Dog News

Puppy Mill Dog Snuggles for the First Time

by Melanie

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7.17.14 - Puppy Mill Dog's First Snuggle1

Like almost every puppy mill dog, Noisette was in poor health when she was rescued – both physically and emotionally.  She had never been in a house, and had never been socialized.  But within a week of her rescue, she was feeling brave enough to snuggle with her foster dad.

Earlier in July, over 100 dogs were saved from a Northern Virginia breeder.  Noisette was one of them.  She’s believed to be between one and three years old, and was dehydrated, anemic, malnourished, dirty, and flea-ridden.  And she had never gotten the chance to learn how to socialize with other dogs or people.

“Often survivors of puppy mills are scared, a little feral in the sense that they hadn’t been socialized,” said foster mom Anne Wuhrer, who helps run Dogs XL Rescue, the group that helped with the bust.

XL specializes in big dog rescues, but are willing to make exceptions, of course, especially for breeder rescues.  Noisette is an “honorary XL.”  Up until last week, she had “never been in a house, not housebroken.  But Noisette is silly and wants to be loved.  We are just working towards her trusting us and letting us touch her.”



Foster dad Chris lay still on the floor for about 20 minutes before she was brave enough to try snuggling.  And now she’s even sleeping in bed.

“She waits until we stop moving and then hops in and snuggles in my neck, snorting occasionally and snoring,” Wuhrer said.

She’s also learning how to just be a dog, fitting in well with the family’s three kids and two black and white pit bull mixes.

“Noisette matches.  She follows their lead on routine and she picks up on the fact that they are comfortable and trust us,” Wuhrer said.  “Often this is essential when rehabilitating a dog that has not had home socialization and [is] trying to figure things out.”

Noisette will likely be ready for a forever home within a couple weeks.  It is always difficult for a foster family to say goodbye, but they know they can’t keep them all.  And when one leaves, it opens up a space for another dog in need.

“Fosters are the transition home.  Yes, we cry.  Yes, we are sad,” Wuhrer explained.  “Do we know we did our job?  Yes!  Do we know that they’re leaving us for even better?  Yes!”