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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Beginning of a New Life: A Puppy Mill Rescue

I tried something new.  We received another group of breeding dogs at our clinic.  This group included 4 shih tzus, 2 poodles, a schnauzer, a schnoodle, and 12 pomeranians.  One little shih tzu caught my heart because of her personality and unique markings.  I decided to videotape her progress for my own reference, but I will share it here.  I may do this again in the future, because looking back, I wish I had done a few things differently. 

Most of the dogs from this breeder come in with large animal ear tags tied around their necks with a chain.  This is how they were identified throughout their lives.  A few of the dogs had the chain tangled in their fur, but fortunately we have not seen one with injury due to the chain.

The little shih tzu that caught my heart I named Schnookie.  She was a cutie.  You can see the ear tag on Schnookie's neck in the previous photos.  I placed her under anesthesia for her spay, and on a whim decided to grab my camera and put the camera on video instead of photo.  The result is the first video.

You will have to forgive the fact that I did not plan what to say or how I was going to proceed in this process, or even what I planned to do with the video.  It was very much a random act.  But there it is.

Our routine procedures for these commercial breeding dogs include anesthesia, shave down, spay/neuter, and dental.  Dogs living in these facilities have teeth that are aged beyond their years. There is an article here about health concerns and teeth in these dogs. (ZKARYGNXBTU5)

The second video is of her teeth prior to being cleaned. My camera is not great at close ups, but we all know what color teeth should be.  Her teeth were caked with tartar.

Several days after the procedures were performed, I grabbed my camera one last time.  Here is Schnookie .
I consider this video to be dessert, because it is soooooo good!  Honestly, is there a cuter face???

After taking the third video, I really wanted to keep her with us.  There is an instant bond between Schnookie and I, even though I have not spent much time with her.  Her personality is just effervescent, like bubbles in a glass of freshly poured Sprite.  We could find her a home, after all, that is what we do, right?  Unfortunately, we cannot provide her with a temporary foster home to teach her what a family is. My assistants had to convince me that sending her to a rescue where a foster home was waiting for her.  This was the best thing for her. I knew that with my head, but my heart wanted to keep her here with us.

There are those occasional dogs that capture your heart more than the others. She was one of them for me.  Schnookie went to a rescue group who will provide for her a new experience.  That experience is the joy of living inside a home with a family prior to her adoption. We simply have no volunteers willing to be foster homes so we sent her where it would benefit her most.  

I am glad that we do not emotionally attach to all of our rescues in that way, but there is a piece of ourselves that go with each animal we rehome.  You cannot help but love them, even just a little, and some more than others.  In return, a piece of them stays here with us, and that gives us the passion to keep on going.

At the clinic we have created a tribute to the dogs we are rescuing by hanging the chains on a plaque on our wall. I found the plaque itself at a small second hand store.  It is probably a thread bobbin holder which now holds the remnants of old lives that have been left behind.  I wish we had started saving the tags from day 1 of our rescue work, but we already have quite a few since we started saving the tags.  When we look at the tribute, it says to us, "Thank you... for the gift of life, love, and family..."  I will see Schnookie's thankful eyes and the eyes of many others each time my eyes fall upon it.

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Sarah said...

Wonderful blog! I really appreciated this post, as I don't often see the step-by-step progress of a rescued Puppy Mill dog. If you don't mind, I'd love to post your blog entry on my site FOSTER DOGS IN NYC!

Sarah said...

ps -- here's my post! enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

I have just viewed your video and my now 1 year old Pomeranian came running into to room barking and looking up at the computer. We adopted her from you last August -she was one of 2 pups and you had named her Bambi. I think something in her memory recognized the voice on the video and she came running to see what was going on. I am so thankful for all the work you do on the behalf of these poor dogs, and we really love our Daisy. I wish we were in a position to be able to foster some of these dogs, but at the moment it is not possible. If things change, be sure I will contact you straight away.