Chief greeted me warmly when I entered the enclosure, his light blue eyes glinting in the morning sun. I ran my hands through his dense fur, wondering how such a beautiful creature ended up at Animal Services. Chief is a red-and-white Siberian husky, approximately 7 years old. He came to the shelter in July under unknown circumstances.
The day I met him, he was getting his picture taken by photographer Bonnie Baker, who shoots all the new pups who find themselves up for adoption at Animal Services. Chief could be a doggie model; he’s striking in both color and form. And although he’s not walking the ring for Best in Show, he is a lovely example of the diverse mix of dogs the Santa Barbara shelter has to offer. “People think we only have pit bull mixes and Chihuahua mixes, but we actually have lots of breeds to choose from,” said Lee Heller, a longtime volunteer with the organization.
While it’s true there are a disproportionate number of pits and Chihuahuas for adoption, during my visit, I also met a sweet shepherd mix named Shasta, a cute-as-a-button cocker-poodle mix named Echo, a couple of Benji look-a-likes, some beagles, a boxer, a bloodhound, and Chief.
To alert the public to its myriad selections, Animal Services has dubbed October its Fall Collection month (it also happens to be national dog adoption month).