By Janet McAfee

The tiny Chihuahua miraculously survived as a stray dog in our desert, found by a Good Samaritan who brought her to Loving All Animals. The dog weighed only 2.8 pounds, her skin was red and inflamed, she had no teeth, but her eyes were clear, and she was a sweet heart who gratefully wagged her tail. She was microchipped, an owner was located but claimed he’d given the dog to someone else years ago. He wasn’t interested in having her back. The microchip showed her name was Carissey.

Loving All Animals immediately took her to a vet. They wondered if she might be a hospice case given her estimated age. However, the vet determined Carissey was about 12 years old, in relatively good health given her age, and not requiring any medications. An anonymous animal lover was so taken with the adorable pup in the waiting room at Desert Dunes vet, she paid for her initial vet visit. This was an omen that good things were in store for this amazing and photogenic pup.

It was a “miracle match” when Lisa Knox met the little dog at the Loving All Animals shelter the following day. An ardent animal lover, volunteering at Loving All Animals for 10 years, Lisa has the distinction of being their longest volunteer. She was always there in the early days of the organization, staffing adoption events throughout the Coachella Valley, helping manage the Super Pet Adoption Fairs, fostering dogs, training new volunteers, taking dogs to the vet, showing adoptable animals on KMIR and KESQ, and doing every task imaginable in the world of rescue. In December 2019, Lisa was hired part time as an Executive Assistant at Loving All Animals.


Lisa fostered and adopted the tiny Chi who she named Gertrude or “Gertie”. Gertie thrives at home with Lisa, a happy, healthy pup with a vibrant personality. Gertie eats 5 small meals a day. Because all her teeth are gone she must eat soft food, and she loves it when Lisa sometimes hand feeds her. Gertie adores her three sister Chihuahuas, Tikka, Bailey and Chella. At first Gertie did not know what to make of her new brother, a tortoise named Tanker. Now Gertie and Tanker happily co-exist, however she chases him out when he tries to join her on her memory foam dog bed.

How did Lisa develop a fondness for Chihuahuas? Lisa explains, “My 120 pound Akita passed away and I went to the old Cathedral City shelter to adopt another Akita. The shelter manager gave me a little Chihuahua to hold while we were looking at other dogs. I ended up adopting the Chihuahua I was holding when she won my heart. Precious Peanut lived to be 18 years old, and she taught me how wonderful this breed can be. Chihuahuas have the reputation of being yippy ankle biters. My Chi’s are just the opposite, they bark only when someone comes to the door or to greet me when I arrive home.”

Lisa has some advice for people who only want to adopt a puppy or young dog. “When you adopt an older dog like Gertie, she already knows how to be part of a family. Most of them are already house trained. Senior dogs are calm and relaxed, and they are so grateful at getting a second chance.”

Today Lisa and Gertie are on a mission. They spread the word to encourage senior dog adoptions through social media where Gertie garnered a huge following on Instagram. Gertie’s story went viral on Reddit where over 50,000 people viewed her story. On Dodo, two viewers want to run Gertie’s entire story on their websites. You can find Gertie on Instagram at @gertiesgram, and her viral video and be found on the subreddit @aww.

Lisa sums it up, “I can’t imagine life with dogs. They are always happy to see you, they are very comforting, they don’t judge you, and they are the greatest comedians in the world. Gertie is a great companion during the COVID quarantine. She loves going places with me, and she brings smiles and joy wherever we go.” Check out Loving All Animals at


Below is a partial list of shelters and rescues in the Inland Empire with animals for adoption. Many of these shelters remain closed for walk-ins, and you must call for an appointment. You can view most of their animals online in advance of calling.

COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS – This county shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. You can view the animals at all 4 Riverside county shelters at, and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet. Email them with the animal’s ID number at and call (760) 343-3644. Located at 72050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms. (Public)

PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. They schedule appointments Wednesday through Monday, closed on Tuesday. View their animals online at, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave, Palm Springs, (760) 416-5718. (Public)

ANIMAL SAMARITANS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. View their animals at Email to foster. Located at 72307 Ramon Rd, Thousand Palms, (760) 601-3918. (Private)

CALIFORNIA PAWS RESCUE – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 73650 Dinah Shore, Palm Desert. View their animals at, (760) 656-8833. (Private)

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt a dog or cat. View their animals at Located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 329-0203. (Private)

KITTYLAND – The shelter is closed so call for an appointment to adopt a cat. Located at 67600 18th Avenue, Desert Hot Springs,, (760) 251-2700. (Private)

FOREVER MEOW – Foster based rescue for cats located in Rancho Mirage. Contact them at, call (760) 335-6767. (Private)

PRETTY GOOD CAT – Foster based rescue for cats located in La Quinta. Contact them at,call (760) 660-3414 (Private)

LOVING ALL ANIMALS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella,, (760) 834-7000. (Private)

MORONGO BASIN HUMANE SOCIETY – Located at 4646 Sun View Rd, Joshua Tree,, call between 11am-4pm for updates (760) 366-3786 (Private)

CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Hours for adoption 10am – 4pm Tuesday thru Sat. Google “City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter” for website to view animals and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet. Located at 333 Chandler Place, San Bernardino, (909) 384-1304 or (909) 384-7272. (Public)

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER AT DEVORE – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Call (909) 386-9280 daily between 9am & 5pm. View animals at and get the ID number of animal you want to meet. Located at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino (Public).

DREAM TEAM ANGELS RESCUE – Foster based rescue located in Grand Terrace/San Bernardino area. Contact them through website, (360) 688-8884. (Private)