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Blind Shih Tzu, Puppy Mill Survivor Overcomes Rough Start

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 1:15pm
blind shih tzu

If ever there was a dog whose prospects looked grim, it was Carson the Shih Tzu. Two years ago, when the three-year-old breeding dog was rescued from a puppy mill in central Minnesota, Carson’s face and underweight body were completely overwhelmed by huge mats of hair, urine and feces. When his rescuers bathed him, they discovered that his eyes had been eaten away by infection. There was nothing left to save: His eye sockets were cleaned out and his lids sewn shut.

Jessica Danielson was on seeking a companion for her senior pooch Diesel, and although she wasn’t looking for a challenge, she was drawn to Carson’s posting. “I knew I could give him everything he needed. God put him right there and said ‘This is the one. He needs you.’ When I called the rescue to set up a meeting, Carson’s foster mom almost started crying because she thought he’d never find a home.”

“It took almost a year before he would trust me enough to cuddle me, kiss my face, and just feel safe enough to wander the house,” remembers Jessica. In spite of his rough start, Carson is now a very loving and affectionate boy who has taught his new mom, in her words, about “survival, trust, and the real meaning of love!”

Carson’s impact on Jessica doesn’t end there. Now in love with the breed, she went on to adopt two more rescued Shih Tzus—Ernie and Mr. Wiggles—and became a volunteer foster mom for special-needs dogs through Ruff Start Rescue.

Did you adopt a puppy mill dog? Tell us your story by emailing [email protected]. And remember, never buy a puppy in a pet store or online—they almost always come from puppy mills. While a pet store puppy may be hard to resist, purchasing one dooms his parents, dogs like Carson, to lives of cruelty, filth and neglect.

Visit to learn more and take the pledge not to buy anything at pet stores or on websites that sell puppies.

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Karen Conover

I have 5 shih tsu dogs, I rescued 2 and they are the loves of my life. It is my great honor and privledge to receive love and devotion from them. My Lily now 3yrs. came to me because her previous owner felt she was aggressive and wanted her euthonized at 3months old, she weighed 3.5 lbs. She was meant to be my dog and is the most devoted and loving little girl. These little creatures teach us what unconditional love is all about. Bless you Jessica.


I love a happy ending! Carson is certainly blessed to have found such a loving home. I am so glad that his mom saw the value in little Carson. Animals have so much to teach us.


OMG, He is adorable. I would like to go with the ASPCA on a rescue at one of the puppy mills, I feel the need to be a part of that so bad. I want to be able to rescue some dogs from a horrible situation. It would give me satisfaction, a great satisfaction.


I rescued my spoiled little fellow in mid october 2012. I have been trying to get him groomed by someone used to dealing with rescue dog issues. Ziggy is afraid to have someone get anywhere near his face since he has had a broken jaw from his attack before I got him. Little tongue hangs out all the time from where the piece of jaw bone is missing. I can't even brush him now that his hair has grown across his eyes and he can not see. I have been trying to get him groomed since November 2012, but my groomer has cancelled on me 3 times and now I am desperate to find someone who is not afraid to groom him. He will swing his head as if to smip when being brushed etc, but he can not clasp his jaw to bite. he is just jumpy and makes me jumpy when I try to brush him. He is becoming a mess due to this dilema. I never let my long hair dogs get to this point. He is 3 months overdue for a groom. HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!

Jaime Perez

This is why I hate the puppy mill industry so bad. Look what it does to helpless animals. I had a friend give me a rescued puppy mill mom-King Cavarlier Spaniel. She was the most loving, sweet little angel. But very sad to say, I only had her 3 months. She died one night, in her sleep. It broke my heart, but I knew, in those 3 months, she had a wonderful, loving home with me. I'm so happy for Carson and his mom!


jaw dropped when i read this...bless carson's new home...can not believe someone could hurt animals. especially shih tzus!!

Lori Caldwell

I love people who love animals! Thank you so much for having such a big heart!


poor little guy i took one just like him in the same condition took almost a year for him to come around but now he is the sweetest thing you will ever meet he is one of 2 i took in from awful conditions. these people shoud be treated the same way they treated these poor dogs


I took in a shi tsu because his family left Dubai at the start of the economic crisis and 6 months later his left eye became extremely infected and the vet, who I visited, didn't know what to do so he lost his eye. After a few weeks Snoopy behaved as if he had perfect vision. Snoopy was bought in a pet shop here and had come from a puppy farm in eastern Europe. But now, 4 years later, he is full of life and enjoying life with all the other dogs who come to spend their holidays with us.


OMG! Carson looks just like my Shih Tzu, Ty Ty. How can anyone be so cruel as to let this baby suffer like he did. I can't imagine the pain he went through. My Ty is almost blind, but from old age. Their eyes need lots of care because of the hair surrounding them. They are high maintenance pups, but the best breed. If you ever have a Shih Tzu, you will never go back! They are just the most loving and precious babies. Carson is lucky to have his new Mommy, and she is lucky to have him.