Monday, December 6, 2010

Suffering finally ends, healing begins, for rescued puppy mill dogs

Janet Hare of Earl Park, IN
with her new cuddly friend
Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

Hello again from Bloomington, Indiana where we have completed the deployment and have sent the rescued puppy mill survivors on to adoption shelters where they will be able to find true homes with people who will love them properly. This is always a bittersweet day; we are happy that they are healthy enough to travel and that they will soon be in real homes, but sad to see our new little charges leaving us. But in the end, it is about them, not us.

So I would like to introduce you to a few of the dogs that really moved us this week, some who came in with big personalities and entertained us immensely, some who were completely shut down and started to learn to love, and some who just got under our skin.

Gary Gray of Nashville, TN
getting fresh air with a friend
We’ll start with the big personalities which would definitely include the Shih Tzu who sat on his hind legs for hours at a time, tail wagging the entire time. Sometimes he would lean on his partner, sometimes wave at us, and sometimes just sit and wait for someone to notice him. Even when we took him out of his crate and let him run around in a small room, he chose to just sit back and show off for us.

And we couldn’t talk about big personalities without talking about the pugs – almost ALL of them. They were in constant motion, vying for everyone’s attention and always smiling; who could resist? But the one that most caught our attention was the one born missing one of his back feet; his disability didn’t slow him down one bit and his enthusiasm was not deterred at all. This was a dog that knew good things were in his future!

The dogs who appeared to be shut down were the ones that got my attention and broke my heart - the chocolate poodle who sat in the corner the first two days, hair covering his eyes and just trying to disappear; the protective mama, trying to be brave and keep her babies safe, not wanting to see yet another litter of pups taken from her too soon; and the “caution” dogs, those who appeared to be aggressive during the seizure and were, with good reason, flagged as such. One of those that I personally became attached to was a tan poodle who hid in the back of his crate, not making eye contact with anyone and who went iron-rod stiff when I removed him from his crate. After going through the vetting process, I sat with him in my arms for awhile, and soon felt his entire body start to relax and before long he was sleeping soundly in my arms – and when I got up and put him in Janet’s arms, he cuddled right up to her and fell asleep again. Caution – love ahead for this amazing little dog.

Old man in the caring arms of an
EARS volunteer 
There were so many who just “got under our skin” - the tiny pug puppy and his little Shih Tzu buddy, constantly wrestling and playing; the inseparable pugs that seemed to have to be touching at all times; the tiny little five-week-old Shih Tzu pup, prematurely taken from his mother before we arrived, who tested positive for giardia; and so many more. But there is always one that brings me to tears, despite my best efforts to refrain. This one was a little Yorkie nicknamed “Old man.” He had cataracts and no teeth, his little body used up by years of neglect, yet he accepted our touches and our love and you could just tell that he was ready to fully accept and return the love that comes from the dog/human bond. As I watched him lying in Julie’s arms prior to being moved to one of the adoption shelters I could see in his eyes that he still had the capacity to love humans unconditionally. And he will finally get that chance now.

We said goodbye to the last group of dogs around noon. They were all picked up by representatives of the four organizations that will care for them until they can be adopted into forever homes. We thank each of those organizations for their willingness to prepare them for adoption:
We are all proud to have been a part of this rescue and can sleep easier knowing that we have helped to bring 122 more dogs out of crisis and into care.

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