As many of you know, our newest “shadow” around the house, Ms. Elsa was a product of a puppy mill breeding operation. What you may not know are some of the details about puppy mill breeding operations, short of ‘they’re bad.’
Hello everyone. This is Elsa. Over the weekend my new mom was going through all the papers associated with my recent adoption and it really sank in just what we puppy mill pups had to endure so she encouraged me to tell that story in my own words.
There were 9 of us who were seized and turned over to a northern Colorado shelter back in late June after the death of our owner. One dog (who was probably my dad) was euthanized due to his severe aggression and determined to not able to be rehabilitated in any setting. Another dog had to be euthanized because she was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. Me, my sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles lived in wire cages on a 3+ acre property on the Plains outside of Greeley, Colorado and were all filthy, matted, covered in feces and never touched by humans. The only time my cage was opened was when “he” was released in my cage to mate.
During intact with the first rescue shelter, I wouldn’t look up at the nice people who wanted to take a photo of me. I wasn’t able to make any direct eye contact and still have trouble doing that at times. I’m shy but friendly toward people and pets and still trying to figure out what being a dog is all about. So far, while on the one hand it’s scary territory, on the other, it’s completely pawsome!
Once the rescue took me in they evaluated my health which seemed mostly normal. But first things first…I was spayed and gastropexied. For those of you unfamiliar with that last term, gastropexy is a surgical procedure whereby the stomach is sutured to the diaphragm to prevent bloat, a common condition Standard Poodles are prone to suffering from as are all deep-chested breeds.
I was lucky to be placed with a loving foster family who owned another Standard Poodle to help guide my socialization for a number of weeks before I got to go home to the Ranch.
To have my own bed…inside even…well…gosh, how did I get so lucky? It used to be that I felt by having a dirty feces covered ratty old rug was something else. It was something else alright, just not what should be considered appropriate for living creatures. Although perhaps a little underweight but otherwise thought to be healthy, I now get two squares a day of premium food, fresh water twice a day, hooves to chew on along with an array of elk antlers (which can I just say, I LOVE?). I mean, I think I won the lottery on the Ranch. My brand new hot pink collar and matching leash along with a micro-chip will help keep me safe. Plus I’ll be stylin’ with my new bandana just like my big brother. Mom already has a set of snow boots for when the weather turns but not sure about that means.
My mom has been loving and patient with me. She speaks softly, massages my ears to help me relax, tries to use food as a motivator (though I’m still afraid to take any treats directly from her hand still) and praises me whenever I pee, poop, and exhibit good leash manners. She lets me climb up on the sofa and relax next to her and never forces me to do something if I freeze, instead always encouraging me. I started to wag my tail a little bit when I see her come into a room and that has made her super happy. She thinks I’m pretty special and even if my brother is a little less than a fan, I think I’m starting to win him over too. He at least let’s me sleep right next to him. The uprights will need to get more furniture for themselves though.
Have you ever rescued a puppy mill dog? What was your strategy for integrating a rescued fur-iend into your family?
Live, love, bark! <3