There’s a housing crisis in Truckee. I’m not talking about short-term rentals, high interest rates, and starter homes costing close to a million dollars. This is a dog housing crisis. One of the main factors fueling it is our old friend, Covid-19.

When the pandemic began, adoptions rose, and shelters saw demand eclipse supply. The trend has now reversed itself and local shelters are bursting at the seams. While many assume that dogs adopted during the pandemic are now being returned, this is largely not the cause. According to research published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, much of the issue can be traced to the reduction in spay and neuter surgeries. Many veterinarians suspended nonessential surgeries during Covid. This led to an estimated 13% reduction in spay/neuter surgeries in 2020 and a 3% decrease in 2021. 

Another factor in Truckee and many other communities are folks who have animals but lack a stable living situation. Pets can be taken into the shelter while an owner deals with a legal or mental health issue. These stays can be long or short depending on the circumstance. Some are repeat offenders, checking in from time to time before getting claimed. The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe shelter can usually find room for dogs from other shelters. Right now, space and resources are thin. This is a trend nationwide.


One of the dogs trying to break out of our crowded shelter is Estrella. Like Steve McQueen fleeing the Germans in The Great Escape, not only is Estrella a star, she is also an expert in eluding captors. Estrella made headlines months ago when she remained on the loose as a stray in Tahoe City for weeks before she was finally captured. During her ordeal, she was hit by a car and suffered a dislocated hip. While undergoing treatment for her injuries Estrella again managed to escape. Now back in custody and healing from her psychological as well as physical injuries, Estrella is ready to find her forever home. 

Estrella is 4 years old, weighs a svelte 50 pounds, and has perfect hair. She must condition daily. She is the longest-tenured dog at the shelter. Her adoption fee is sponsored, and she is ready to find a home where she can settle down and get comfortable. I went for a walk with Estrella the other day and we sat down for this exclusive interview.

Let’s find you a home. What are you looking for?
I’d like a quiet house. I love being outside and enjoy stretching my legs. I need room to roam. I could be good with an experienced savvy dog but will probably do best as an only child. I like treats and will work hard to get them.

We have been hearing a lot about the housing crisis in Tahoe. How are things at the shelter?
It’s a little crowded in here. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but I know at least one labradoodle who’s running a short-term rental business out of the shelter, subletting her kennel. These new guests end up staying up too late, they trash the place and are constantly making noise. It really takes away from the hometown feel. They steal all the Wi-Fi, too. 

We didn’t even have Wi-Fi when I was at the shelter.
That must have been awful. 

We want to help you escape from this terrible place with slow Wi-Fi. Give us your elevator pitch.
I’ve learned a lot at the shelter. I love long walks and quiet time, and once you earn my trust, we will be friends forever. Did I mention that my adoption fee is sponsored? Come to the shelter and meet me in person. You won’t be disappointed. 

For more information on Estrella visit  


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