Puppy Mill Mama Who Spent Her Whole Life in a Basement Cage Can’t Stop Smiling at the World

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.


BB spent her life as a breeding machine locked in a filthy cage in a basement in North Carolina.  She had no idea what sun, grass, or fresh air felt like.  But since being rescued along with 150 other animals, she’s finally getting to experience all life has to offer – and she loves every minute of it.

When a team of rescuers from the Humane Society of the United States raided a puppy mill near Charlotte last September, they found over 150 animals – dogs, cats, and goats – being kept in deplorable conditions.  BB had clearly been bred numerous times, and it was suspected that she had spent her life caged in the cellar.



“She was very tiny, and she looked like this helpless creature,” Jessica Lauginiger, animal crimes manager at HSUS, told The Dodo. “I put my hand up to the cage, and she’d come up and sniff a little bit. She was very hesitant for human attention, but she wanted it.”

BB probably had had very little human interaction, positive or otherwise. Once Jessica earned the small, scared lady’s trust, she took her out of the cage and gave her a much-needed embrace.



“I remember how tiny and frail she was in my hands.  I pulled her close to my body, and she leaned into me.”

The puppy mill was shut down and many of the animals were sent to Cabarrus Animal Hospital to be treated for various infections and sores.

“BB was in a corner.  She looked pitiful. She was scared to death,” said Brenda Tortoreo, former receptionist for the clinic. “She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t drink and I felt so bad for her. And I said, ‘That’s the one I’m going to take home.’”



When BB was well enough to leave the clinic, Brenda took her home to meet her two other dogs.  The lil lambie had never experienced life outside of a cage, and didn’t know how to respond accordingly to her new surroundings.

“I put BB down on the floor, and she kept going in circles – not running, but walking. “I guess that’s all she knew to do. I put her in the living room, and to go into the hallway, she would not cross that border,” Brenda explained.

“I have two granddaughters who live with me, so I would put her in one of my granddaughters’ rooms, and she was terrified of rugs. She just wanted off the rug.”



It was even more peculiar being outside.  BB had no idea what to make of the strange sensation under her feet.

“She never knew what sun was,” Brenda said. “She didn’t know what grass was, and she was terrified of it.”

But BB had been a mother stripped of her babies many times, so Brenda figured out the one thing that could make her feel safe and comfortable – stuffies!



“She’s got three big baskets of stuffed animals.  She takes certain stuffed animals, and she’d bring them to bed, and she would line them up like she was nursing them, and she’d lick them, lick them and lick them. It was just so heartbreaking.”

It was really only difficult at the beginning, and BB soon learned how wonderful life is now that she’s being treated as a pet instead of a cash cow.



“She runs around the house,” Brenda said. “She’s eating like crazy – she was originally about three-and-a-half pounds, but I think she’s maybe about ten pounds now. She loves the grass now, and she loves playing with the other dogs in the backyard.”

But what has made the biggest difference in BB’s life is the love she receives from her mom.

“About three weeks ago she started licking me – she’d never done that before.  She’s really come out of her shell. She’s my little princess.”


4 thoughts on “Puppy Mill Mama Who Spent Her Whole Life in a Basement Cage Can’t Stop Smiling at the World”

  1. God bless you so huge for helping these animals. This is completely heartbreaking. So glad she’s in a loving home!!

  2. What a beautiful story. I hope that these animals have a happy life and God Bless the wonderful people who save these doggies.


Leave a Comment