#PetsNextdoor Member Stories

Westchester Neighbors Save Tessa the Stranded Chihuahua

Written by Danielle Styskal

While out of town for several weeks one winter, a Los Angeles family was horrified to learn that a little chihuahua mix managed to sneak into their backyard while a repairman was there. The dog had become trapped with no access to food, water, or warm shelter.

A family friend discovered the pup, weak from hunger and thirst, unable to walk, and shivering on the back porch while checking on the house. It had been nearly three weeks. The friend snapped photos of the forlorn dog, and the family shared them with neighbors through Nextdoor, hoping to find the owner.

Their post didn’t prove fruitful for identifying the dog’s owner – but neighbors came out of the woodwork to help until the family returned home. One dropped off a dog carrier with food and water, and another came with more food and an abundance of patience to lure the skittish dog into the carrier. More neighbors stepped up to take the pup to the vet to check for a microchip and “puppy sit” for another day.

Despite the dog making their backyard a home for three weeks, the family couldn’t keep her. Another neighbor who specialized in rescue dogs agreed to keep the dog, now named Tessa by the community, for a few weeks. The neighbor spoiled Tessa with food, water, a cozy pink sweater, and lots of tender, loving care.

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Tessa, who is thriving today thanks to thoughtful neighbors.

That same neighbor took Tessa to the vet for an evaluation, where they learned that she recently had puppies, needed several dental extractions, vaccinations, spaying, and microchipping – and a few tumors removed.

Though the vet was willing to discount the price of Tessa’s care, the bill still came to nearly $1,500. Neighbors from across the community pitched in to cover her expenses. According to one neighbor, there was “a deep sense of commitment to get Tessa what she needed, and so many were curious about how she was doing.”

Neighbors were eventually able to find Tessa her forever home with an elderly woman who is wheelchair-bound – and since all Tessa wanted to do following her ordeal was sit on a warm lap, it was a perfect match. Tessa is now happy and thriving with her new owner.


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