Life Lessons, resources, and random bits for rescue dogs, cats, bunnies, and their peeps

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Specials: Adopting Puppy Mill Dogs

Welcome to week thirteen of The Specials, a series focusing on successful special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pit Bulls and black cats. If not for the kindness, compassion and courage of their adopters, many of these animals would have been euthanized in shelters or perished alone and hungry on the streets. Please check out last week's special needs pet adoption posts here.

adopting a special needs French Bull Dog

Fiona spent her first four years in a cramped cage at a puppy mill in Oklahoma. She produced at least two litters a year and lived on a poor diet designed to keep her overweight and immobile. In most mills, puppies are removed from their mothers at four to eight weeks, before they are completely weened, and sold to internet and retail brokers. Puppies are transported in tiny crates often without adequate food, water, or ventilation and some die en route. Those not sold in stores are returned to the mill for breeding or sold for research. Breeding mothers, like Fiona, are often killed as young as six or seven when they are deemed less fertile. Fiona made it out just in time ...

adopting a special needs French Bull Dog

Fiona was saved by The Chicago French Bulldog Rescue in 2004. Her insides were scarred from multiple litters and she had issues with her feet from living in a wire cage. When Michelle adopted her, she was terrified of going outside, climbing stairs, and new people. She even cowered in her crate when her rescuers stopped by for a home visit. Like many puppy mill survivors who have lived their entire lives in tiny, cramped cages with little human contact or compassion, the outside world was frightening and confusing for Fiona. 

adopting a rescued  French Bull Dog

Sadly, in 2011, Fiona developed Bells Palsy and lost sight in her right eye. Although she had made much progress, the loss of her sight was devastating. Her new found confidence, dwindled, and she grew withdrawn and depressed. At the suggestion of her sister and vet, Michelle adopted Steve French (also from Chicago French Bulldog Rescue) as a companion for Fiona. 

adopting a rescued  French Bull Dog

Steve was two years old at the time of adoption and is now six.  Michelle says he adjusted more quickly than Fiona, but still has some OCD tendencies. But most importantly, Steve was exactly what Fiona needed and his arrival and energy brought her back to life! The two formed an instant bond and together now explore the world around them with wide-eyed wonder and curiosity. 

adopting a rescued  French Bull Dog

Both Fiona and Steve French are clearly enjoying life and grateful to be free of the cruel world of the mills. Thanks to Michelle and Rich for giving them the time and space to heal and the fairytale ending they most certainly deserve. 

This is my second post on adopting a puppy mill survivor. You can read the first post and Reba's story here.  For more information on puppy mills, please visit the National Dog Mill RescueBest Friends, or HSUS.  Please consider fostering or adopting a puppy mill survivor or another special needs animal because second chances are amazing whether you are on the receiving or giving side.

Saving one animal won't change the world, but for that one animal the world will change forever.



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48 comments

  1. I hope once all that puppy mills and assembly line breeders are history... maybe it will not change the world to adopt a pup, but it is a small step in the right direction... and with many small steps we can reach the summit too :o)

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  2. So happy there are people in the world who have the time and patience to help dogs have a real life. We wish all the puppy mills could be eliminated.

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  3. Isn't it heartwarming to hear of peeps luffing their furfriends sooo much and looking out fur the bestest way to make their lives happier. Lots of luffs and hugs to the Peeps of Fiona and Steve French, yous wonderful Peeps with two VERY special pups
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  4. We are so happy that Fiona has Steve! Bless Michelle and Rich for giving these pups the bestest home♥

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  5. They so deserve a chance and happy lives.

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  6. That is so sad. I never realized how bad the puppy mills were. I so wish I was rich and could afford to adopt some dogs. Great post.

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  7. Now that is an amazing story! How wonderful for someone to adopt Fiona and then, when she needed it most, to adopt a special friend for her too. I love happy ending stories! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. This post holds a special place in our hearts. We have adopted 5 puppy mill pugs over the last 6 years. Sadly, two of them have went to live at the bridge but I know while they were in our home they were loved. It is a horrible heartbreaking place for them to live, as we have seen first hand here in Iowa. They do come with their own problems emotionally and physically but the love they give us back makes all of that worthwhile. Thank you for this post. Stella rose, Margaret Mae and Angus and their momma

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  9. We need to put a stop to puppy mills! I'm so glad that Fiona's story has a happy ending. This is such a great series.

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  10. Puppy mills seem to be on their way out as the public finally sees the horror of them. I think the best way is not to outlaw them. That just drives them underground. But the forces of the market, if there are no buyers, they will shut down the operation,

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  11. Oh, the horrors of puppy mills are so infuriating. Stories like this, though, offer at least a glimmer of hope. I'm so glad that Fiona and Steve French found such a loving home and a happy ending. Thank you for another wonderful post in this wonderful series!

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  12. Sorry for the life she USED to live... butt very happy that Fiona is now paired up with Steve and they are now HAPPY TOGETHER... it is a Win Win Situation. and they are lucky to have such a LOVING home NOW.

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  13. OH NO FIONA...WE ARE SO VERY SORRY TO READ ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR LIFE....
    FOR SURE THE DAY YOU WERE ADOPTED BY MICHELLE WAS THE BEGINNING OF CHANGE FOR THE BETTER AND LOOK AT STEVE SUCH A HANDSOME FRENCHIE BY YOUR SIDE.
    HUGS MADI YOUR BFFF

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  14. Hari OM
    It beggars belief how devious folks can be about the over-breeding of 'designer dogs' (what happened to good ol' mongrels???!!!)... In OZ and UK there are supposed to be all sorts of legislation and hurdles to cut down the mill bizz... but they just move into places like Ireland and onto the continent then the poor little blighters get transported the same sort of way Eastern Women (white slaves) are - human race can be dispicable..... Praise the Lord for those who fight the opposite battle. Fiona and Steve are shining examples of capital 'ell' Love in action!!! YAM xx

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  15. Yay for sweet Fiona and Steve! And a huge thank you to their caring adopters!

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  16. Chicago French Bulldog Rescue rocks!
    Lily & Edward

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  17. It must be hard with the configuration of a French Bulldogs face having sight just out of one eye. Bless the families that love those in need. They are a sweet pair.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

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  18. This is post really touches us. We are glad Fiona has a loving home along with Steve with wonderful people that will do whatever to give these two a wonderful rest of their life
    hugs
    Mr Bailey Hazel & Mabel

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  19. We are also really loving this series and are very relieved and happy Fiona and Steve were rescued and loved.

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  20. We are so happy to hear good endings to difficult stories!

    Murphy & Stanley

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  21. Such a sad former life, but oh the joy of rescues like this one!!!

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

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  22. I can't imagine what her poor life was like before she was free. So glad she will live the rest of her life in comfort and love.

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  23. We're so happy Fiona and Steve have each other and will have the happy life they so deserve.

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  24. I am so glads they have a FABulous life nows! I hopes all those nasty puppy mills get shut down asap! Nasty..just nasty.
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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  25. so great they found good homes

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  26. Amazing story of puppy mill rescue & survival! What a wonderful family to take in these dogs. I'm so happy Steve was able to help Fiona, what a blessing he was!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  27. Amazing story of puppy mill rescue & survival! What a wonderful family to take in these dogs. I'm so happy Steve was able to help Fiona, what a blessing he was!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  28. Such a wonderful story! The White Dog Army has three puppy mill girls...Bella, Pearl and Opal. All have such horror stories from their past and are on a continuing journey to learn about being independent, safe, loved. We understand the incredible effort and love poured into such a happy ending.

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  29. Such a wonderful story! The White Dog Army has three puppy mill girls...Bella, Pearl and Opal. All have such horror stories from their past and are on a continuing journey to learn about being independent, safe, loved. We understand the incredible effort and love poured into such a happy ending.

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  30. What a gorgeous pair!!! So glad they have a loving home, and each other!

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  31. Puppy Mill dogs are a social love of mine. These guys have had such difficult lives. They may seem a bit different from other dogs at first, but they just haven't had the practice with their socialization skills! With a little bit of TLC, they make GREAT pets.

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  32. This warmed my heart and I applaud anyone who adopts these special and oh-so-deserving dogs and gives them the happy lives they deserve. Great post to raise awareness.

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  33. Thank you for this series of articles. Ending Puppy Mills needs to be a priority for all countries/societies. Annette @PetsAreFound

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  34. What a great series and a great story! They are too cute....happy for them!

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  35. Awwww! Adoption is so important!

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  36. I'm so glad Fiona and Steve have escaped the mills and have found their happy ending!

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  37. They are so adorable! Thank you for spreading awareness od ending puppy mills! It is something that should be spread far and wide!

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  38. I wish we could end backyard breeders and puppy mills, the poor animals are suffering because of the greed

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  39. We are so sad whenever we hear about the puppy mills. Hope many others at the mills will be rescued soon! Great post!

    Momo & Pinot xo

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  40. Thank you so much for spreading the word about puppy mills! The only way we can stop them is through educating the public! I was almost a puppy mill dog. My mom and dad were in a puppy mill and when the rescue organization rescued my parents and placed them in foster care they found out my mom was pregnant with my litter mates and me.

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  41. Great post! It is heartbreaking what happens to dogs in puppy mills. I am glad Fiona got out and is doing well.

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  42. We're happy Fiona and Steve found each other and for you for giving them a second chance.

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  43. Sometimes I can't stand humans. I don't understand how anyone can treat animals so poorly and still sleep at night. Poor Fiona and Steve. I am glad to hear that they made it out and are reasonably healthy today.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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  44. A lovely story! Poor Fiona, I'm glad Steve perked her up and put her back on track. Puppymill dogs need a lot of time and patience, and even after years may not come around the way you had hoped. But you need to be happy with any change, any sign of trust, and go slow...s l o w, s l o w e r =)

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  45. Omd, what a story! I have shared and pinned as well!

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  46. Gosh, how adorable is that! And just last month, I met my first mill survivor at my local animal shelter. Her poor feet were curled almost in half from spending all of her life on the bottom of a wire kennel. And she was much too worried to let me take photos. Poor, poor sweetie. I hope she gets a beautiful rescue story like this one.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

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  47. You know, I have had Bree for 6months now and am amazed at how much she has come out of her shell. The puppy mills will hopefully one day be eradicated and these gentle souls will never have to suffer. Until then, we can save them one at a time :)

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