A poodle who was kept in a small, rusty cage all of her life has been rescued. Now, she’s living life to the fullest and basking in the affection her new family gives her every day.
B.B. had never been exposed to the outside world. Instead, she saw life only from her filthy, wire-bottomed cage in the unventilated basement of a North Carolina home, where a suspected puppy mill business was being run.
Officials raided the puppy mill last fall, rescuing 130-plus animals in all.
“Many animals had untreated medical issues, were pregnant and in need of urgent veterinary care,” the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) noted in a press release following the puppy mill raid, adding that “North Carolina is one of a handful of states that has failed to enact any regulations for commercial dog breeders.”
B.B., whose swollen mammaries told the story of having nursed many litters of puppies over and over again, caught her rescuers’ attention right away.
“She was very tiny, and she looked like this helpless creature,” recalls Jessica Lauginiger of the HSUS. “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. I remember how tiny and frail she was in my hands. I pulled her close to my body, and she leaned into me.”
A New Home
Brenda Tortoreo, a former receptionist at Cabarrus Animal Hospital in Kanapolis, North Carolina, which was providing care to many of these puppy mill survivors, decided to bring B.B. into her home.
“She was scared to death,” Tortoreo tells The Dodo. “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.’”
Things were tough in the beginning, but over time (with the love of the Tortoreo clan) the withdrawn dog has slowly slipped into a comfortable life.
“I put B.B. down on the floor, and she kept going in circles — not running, but walking,” Tortoreo says. “I guess that’s all she knew to do; she never knew what sun was. She didn’t know what grass was, and she was terrified of it.”
“She’s Really Come Out of Her Shell”
B.B. has gained weight and adjusted to her new surroundings quite well.
“She runs around the house. She’s eating like crazy — she was originally about 3 and a half pounds, but I think she’s maybe about 10 pounds now. She loves the grass now, and she loves playing with the other dogs in the backyard,” Tortoreo says.
Recently, Tortoreo says proudly, “she started licking me — she’d never done that before. She’s really come out of her shell. She’s my little princess.”