Here are the entries for the Grand Marshal of our Survivors Parade. Please read their stories and celebrate their happy endings.
Millie was in a puppy mill for 9 years when she rescued us. This December will mark her 9th "Gotcha Day" with us. She is a retired Certified Therapy Dog. She acclimated to a comfortable home life quickly! She wears panties designed and made by me because she never got the hang of potty training. Anything was fair game. She does have a lively poopy dance that alerts us to that event. She has many dresses to match her panties. She can be Miss Independent and in a heartbeat want to be a cuddle bug. She is the smallest of our 3 rescues, weighing about 8 pounds, but she is the boss lady. Her favorite activity is being carried by Daddy for walks. She loves going to our cabin in the mountains and car rides.She insists her bed be on the sofa so she can watch over everything. Last year around 2 am she alerted me that our Bichon was in medical distress. He passed a few hours later. She has been a joy and a blessing! I never knew how wonderful adopting a senior pup could be. Millie has taught us much.
I would like to elect Annie to be the grand marshal of the PMAD parade. Annie is a survivor of an Amish puppy mill, and, at about 6 years old, has only been out for a few short months (since January). However, in those short months, Annie has taught everyone who meets her what resilience and strength really are.
After her freedom ride with another survivor, she spent a few weeks with a foster, many of those weeks sick and recovering from surgery. Annie must have had almost a hundred puppies, and her body showed it. From the beginning, however, she won the hearts of everyone and everything, and made friends with her foster sister, another rescue, Maggie. To this day, when Annie sees Maggie, she still leans into her and walks with her. The word that Jackie, her foster, used to describe Annie was adaptable. Annie just wants to please, no matter what her past was.
We first met Annie on a cold day in February, and though she was sick and scared, with her tail tucked between her legs, I fell in love with her and she fell in love with my other golden retriever, Carmen. What I remember most about meeting her for the first time were her eyes-- you could see every bit of her soul in those eyes, and how sweet and gentle she is. Despite her past, Annie loves everyone she meets, and will happily and calmly sit for affection from anyone. She wins the hearts of people everywhere we go with her calm demeanor.
We brought her home a couple weeks later after her spay, and she was fearful, blowing her coat, overweight, and underexercised. Her legs were thin and atrophied compared to the rest of her body. The list of things she couldn't do was long. She couldn't get in the car. She couldn't go up stairs. She didn't know how to eat kibble. She walked in tight circles and not in straight lines from being caged for so long. She couldn't walk on a leash. She wasn't potty trained. She was scared of everything. We didn't know how she would adapt to life in a home.
After her first night, we got an idea of how she would adapt. I woke up to a smiling golden retriever at the foot of my bed. It was one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. Annie was happy, not scared. At that moment, I knew we just had to teach her, and she would be okay.
It's been a few months now, and Annie continues to delight and surprise us. It turns out that all of those things she couldn't do she figured out in short order. Shortly after we adopted her, we took her to a pet expo, and she ran a lure course like a pup with her sister when we didn't know if she would ever run and play. She currently goes on weekly pack walks with up to 40 other dogs, often acting as the donation/tip dog as she charms all of the participants. She is in obedience classes, and working towards her Canine Good Citizen certification. She and her sister Carmen are great friends, and though Annie is still fearful in some situations, she can do anything, especially if Carmen is with her. She goes to my office with me all the time, and she's wonderful with everyone she meets.
She has come so far from the dog she was just a few months ago with her tail tucked between her legs, scared of everything. Now she runs around the house with her tail held high, rolls in the grass at any opportunity, and smiles her sweet golden smile at everyone. She gets so enthusiastic about training that she twirls in circles when we bring out the bag of treats. We've learned that her personality is a little bit silly, and so much makes her happy. Her smile is so bright that it cheers me up instantly.
She has been wonderful with and for my special needs son. She's taught him how important it is to be gentle with animals, and we've really seen a change in him with Annie being in our home. He really takes his time with her, and she is very patient and loving with him.
Annie has shown me and everyone that knows her that adversity, pain, and hardship don't have to break your spirit. We have been gifted with living with a being who shows us every day that no matter how hard life can be, there is always hope for better times ahead. Annie has embraced her new life and has never looked back. Her spirit is strong, unbroken, and kind. May we all be like this wonderful, beautiful dog. And we am forever grateful for the people who saved her so she could have this chance at a new life.
Lucy.....She lived 5 yrs in a filthy, run down barn in Indiana. She came to us Feral pooping and biting every time we had to go near her. One step forward and three steps backwards for several years. Lucy is a survivor in every sense of the word. No matter what happened to her in that disgusting mill at the hands of those horrible people they could not break her spirit. As terrified as she was you could see in her eyes she was a fighter. She's healthy and happy now. She's also sweet and sassy....and I LOVE when she bosses us around LOL. I admire Lucy so much and love her more every day. I still remember times like our first walk or the first time she kissed me and it made me so proud of her.....i could talk about her all day LOL. She doesn't like crowd so can't be considered for the grand Marshall but just wanted to share her story.