euthanized. He only lasted a few hours after the family met him, but as Steve writes, the six-year-old dog’s life “ended with three things he’d never had before — love, protection, and the dignity of a name.” For Carlin’s full story, read Steve’s Facebook essay.

But there’s more.

“Our time with Carlin, and the subsequent outpouring of support, inspired us to work towards legislation to end puppy mills for good,” Steve writes. “The first step is a petition. Help us reach the goal of 25K signatures and don’t just save one dog — save a million. Sign our petition.”

The third part of the story came when the landlords read Steve’s heartfelt essay and loosened the restriction on number of pets allowed per apartment. The couple adopted Mitch Hedberg, a Chihuahua they named after the late comedian of the same name, from Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, UT. He reminded them of Carlin.

One little stray dog can have an impact. Carlin’s life – and his death — made a difference to one family and will continue to impact other lives. It’s a loving tribute.