"the pluck and determination of this puppy mill survivor is inspiring..."
on the trail...
the best of us... Your indomitable spirit proved that a puppy-mill survivor could not only survive but flourish. I will never
forget you... save a spot for me across the bridge...
Rest in Peace my dear friend."
was no testing, no analysis on my part. Beneath the neglect, there was something that drew me to the emaciated
Yuri... a decision of the
It was my second trip to Hearts United for Animals and this time
I was there not as part of a rescue transport but as a Private Investigator hired to find a lost survivor. Rescued from a
puppy mill, Landra, a bichon mix was missing. Six hours into the search, Cade, our lead tracking dog found her body a mile
away from where she had escaped. It was a sad ending but it brought closure to the staff, volunteers and fosters of HUA who
had spent the last seven weeks relentlessly looking for her.
Later that sad Saturday, I met Yuri. When I first
saw him, I could see he was a dachshund because of his elongated body but beyond that he was unrecognizable. His feet were
splayed and swollen with foot rot from living in a wire cage, his eyes were runny and he had very little hair. Mange had eaten
away at this skin and body but it had not taken his spirit. After spending his life as a production stud dog, the miller had
tossed him out with his infected puppies seeing no reason to treat him. The intelligence and understanding in his eyes kept
me coming back to the treatment room to see him. He held no grudges towards humans and was genuinely happy to accept any kindness
extended. I asked the caretaker to keep me informed of his progress and wondered why I could not forget the little dog...
I met hundreds of dogs during rescue transports.. why this one? I left for home five days later but I could not forget the
Two months later, I went back to train the staff, volunteers and foster parents at Hearts United
on how to profile, locate and recover a missing STARS dog. Upon my arrival, I immediately went to see the bald little dachshund.
I was surprised to find that much of his hair was growing in and his incredible spirit continued to soar. Over the course
of that week, Yuri and I became friends. He stayed in our room with us and got along with the dogs on my team. Within
days I had decided to adopt him.
I adopted Yuri as a friend and companion but everyone in our house gets a chance
to work if they want to.. and Yuri was no exception. He had not been exposed to much more than wire and cement for most of
his life and now he was handling busy streets and new people. His pluck and determination were admirable. He surpassed what
I believed a mill survivor could accomplish in such a short time. Today, Yuri is a member of our pack indistinguishable from
the other canines who roam our house.
Living with a PM survivor has changed the way I think. When things look hard
or difficult I can always look over at the chipper little doxie gnawing away at a slipper and remember... if Yuri can do it...
so can I.