My vet passed along a very well written explanation of points to consider when one is thinking of adopting a dog that was rescued from a puppy mill. I fostered, then adopted, my Izzy through my vet, Serenity Animal Hospital in Sterling Heights, Michigan after Serenity joined in the rescue efforts during a police raid on a local puppy mill in 2008.
Izzy had some of the tendencies/traits described in this essay. Through patience and by constantly working with her, Izzy started to feel more comfortable–but this took years of effort. In the last year and a half of her life, Izzy started greeting some visitors at the front door (before running away and hiding) instead of doing what she did the first few years she lived with me–which was to run and hide immediately–not greet first. Another point of interest was my Izzy never licked anyone, not even me. She loved to sniff a person’s hand when she felt comfortable enough to approach, but she never licked. Despite all her fears, Izzy showed me in many subtle ways how happy she was to be a part of my family. I wouldn’t trade one second of the time I had with her. My suggestions for anyone interested in adopting or fostering a rescued puppy mill dog: Be kind. Be patient. Speak softly. Be loving. Repeat short commands. Reward. Don’t threaten. Don’t yell. Then do it all over again. It is patient repetition with reward for accomplishments that will get you somewhere eventually.
This informational guide is worth the read, especially if one is considering adopting a dog rescued from a puppy mill: