Home FOREVER Home!
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"I'd love to say that every puppy mill survivor
only needs love to turn it into a wonderful family pet. But that would be a
lie. Love is definitely needed in large amounts, but so is patience. The damage
done during the years in the mill usually can be overcome, but it takes time
-- From "Rehabilitation of a Puppy Mill
Dog" by Michelle Bender and Kim Townsend
Wuff, I am
Josie. You may know me by my "slave name," Christie -- that's
what I was called in the place where I used to live. For the first two years of
my life, I was "livestock," kept with dozens and dozens of other dogs
for the sole purpose of making puppies for my owners to sell. I wasn't fed
well, or treated well, or even given water out of a dish. I didn't have a soft
bed to sleep on, and never heard a kind word. When I had trouble having my
puppies, I wasn't taken to a vet -- my "owners" cut my belly with a
knife, with nothing to stop the horrible hurting. It was so awful that I just
"went away" in my head.
March 2007 was the best day of my life, though It didn't seem like it at the
time. As I was pulled out of my cage by the scruff of my neck and held up with
my front legs in the air and my belly facing a lot of noisy people (my long,
matted hair hid my scar), I just wanted to fade away. I didn't know what was
happening to me, but past experience told me it couldn't be good. There was
some shouting, but it was all over quickly. I was put into another cage and
time, though, I was taken to a clean, nice-smelling place, where people talked
with smiles in their voices. I hugged the wall and tried to become part of it,
but they still talked softly to me and, when they had to touch me -- which I
hated! -- touched me gently. They didn't grab me by the legs or the scruff, the
first of many small blessings I was to receive.
was scared for a long time. I was scared in what they call a
"shelter;" I was scared in two foster homes although the people were
unfailingly kind to me. Who knew when that might change? Who knew when they
might hurt me again, grab me, hit me, cut my belly with a knife? Still, as day
after day went by, I was just the tiniest bit less scared. And there were other
dogs there who weren't scared at all. Not at all!
I'm in what they call my "Forever Home." I don't know what that
means, Forever. I hope it's good. I'm not as scared as I was, but still, the
fear is there. If I do something wrong, will I have to go back to that horrible
place where I started out?
of the kind people in my life have been keeping a diary for me. They said that
since I cannot speak, they will do it for me. I would like to share my journey
out of the Mills with you.
March 2007: At the Shelter
Christy. This dog was so shut down we called in rescue and thankfully a mill
dog rehab foster was available. [Christy] hugged the wall and nobody could get
near her." -- note with photo, from a worker at the shelter that
little Cristy the scared Westie, had a cesarean scar from
a previous delivery. Doc said there was a lot of scar tissue inside of her -
uterus, bladder, the horns attached to each other, mometum (fatty tissue) were
all attached to abdominal wall. Doc and Tom says it was a mess - so they
probably dumped her because she wasn't getting pregnant again!"
-- note from shelter worker after Christie's spay.
WPMP "Auction Scrapbook" page:
Christy is two years old.
Terriers at two are meant to be active, playful, happy-go-lucky balls of
energy, bright-eyed and eager for the attention of their People.
Christy, however, is so
"shut down" -- terrified of humans -- that she runs to a
"secure" corner and hugs the wall as if she is trying to become a
part of it. She doesn't know what a toy is for, and she hasn't played since
being separated from her littermates at all-too-early an age. She has probably
NEVER before known a kind word or soft voice.
Her physical problems -- that
"home" c-section, matted coat, and badly decayed teeth -- pretty much
fade into insignificance next to the fact that she won't let anybody get close
to her -- either physically or emotionally.
Christy's "Thorp Dog Auction Scrapbook"
18 June 2007: In a Foster Home
been fostering Christy for almost 8 weeks now. She was re-named Susie before we
started fostering her.
don't know where to start. Susie is a sweet little girl but she has so many
fears. She is still terrified to leave or go into her crate. I am sure she
associates that with terrible treatment so I only crate her in a HUGE crate
when I am at work. I have to stand to the side and she rockets out of the crate
as fast as she can and races over and jumps up on her "safe"
recliner. She is still so terrified that she sometimes runs headlong into the
crate door while I am still in the process of opening it. She also is terrified
to go in and out the back door to go outside. It breaks your heart.
We are also struggling to get her to eat or drink. She will only drink when
we are not at home and she is in her crate. She sometimes will take a couple of
panicked bites of food in her crate but I have had the best luck hand feeding
her. She seems afraid of bowls, plates, etc. She ignores food that I leave on
the floor of her crate. She loves treats now, too, but the only way I can get
her to eat more than a couple bites is to hand feed her when she is in her
"safe" recliner. She usually will finish her serving that way before
running for the hills. She now weighs about 12 pounds.
The good news is even though she is still fearful of people she loves to
cuddle in my lap and lie across my chest and she sleeps on our bed at night.
She also runs up and gives me nose bumps now and does play bows in front of me
when we are outside in the yard. She watches the attention and lovin' my dogs
get and then she gets brave enough to come up close to me. Susie spends nearly
all her time sitting in one of our recliners. That is where she feels safe. She
has shown no interest in exploring the house. She has only recently started to
jump down and run around a little or occasionally to follow me into the bedroom
but that is progress
speculate that maybe her cesarean was done in a kitchen because Susie is
terrified to go in the kitchen and there are other rooms with the same flooring
that don't scare her. Susie urinated on me every time I tried to pick her up
when I first started to foster her but we no longer have a problem with that.
She has come a long ways but still is struggling to conquer her fears. She is
such a sweet, affectionate girl in her own way and I am smitten. She has been
through a lot but she's young and I hope she will get to the point where people
and most of what she sees in the world aren't the source of so much stress and
anxiety. She just seems to always be in fight or flight mode and I hope that
won't always be the case. She is an adorable little Westie and deserves a lot
better than the start she had in life! -- Christy/Susie's foster mom
23 August 2007: Adopted!
I just adopted one of
your featured dogs on the website, "Christy" now Josie, the scared to
death westie who had a home c-section from her former adoring owner.
also adopted another westie in June that came from the puppy mills. Tucker was
terrifed of men, especially ones who wore hats and had beards. Tucker has done
remarkably well, and to my dismay, sometimes picks my son to sleep with instead
of me and the other 2 westies!!
on the other hand -- it's going to be a long road for her. She is making
progress, but it is one step forward and 2 back. She is such a sweet dog. It
angers me so that people can treat animals like they did with her. She is still
very fearful of people and has her "safe spot" on one end of the
couch. (Here, she's sitting on Tucker, who was lying on her
have noticed that when I wear my hair up in a ponytail on top of my head, she
seems fearful of me, and I've come to the conclusion that I must resemble an
amish woman to her. At first, when I got her, I had to leave the leash on her
when she went outside as I was unable to get her to come to me and I didn't
want to chase and scare her. I would usually have to call Toby & Tucker
over to me, then she would follow them and I could get close enough to her to
step on the leash, then softly talk my way up to her, pick her up and bring her
in the house. She has made progress in that I leave the patio door open, she
either will come in by herself following the boys in or responds to the word
"treat", comes in and goes to her spot on the couch. She still will
not come directly to me when I call her, but is coming closer and gives me her
nose bumps to get petted or treats.
is eating out of a bowl for me, which is progress also, as her foster mom had
to put her food on a towel or on the floor to her kennel. I have 2 soft furry
toys with soft squeakers in that she is starting to play with!! My 2 greatest
joys: watching her run in the backyard with the boys playing doggie tag -- She
is fast and can turn on a dime, and keeps up with the boys and doesn't take any
guff from them!! -- and cuddling with her, just petting and letting her know
she can be close to me. She has come to enjoy having her hair brushed. She
shows trust to me there, as she will stretch out and lay with her eyes closed,
enjoying her massage. Thank you for all your hard work for these wonderful
animals. -- Christy/Josie's Forever Mom
Josie with her friends Tucker and Toby
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Don't Buy The Lies: the Thorp Dog Auction, 10 Mar
Puppy Mill Survivors: Caring For Unsocialized Mill
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