Meet Lucy! In this photo, she was named Phyllis (of all the names in the world!) by the Humane Society of Charlotte. I came in one September morning with my friend who is an amazing pet photographer. While she took photos of some of the adoptable dogs, I took a sneak peek at some of the 76 dogs that came from a puppy mill in South Carolina.
You see, Lucy didn’t have the best first four years of her life. She lived in a tiny chicken coop with no flooring, just wires. She was bred God only knows how many times, forced to live in her own filth, was not fed or given water on a daily basis, and had no human contact.
On September 11th, 2012 the Humane Society of the United States raided the puppy mill and rescued over 200 animals. Lucy was sent to Charlotte along with 75 dogs.
Back to the late September morning, I saw my “Phyllis”. She was very scared but when I came up to her den, she wagged her tail and accepted my hand to pet her. It was love at first sight. And she was covered in her own feces at that moment because that’s all she knew. I called my fiancé and he was not having it! I already had my 9 year old Silky Terrier, Dave, and he said one dog was enough. Did I listen?! Absolutely not!
I returned the next day and they brought her out so I could interact with her. She didn’t really care too much for me but I knew she would grow to love me. I brought her home that evening! Dave was not happy with having to share his mom’s affection and my fiancé wasn’t too thrilled that I went behind his back! Since she came from a puppy mill I knew that house training was going to be our first priority. We took walks every couple hours and she got treats every time she did her “business” outside. Next up was a trainer! Lucy needed to gain confidence and Dave needed to learn to be submissive. After 6 weeks of in-home-training, we had two dogs that had done a complete 180!!! Lucy and Dave get along so wonderfully now, she’s house trained, my fiancé loves her and cuddles with her all the time, and she’s finally learned to play!
It’s still a work in progress as Lucy gets a little skittish when being picked up. I personally think that when she was at the mill the owner would pick her up and force her to be bred so we still have to work on that. I can’t imagine life now without my two baby pups. It feels so great knowing that I helped in saving her life and gave her the good home that she deserves. So many dogs aren’t as lucky as Lucy so I just educate people on puppy mills and why it’s so important to rescue. If I can save one life, maybe I can help someone else save another and pay it forward. 🙂
Here is Lucy now!
By Casey Nelson April 2013
*Photo taken by Richard Israel of Richard Israel Photography
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