Proper Pup Adoption Proves Elusive

Bettie and Chris Dietz, seen here in 2015 on a typical stroll around the neighborhood. File photo by Yannic Rack.

BY LEVAR ALONZO | There will never be another Bettie — but her doting caretakers, still mourning the dog’s recent death, are finding the process of adopting a new puppy every bit as difficult as living without the beloved Boston terrier whose love of carrying Chelsea Now made her a neighborhood icon.

Bettie’s family said they have gone to or called nearly 20 shelters, rescues, or adoption agencies in the tri-state area looking for a small breed, but only found large breeds. Out-of-state agencies, they’ve found, include a transport fee, which makes the total ($600 to $800) prohibitively expensive.

“It’s hard dealing with the passing of Bettie, really difficult,” Tracy Colon, co-owner of Bettie, said. “Now it’s just frustrating trying to find a new puppy and that is proving to be a hard process.”

Nine-year-old Bettie took her last walk on July 4 and passed away shortly thereafter. Heartbroken by the loss of his beloved dog, Chris Dietz, Bettie’s co-owner and Tracy’s uncle, would walk their usual route to take his mind off missing their lovable pooch. 

“She meant a lot to a lot of people around here, a lot of people in the neighborhood started crying,” Dietz said in a previous Chelsea Now article, when he informed them of the tragic news. “They all knew her from carrying the paper.”

The family first adopted Bettie several years ago when one of Tracy’s friends was having a baby and found it necessary to find the pooch a new home.

Dietz and Bettie usually walked to the grocery store at W. 28th St. and Ninth Ave., where they would stop by the corner news boxes. Dietz would grab several copies of Chelsea Now and, like always, Bettie would yank the paper out of his hands and carry it all the way home.

The lovable nine-year-old became a community icon as many in the neighborhood remember her for her news-hungry ways. As Dietz explained in a previous article, the newspaper became a part of Bettie.

“It’s funny ’cause if she got the paper, she walks like she has a job to do,” Dietz previously said. “If she doesn’t have the paper, she would just mope.”

This photo of Bettie, which once graced our front page, shows the beloved pooch in her iconic stance. File photo by Yannic Rack.

The neighborhood adored Bettie. As she walked down the street, neighbors would greet her. Once, a bus filled with tourist stopped to take pictures of Bettie calmly going about her daily routine. The lovely dog would, in turn, trade those photo-ops into belly rubs.

Although grief-stricken, the family wants to find a new puppy to join the household. Colon’s first choice was to get a French bulldog, but found that the majority of this breed have breathing issues.

“We are looking for a small breed something almost the size of Bettie, something six months or younger,” Colon said. “Preferably I would go with a pug or a shih tzu, they are the perfect size.”

The family went to Aug. 19’s Clear the Shelters event — an annual nationwide pet adoption drive where hundreds of shelters across the country team up with NBC-owned television stations and Telemundo to provide pets with homes. The event boasts that 900 shelters nationwide have found homes for 75,000 pets. Hoping to find a suitable puppy, the family attended — but found only large breeds. They also contacted the New York ASPCA adoption center, but found more disappointment — the center had only cats up for adoption.

“Most of these places [agencies] don’t have small breed puppies. When their websites say they do, they are sold out or already adopted,” Colon said.

The family is asking for help from a community that still remembers Bettie. Some neighbors, Colon noted, have already been putting the word out about their search.

“If anyone can help us or point us in the right direction where we can find a new puppy, it will be greatly appreciated,” Colon said.

Members of the community who would like to assist the family can contact editor Scott Stiffler at Scott@ChelseaNow.com, and the information will be passed along.