Dec 16, 2010

To Paris, With Love: Rags-to-riches story as Paris Hilton adopts shelter dog, encourages others to do same

Paris and Sid at shelter
By Cathy Scott, Best Friends staff writer

A tiny Chihuahua named Sid has gone from living in an animal shelter in Las Vegas to life in Mulholland Estates in Los Angeles with Paris Hilton. It marks the first time the celebrity has adopted a dog instead of purchasing one from a pet store.

Hilton chose the Lied Animal Foundation, a municipal shelter in Las Vegas, for her community service, per the terms of a plea agreement for a misdemeanor offense committed in Las Vegas. This week, while Hilton spent the day helping at the shelter, she met the 3-year-old former stray and made an instant connection. She arranged to adopt him and, the next day, after Sid had been neutered, which the shelter requires, she returned to take him back to Los Angeles. Sid now lives with Hilton’s two other dogs, a Yorkshire terrier and a Chihuahua.

Hilton commented on Twitter about her work at the shelter, saying, “Volunteered all day at Animal Foundation. Made me cry to see animals needing homes. Adopted a dog today. So sweet.”

According to the Animal Foundation's website, its adoption fee is $155 and includes vaccinations, neutering and a microchip ID. It’s quite a switch from just three years earlier when Paris bragged to an entertainment reporter about buying a tiny dog at a boutique pet store, which was one of the shops Best Friends volunteers rallied at to inform consumers that the puppies in that store came from puppy mills and substandard conditions. The store has since closed its doors.

For Kelli Harmon, campaign specialist for Best Friends Puppies Aren't Products, Hilton’s adoption is hopeful news. “Paris' love for animals has influenced many young people who see her with a tiny Chihuahua and then go buy one for themselves,” Harmon says. “As a fellow Chihuahua adopter, I wish her the best and hope she and her new little one will influence people the same way she has in the past, but that now people will head to the shelter instead of a pet store to find an adorable new pet.”

By the looks of it, Hilton does intend to set an example for others. After she left the shelter, she encouraged her followers on Twitter to adopt rather than buy a pet, writing, “This Christmas, if you’re thinking of getting a dog or cat, get one at your local animal shelter. Save a Life. Don't Shop. Adopt,” and, in a third tweet, “Remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.”

Reprinted courtesy of Best Friends

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