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From Rehab to Recovery: A Puppy Mill Survivor’s Incredible Journey (Part 2 of 2)

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 12:00pm
White and tan chihuahua

Advocates, today is No Pet Store Puppies Day. Last week, we gave you a glimpse into the process of behavioral rehabilitation for one particular dog, Dusty, who was terrified of everyone and everything after a life spent in a puppy mill. Read the rest of Dusty’s story, as told by our staff behavior experts, to see the amazing progress puppy mill survivors like him can make.

April 15, 2014:  We are continuing to work with Dusty on his fear of seeing people while he’s on a leash. The rehabilitation center is lucky to have volunteers who come in on regular basis and act as unfamiliar people for our dogs in treatment. Today, I took Dusty on a walk to meet one of our volunteers and asked her to toss treats to him during the encounter. If we do this enough times, most dogs start to associate strangers they see on walks with yummy treats! Dusty is making extraordinary progress and we expect him to graduate from our program soon. He is sure to make a lucky family very happy!

May 1, 2014:  Dusty graduated from our program today! He’s been placed with a rescue group, Rescuzilla, and will be living in a foster home in Queens, New York!

May 9, 2014:  Rescuzilla tells us Dusty blew them all away with how quickly he warmed up to his new home. In the first couple of days, he was already comfortable being walked and held—even by his foster parent’s niece and nephew!

June 1, 2014:  Dusty has found his forever home! A veterinary technician in New Jersey saw him on Petfinder and fell in love instantly. She has two other rescued Chihuahuas. One of Dusty’s rescue sisters is even sassier than he is, and the adopter was so happy to see the three of them get along so seamlessly in just the first few hours after Dusty came home! His new family says that he loves his new dad—but is a mama’s boy at heart. He is just what they were looking for.  

Chihuahua sniffing grass

Dusty’s journey is happily over, but there are many more dogs like him—is there room in your heart and home for one? Raja, Apple and Gustavo—three dogs seized from the same puppy mill as Dusty—have likewise graduated from the ASPCA's Behavioral Rehabilitation Center and are now waiting for their forever families.

We hope you will join the fight against mill cruelty and help give other mill survivors a second chance by getting involved in the campaign! Enter our No Pet Store Puppies Day contest to win a one-year subscription to BarkBox and join us today on Twitter today from 3:00-4:00 P.M. EDT to chat with our experts about the issue of puppy mills. Follow the hashtag #NPSPday to join the chat!

Two chihuahuas playing

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Emma

Who wouldn't fall in love with Dusty! Have a blast in Jersey, little angel. Nothing but fun and more fun, love and safety. I am so happy for you and your wonderful adopter.

Karen

I volunteered for PAWS Chicago. Two years ago 140 dogs made the news when they were seized from a Missouri puppy mill and brought here. As we unloaded them from the transport truck, we cried, threw up and couldn't believe what these little angle had been through. So many of them were physically and mentally traumatized. Although we had a happy ending, please do whatever you can to get the word out and end puppy mills.

Anonymous

Thank you, Karen, for your help! Just reading your comment made me nearly cry! People who abuse animals have a special place in h***.

Anonymous

How heartbreaking (at the beginning)! I am teary-eyed. I am so glad Dusty is in his "FURever" home. What a cutie! I would seriously love to be an animal behavioral specialist.