Billie Valentine was left behind in the wake of one of the most destructive and devastating natural disasters in U.S. history, Hurricane Katrina.
The brown, diminative chihuahua, like so many other pets, was orphaned after the tragedy; left without a home and a family. Unlike other pets, however, good-hearted people didn’t want to adopt Billie because he had become aggressive after the traumatizing hurricane took away any semblance of order in his young life. Billie would bite and lash out at anyone who came to look at him, but for some reason, Debbie Hendrickx knew he was different the minute she saw him. In Debbie’s arms, Billie turned from violent to loving, and shared an immediate bond that has brought them fame and fortune through a unique venture–calendar pictures.
Billie’s rise to fame started out small–Debbie thought Billie looked great in different costumes, so she’d dress him up, take pictures, and send them out to relatives in Europe. The relatives loved the pictures, and Debbie saw that Billie didnt mind putting on the outfits, and actually loved the attention he got from posing in the pictures.
Her relatives sent back ideas for more elaborate photo shoots and Debbie found herself creating and shopping for even grander sets and costumes for Billie. Her hobby turned into much more however when she took a few of the best pictures and put them together in a ‘Billie Valentine’ photo calendar. With little to no marketing, the Billie Valentine 2010 calendar sold about 400 copies, and Debbie has committed to giving a portion of the profits to the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego as a way of giving back and letting people know that every dog deserves a second chance.