Written by Becky Monroe
Meet Leinekugel (AKA Leine)
It seems so appropriate that the first mill survivor I introduce during September, the month of Puppy Mill Awareness, is Leine because his owner, Carol, was the very first puppy mill rescuer I ever met.
Carol went on to teach me so much about not just the cruel business of puppy mills and puppy mill auctions, but also the delicate way in which you earn a mill survivor’s trust and build their confidence to be a well-adjusted, happy dog.
Almost 14 years ago, at a puppy mill auction, Carol and her group bought 12-15 dogs and one of them was Leine for $45. She offered to foster any of them but Leine because he was a Miniature Pinscher and “she wasn’t a fan of that breed.”
Leine spent two weeks in the shelter as she hoped he would find his own foster home. As it turned out, Leine was in the absolute worst emotional state and as fate would have it, Leine would find his way to Carol’s home (and never leave).
At just over a year of age, Leine’s underside was heavily scarred and emotionally he carried scars that included tremendous fear, anxiety and obsessive pacing. As a dog trainer, Carol had had so much experience working with all kinds of dogs, but Leine was a true challenge. He was one of THE most fearful dogs she ever worked with. He would lose his bowel and bladder around people for months. She often questioned his actual quality of life and wondered if she had done the right thing saving him.
Patience, time, love and confidence building with NO pressure helped develop Leine into the most well-rounded dog. Carol emphasized that she worked at his speed and never put any expectations on Leine.
Eventually, Leine’s true colors started to show. He was really a silly and feisty dog with so much love to give. He made his way to becoming a certified therapy dog! Leine loves kids and other dogs and is constantly stealing hearts.
Carol explained that you can never underestimate the power of time to heal a dog who has suffered trauma. Using techniques that teach confidence building, counter conditioning and putting in the work can help a dog achieve real success.
Leine is now 15 years old and still doing well. He has worked with so many kids and along the way always educates on puppy mills. If Leine could tell us anything he would say, “Give us a chance. Put in the work. Trauma is real and we experienced it and have the symptoms and challenges from surviving it just like humans.”
Carol summed up her experience with Leine, “When we rescue mill dogs, they can learn there is more to life. They don’t have to live in fear forever or be haunted by or defined by their past. Please get help from a professional trainer, if you need it. Be patient and teach the dog life is great and they can move beyond their early trauma.”
Leine is still a warrior. Diagnosed with kidney failure two years ago, he is still running and going strong.
A true testament to the saying, ”We don’t always get the dogs we want, we get the dogs we need.” Leine has taught Carol so much about enjoying life to the fullest and never taking a single day for granted.
Tails and Truths would like to continue to showcase mill survivor transformations as a way to put faces to the thousands of dogs still prisoners in breeding facilities. If you would like to share your mill dog’s story, please email me at email@example.com
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