I love this story.
Little Annie came from a puppy mill to foster with Rachel. Small Paws has some specific rules when it comes to Fluffs rescued from puppy mills:
- There needs to be another dog in residence to show the puppy mill dog how to live in a home with a family.
- No children under the age of 10.
The rules are there to give the adoption it’s best chance of success. But sometimes the rules can bend a little!
Meet Annie Small Paws! Annie was the third foster dog I took in with Small Paws in August 2009, after first two I fostered were adopted out to wonderful “furever” homes. Annie came to us from a commercial puppy mill in Andalusia, Alabama. She made the long trip to Rochester, NY by plane, and by the time she reached our home she was a scared little girl. She was extremely skinny too, weighing only 11 pounds, and was estimated to be 8 years old.
In the first couple minutes she was in our home, I fell in love. She was sad, scared, and damaged, and I knew she was going to be mine. We spent the next couple months working with her and a wonderful trainer on trust, and some basic obedience. She was still afraid of me, and terrified of my husband, but she loved my other 2 bichons. They would romp and play in the yard, and snuggle together on the bed.
In December 2009 I found out I was pregnant…with twins. We knew the Small Paws rule about not placing puppy mill dogs in homes with children under 10. I was afraid they were going to re-home her, so I contacted Joanne R. and asked (OK, begged) for them to let me keep her as a foster. I explained that even though she was still terrified of us humans, she had created a special bond with the dogs and I didn’t think there would be any issues. I promised if there was we would contact them immediately for re-homing. Small Paws agreed and she stayed with us as a foster while we waited for her “furever” home to come along.
One night in January I was sitting in my chair falling asleep (as pregnant women often do), and Annie jumped in my lap on her own. It startled me, because up to this point I had not been able to get her to sit with me, or even come near me on her own. She then rested her head on my belly and looked at me. I could tell she knew there were babies in there…we bonded. From that point forward our nightly ritual became snuggling in the chair. About 2 weeks later she gave me a kiss on the hand, and I cried.
In February 2010 I submitted my application for adoption. At 8 years old she was a senior dog, and she needed somewhere to hang her hat…I mean leash, forever. There had been no interest in her in the 6 months I had her, and I feared that no one wanted her because of her age. I also couldn’t bear the thought of her having to readjust to a new place. It took her that long to become trusting of me, I just wanted her to be happy for however long she was going to remain on this earth, she deserved it. After some conversation regarding my situation, the craziness that twins was going to bring, and my assurance that if for any reason I thought Annie wasn’t handling the kids properly I would contact them immediately, Robin, Joanne, and Bonnie agreed to let me adopt Annie!
To our surprise and pleasure, Annie took right to the babies. She would sleep in their room, she would come in and watch while we fed, and she would discipline the other two bichons when they became too rambunctious. Our trainer commented that Annie is a mommy, whether the baby has two feet or four it’s still a baby, she knows how to handle them.
The twins are now 19 months old and adore Annie. We still snuggle in the chair every night after the kids go to bed, and she has become more tolerant of my husband. I wouldn’t describe their relationship as loving, but I think she finally realizes he is not going to hurt her. On a rare occasion she will even give me a kiss, which still makes me cry. She is a healthy (18 pounds! So much better than the 11 pounds she came to us at) playful, loving family dog who is trying to forget her past.
Just look at the smile on her face in the photo of her and my daughter Madeline. She has finally found her purpose in this world…
Small Paws saves dogs! You can help–donate some bucks, save some Fluffs!
Thanks to Rachel for sharing Annie’s story!