Written by Becky Monroe
Meet Casey “Casey Girl”
Many times when people think of puppy mills they immediately think of small breeds like Shih Tzu, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. We often see pictures of puppy mill cages that are small and would seem unlikely to house larger breeds.
The sad reality is that any large breed dogs in high demand will also be found in puppy mills.
This week’s survivor is a sweet Golden Retriever named Casey or lovingly called “Casey Girl” by her family. She was rescued at 4 1/2 years old by a Golden Retriever rescue called Golden Retrievers in Need, GRIN.
Casey was adopted by a family who never experienced a mill survivor. They had gotten their other dog as a puppy and Casey taught them so much about everything.
Big or not, mill survivors all share the common fears of people and doorways. Casey was no different. It took eight months before her family no longer needed to carry her through the doorway to outside. Casey also found safety in corners, where she would often hide in hopes that no one would see her.
It has taken time, but luckily Casey’s curious nature helped to push her beyond her fears. Today, she likes to be involved and with her people and is everyone’s shadow. A completely different dog than who they adopted.
Her family has come to so many realizations after having Casey in their lives. Knowing Casey’s background and seeing her make bits of progress along the way, they appreciate the little things like Casey playing with a toy or how happy she is when they come home.
They believe Casey is so thankful to have been rescued and to get this second chance at life. They feel like they have all been given a second chance with Casey in their lives.
Casey’s mom, Denisa, told me, “After being mistreated by humans and losing trust in them, perhaps even feeling pain at the hands of humans, she came into our home ready to start over, to love and to trust again and to live the life she has always deserved.”
Casey’s family said that adopting her really opened their eyes to not feeling like you need a puppy to find joy in owning a dog – or training a perfect one. Older dogs, even ones with a tragic history, can become everything you ever wanted if you can give them a chance.
“Casey is so calm and easy going and listens so much better than her brother whom we have had since he was a puppy. It is completely mind-blowing to me that coming from living in a puppy mill with no training, she knows so much. I think she is just so thankful to be here and leave her old life behind, ” Denisa explained.
Like most mill survivors, Casey opened her family’s eyes to the truth about puppy mills. They have been inspired to educate others on the breeding dogs stuck in the mills and the horrible lives they live.
Denisa said that they are often stopped and asked about Casey because she is so much smaller than a “normal” Golden Retriever. Denisa describes to them how Casey was forced to live the first 4 years of her life in a cage too small for her breed which caused her legs to be deformed and made her small.
These details help people to understand the true horrors of mass breeding and the types of conditions these dogs are forced to live in for years, sometime forever.
Denisa has been able to use Casey as a way to open up dialogue about the Amish puppy mills in Ohio and to shed light on the importance of rescuing a dog and not buying one from a pet store. She said she loves to see people’s reaction when she tells them, “We rescued a Golden Retriever. Yes, you can rescue a purebred dog. There are rescues for every breed.”
If Casey could tell us anything, what would she say?
“Casey would tell people to give second chances. She would teach them about forgiveness and compassion.”
Casey has the hugest heart and is the sweetest dog. Her motherly instinct is still so strong that whenever her brother whimpers, she is right there checking on him. And, whenever anyone is having bad day, she is right there giving them love.
Her family is over the moon to have her. They make sure to celebrate all of her successes and feel so lucky share their lives with her and to be able to offer her a kind of happiness and love she never experienced before.
Congrats to Casey on getting her second chance and for teaching all of us the importance of giving them to others – especially dogs with unfair histories.
**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story, I would love to publish in on Tails and Truths! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
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