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Community steps up, adopts Albuquerque airman’s dog

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An airman stationed in Albuquerque who is being shipped overseas and can’t take his dog along has found his friend a new home.

It took a simple ‘hello,’ a treat and a few strokes along Chico’s back for the chihuaha pit bull mix to open up to his new owner on Sunday.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Chico’s new owner Lewis Villanueva. “It’s a new addition to our family and he’s going to fit right in.”

Villanueva’s pet dog, who he’d had for more than six years, recently died.

“It really really did tear me up because we were so close,” said Villanueva.

He said when he and his wife saw the story about Airman Michael Baty and his dog Chico on WISH-TV’s sister station KRQE, they knew it was meant to be.

“He was looking for somebody to take Chico in and I said maybe I can help. I can try, all he can say is no,” said Villanueva.

Baty, a Technical Sergeant at Kirtland Air Force Base, said yes.

“It’s good for me,” said Baty. “It seems he’s accepted Chico and it appears Chico is accepting him.”

Sunday, the two made the adoption official.

After running out some energy and getting a gulp of water, Chico eventually made his way into his new owner’s arms.

Baty thanked Villanueva for stepping up and said a final goodbye to his best friend.

Villanueva and his wife also have a chihuaha named Chapo at their home in Tucumcari.

He said Chico will make the perfect companion for him.