How old are you?

Sassy 1.5 years
Manny 2 years
Josie between 7 -12 years, vet is unsure

Where did your names come from?

Sassy came about because I was a lil spitfire and mom was going to call me Amelia after Amelia Bedelia books but Sassy just stuck. And yup, I live up to my name! Manny came to us as Little Man and mom started calling him Manny or Manny Bananas. Josie was a little bit harder to name, she was just a number at the puppy mill so we had to make sure she had a beautiful and proper name. Josie certainly is a good name for her and her boyfriends on FB call her Sweet Josie.

Manny, I read you came from a puppy mill, do you remember any of that?

I was only 8 months old when I was mauled and attacked by other dogs at the mill. We lived in very cramped quarters. I remember being scared and hoping I wouldn’t die. I knew in my heart I had a purpose in life so I hung tough, even though my whole side was chewed on and most of the skin gone. My wound was approx. 6 inches in diameter and by the time I got to the vet the skin around the wound was turning black and infected.

How did you get rescued from that horrible situation?

I was in a small crate with 4 other dogs. They attacked me and wouldn’t leave me alone. They mauled my whole side of my body. The breeder left me with my open wounds for 2.5 days. I think she was hoping I would die, but I knew someone wonderful would come for me , so I fought to stay alive. The breeder must have felt somewhat guilty after those 2.5 days and called a rescue liason to come get me. The breeder wouldn’t take me to her own vet cuz she knew she would be in trouble for leaving me that way. The rescue liason was horrified at my condition and got me to her vet right away, she was my angel (click here to see the pictures, warning they are very graphic) . I stayed with her for about a month so she could help my healing process. Then mommy caught word of me through her rescue. The mommy and Grammy drove 2 hours one way to pick me up! I was Mommies first foster ever and it was to be temporarily. B UT I snuck into her heart and now I am a furver foster! Sadly the breeder also had a yorkie who died the same way in her care that week and was only given a $650 fine for failure to get vet care for us . Just a slap on the wrist for her especially since I almost died! Our long haired Chihuahua, Josie , is also from a puppy mill . She has a tattoo on her ear of 36, which was her number. She was to be killed that weekend by her breeder. The rescue liaison contacted mom and they went on a mission to save Josie and another lil dog named Bella. Josie’s jaw had broke throughout her life because it literally disintegrated. She had never had dental work done. She is 4.5 pounds and had 4-5 old placentas left in her body from having so many puppies. The vet said she would have died if she had been bred one more time. Her teeth were rotten and Dr didn’t want to do further damage to her tiny jaw. The vet determined her age to be between 7-12 years old. She is also going blind but we have a blind dog, so we will make it work.

What advice would you have for those thinking about buying a puppy from a breeder?

This is a tough question. There are responsible breeders who do the right thing. But sadly, there are backyard, quick buck breeders . Stories like Manny & Josie’s are far to common. We feel it is important to share our stories . PUPPIES from the breeders are for the most part healthy . Since they are for sale, they are often socialized, vaccinated, etc to SELL. BUT when the puppy won’t make them any money any longer, they become disposable to the breeders. After Manny was mauled, he was no good to the breeder and certainly wouldn’t make her any money. It is the the mom and dad doggies at the mills that are forgotten. They are used for the sole purpose of breeding. They rarely have dental checkups or are vetted, poorly socialized and rarely know what love is when they are in the mills. Please don’t support the puppy mill breeders! ADOPT DON’T SHOP! For those puppy mill dogs that do make it out after years of breeding, please give them a chance! Consider adopting a rescue dog! They make life so rewarding and should be given a chance to be loved! We make the best companions and need angels! So many dogs never make it out of the mill . Once the puppy mill breeder is done with them, the animals are usually killed and it is not humanely done. Remember they are trying to make money and keep costs low. It is sad but true.

Sassy, I read you came from a hoarder, do you remember how many other animals you were living with?

I was just about 7-9 weeks old. I remember there was alot of other dogs and we lived on a very busy street in downtown Green Bay. That is all I remember. Luckily though, I was healthy and well socialized. Thank goodness for that!

How did you get to be rescued from that situation?

Mommy has lived in our area for about 13 years and has driven past the house where I was at a million times. My brother Oliver was dying of cancer and mom wasn’t expecting to get a dog. She was on her way to grammy so they could check out the rescue my mom now volunteers for. Mommy SHOULD have driven the other way, but for some reason mommy turned left and came towards the house that I was in. It was 7:30 in the morning in Feb 2012 in frigid Green Bay. Mommy saw a lady outside going for a walk with about 7 adult chihuahua’s and a few puppies. Mom stopped and asked her if she had puppies for sale…(mom to this day does not what compelled her to stop, but she is glad she did)…the lady didn’t speak english so her granddaughter came out to translate. Mom asked if she could buy one of us and chose me. The granddaughter then asked mom to come back later in the afternoon to pick me up. Mom figured she would get to find out all my details at that time. But when the mommy got back to pick me up the lady wasn’t home. A young man appeared in the window and said “what do you want???” Mom told him she was there to pick me up. He then came outside and exchanged the $50 cash for me. Mom said she felt like she was doing a “dog” deal. The young man didn’t know anything about me. Mom left with me and when we pulled into our driveway, I gave mommy a big ole wet puppy kiss. I liked to lay by my brother Ollie and mom thought we looked an awful lot a like. Oliver was a rat terrier and he passed away a week later. On Ollie’s birthday mom found out I was Chihuahua & Rat terrier mix. Ollie was a rat terrier so it made the story that much sweeter!

Manny, what is your favorite trick to perform?

I love giving my mom high five! I also give her all my money when we play “stick up ” and if mom asks me for money to go shopping I slap my paw on her hand as if I am giving her money!

What was the hardest one to learn?

Probably the stick up one. Mommy makes a gun with her finger s and says “give me all your money” . Sometimes I look at her like she is nuts…bol.

Do you want to share any tricks you are working on?

Mom is trying to get me used to our new makeshift dog pool, so that will be a trick in itself if I go in it!

Sassy, how did your mom find out you liked to dress up?

Mom bought me a few dog sweaters and then my wardrobe started to grow. She got me a zebra print dress when I was a puppers and it was too big. Now I fit in it! We also have Josie girl in our life and she likes to be dressed up . Sometimes we do a doggy fashion show. When we go to events for the rescue mom volunteers for, we get lot s of attention. Who doesn’t like being told they are cute…bo0l

What has been your favorite outfit so far?

I love my red dress, it has ruffles. I also love my Liz Claiborne sweater with the snowman on it and I just got a Green Bay Packers Jersey! One of my besties online is sending me a swimsuit so I can’t wait for that. Josie girl loves her mermaid outfit and loves being in any kind of dress. We swear she poses for the camera!

Do you two live with any other pets? Are they also survivors?

There is Josie Girl and Brat the Cat . She came to mom from the vet we go to. She was from upper Michigan and w as a kitten who was set to be euthanized . A rescue group in Michigan brought the kittens to our area and had them for adoption at our vet. We also live with Bug, our blind Chihuahua who mom adopted from the Fox Valley Humane Association about 13 years ago and Tori, our grumpy 14 year old yorkie. He was from Michigan and mom got him as a puppy.

This question is for your mom – how did you get involved with rescuing animals?

It was something I always wanted to do. Growing up I would try to help save stray kitties etc. About a month before I started volunteering for Green Bay Animal Rescue a coworker found a stray cat and asked me to take her. After several days of looking for the cats owners, it paid off. The cat was micro chipped but the chip info was not up to date. A friend of the cat’s owner had called the local humane society who then contacted me. That was the best feeling being able to reunite the cat with her owner! After my rat terrier died, I decided to start fostering and volunteering. It is so good for the soul! The special bond between Manny and I is amazing and having to change his wounds twice a day for several months made me realize how precious life is! I never questioned taking him in and fostering him. I didn’t know I had the strength to do the wound changes but when it came to it, I just did it. People often say to me that I am an Angel or bless me for having such a good heart. I don’t think of myself as a hero, just someone who loves pets and tries to help those in need.
What would you say to those who are concerned about adopting dogs from hoarder/puppy mills situations? DO IT! These animals want to be loved. It will take patience and kindness . Pllease understand many of these dogs have never been exposed to things we see in our daily lives. Things like grass, leaves or snow are new to them . A TV playing or vacuum is new. Often having fresh food/water and a warm place to sleep is new. Usually they have been so beaten down mentally that they have no aggression issues and most do not have teeth or the ones they do have are pulled when they are vetted. These animals didn’t ask for this and just need good homes. It is r ewarding to see an animal come out of their shell and know you played a special yet meaningful role in giving them a taste of a good , loving life.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for having your site as a platform to give those animals a voice and share our stories. If we can make a difference in one person’s life it is it worth it. Though we have horrible stories to tell, we feel it is something we need to do. We enjoy meeting new people and sharing our stories! We want people to realize what happens in puppy mills and to understand how loving and forgiving these animals can be.

May I use pictures of Manny & Sassy for the article? I will state the pictures were used with permission. Absolutely, I give you my permission. Sassy is the black one, Manny is black and white and Josie is the golden longhaired chi.

Many many thanks to Manny & Sassy’s mom for answering the questions. It is such an privilege to get stories of not one but two dogs from a  puppy mill & hoarder. Pictures were used with permission and belong solely to Sassy & Manny 

To skip to other “Opt to Adopt” Articles link the below link.  The image was made by the wonderfully talented Miss Ann of Pawsitively Pets.