Welcome to Little Guy’s Puppy Mill Rescue and Rehabilitation
Little Guy’s Puppy Mill Rescue and Rehabilitation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) primarily volunteer-based animal welfare organization dedicated to rescuing animals, primarily dogs under 15 lbs, that have been seized by law enforcement and other agents from puppy mills, backyard breeders, hoarding cases, and animal cruelty and neglect cases. Because the conditions from which animals are rescued are deplorable, the physical and emotional health of the animals may be severely compromised. Therefore, equal emphasis is placed on rehabilitation of the animals. Every member of the organization, including the adopter, is considered a rehabilitator in some fashion. We provide these animals with rehabilitative services until we can place them into their permanent homes and continue to partner with adopters for the life of the animal. We also serve as a resource to our community by providing information on the deleterious effects on breeding dogs in puppy mills and backyard breeding operations as well as those effects suffered under other forms of animal abuse and neglect. We also educate regarding the special concerns of pet ownership for these animals, including offering resources for positive behavior training, nutrition, and veterinary care. We believe that no animal should be mistreated and are working towards the day when no companion animal is used strictly for breeding purposes or is subject to cruelty or neglect.
Little Guy’s Legacy
In a span of four years, I lost two poodles to grave, slow illnesses: Cowboy first and then Anjolie. Both were those kinds of dogs who were so present and communicative that if you took them to a party, upon entering, you would have thought Beyonce was in the house. When Anjie died after Cowboy, I said that I would never live without a poodle. I had been introduced to a local puppy mill rescue, so I went to the “available dogs” page and saw “Ben.” He was a physical blend of Cowboy and Anjie. I went through the adoption and home check procedures and then met his foster mom. She brought Ben and another available dog, Jerry. Whereas Jerry was a super cute, bouncy, affable puppy, Ben was almost catatonic—he would not interact in any normal way a dog “should”—no eye contact, shrinking from touch, completely shut down. The foster told me that he had been to adoption fairs and had zero interest—no wonder. I knew Jerry would charm his way into a great family (and indeed he did the next day). Even though I couldn’t connect with Ben in that moment, I knew he was MY little guy; I knew we had a journey to travel together.
Mill dogs are like perpetual puppies. They haven’t known simple pleasures like grass under their feet. Stairs are such an obstacle. Forever, there might be that scary dog in the water dish, i.e., their own reflection; forever, the sound of footsteps on gravel might always provoke a reaction of terror; forever, holding anything in your hand when you go to pick them up could prove menacing to a mill dog. BUT the world of a mill dog is a world of discovery. Watching them grow attuned to kindness in touch, voice, and gesture is so rewarding on both ends, at least that was the experience with my mill dog.
My little guy didn’t let me pick him up for about a month until I figured out how to make him comfortable in doing so. He would run to a dog bed and stand still for me to pick him up, and the regimen continued for years. I would say, “Let’s go out,” and he would come running only to skid to a stop, turn around, and hightail it to a doggie bed where he would stand waiting for me to pick him up. It took SIX months for him to look me in the eye—one day, I was reading in the bed, and I felt eyes on me. I looked up, and at the foot of the bed, he was staring at me. My little guy is quiet, but after all these years, he knows how to tell me what he wants me to know. We’re pretty tied in to each other although he is still so shy around others.
I wish someone would come in at bedtime and take a picture of him and me, of me and the little dog who was almost catatonic when I welcomed him into my life. I make a nest for us with covers and he works himself in, positioning himself so that his little heart will beat against mine all night long, my arms around him, him snorting and snoring sometimes even louder than I do.
He is formally known as Little Guy. He and I have his special name uttered only between us, but he responds to Little Guy because I think he gets why I gave him that name. The mills are full. A few get evacuated by efforts of the mill rescues. In the mill, he was anonymous; he was a number. On the other side of the mill, he wasn’t one to adjust readily. His existence was a life of invisibility as is the life of the vast majority of mill dogs. He knows his name Little Guy is a tribute to that invisibility.
So I could have chosen a Justin Timberlake that day in Jerry, but I chose Ben: stoic, quiet, and scared. I embrace the Universe’s lesson that I was given to learn. I chose Little Guy. I don’t want “easy” where dogs are concerned. Their hearts are too pure and resilient. That is the lesson I want to learn. And that has made all the difference.
The twofold mission of Little Guy’s Puppy Mill Rescue and Rehabilitation:
a) To rescue animals, primarily dogs, that have been seized by law enforcement and other agents from puppy mills, backyard breeders, hoarding cases, and animal cruelty and neglect cases.
b) Because the conditions from which animals are rescued are reprehensible, the physical and emotional health of the animals may be severely compromised. Therefore, equal emphasis is placed on rehabilitation of the animals. They are not inventory to be moved as quickly as possible through the program. Our charge is to serve them. Every member of the organization, including the adopter, is considered a rehabilitator in some fashion. For some, Little Guy’s will be a final stopping place where they fully experience love, comfort, and beauty. For the majority, Little Guy’s shelter will redeem their lives from the fear of cruelty and deliver them into the joy of belonging. Likewise, those who invest this mission will experience the same as they interact with and learn from the animals in the circle of unconditional love.