Meet the Survivors: Stella Marie

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Written by Becky Monroe

Meet: Stella Marie Rose This week we get to meet an adorable Frenchie named Stella. Her family chose to foster to adopt through an organization called HavaHeart Rescue located in Missouri.

Stella was originally found as a stray dog, but based on her condition she was believed to be a breeding dog who was dumped after she was no longer useful. She was thought to be about 5 – which also tends to be an average age for breeding dogs to be disregarded.

Stella faced numerous medical conditions when she was rescued. She had many skin infections that had gone a long time without any treatment and caused fur loss. She was very malnourished. Her stomach was a mess after numerous C-sections. (Only about 80% of French Bulldogs can successfully give birth naturally. Most undergo C-sections and sadly, in mass breeding facilities C-sections are often done carelessly and with minimal anesthesia or in non-sterile environments)

Luckily, her new foster family was willing to put in whatever it took to make her well again and everything she suffered from was curable with the right treatment. Stella also had some allergy challenges, but they were quickly figured out and she became a healthy, vibrant Frenchie again. Like most mill survivors, Stella had behavior issues. While she didn’t know how to do most doggie things, her biggest issue was resource guarding. Whether it be her people, her toys or her food, Stella needed to understand that none of these things were going to be taken from her again. Her mom explained that the saddest part was seeing Stella not play with her toys but treat them like her puppies – the one and only behavior she had been forced to learn time and time again in the mill.

Stella’s behavior issues faded as her family provided her with all the love, patience and kindness they could give. Today, Stella is “the sweetest dog you could ever meet,” says her family and, ”everyone who meets her loves her.”

Stella’s foster family who became her adoptive family had never adopted a mill survivor before. They had only rescued puppies in the past.

Almost immediately, Stella taught them the beauty and reward of adopting an older dog – something they just had never considered before. She showed them that older dogs have just as much love to give and are so deserving of second chances and adoption.

Of course, Stella, like all mill survivors, taught them about the puppy mill industry, too. Their eyes were opened to the realities behind the pet store window and soon they were doing all they could to educate others. Today, they help others learn of the importance of adoption and of researching good breeders, if necessary.

Once Stella became a part of their lives they felt a true calling to make a difference to end puppy mills.

If Stella could tell humans something she would say, “Let’s work together to end puppy mills, so that other dogs do not have to go through what I went through.”

Stella, through her amazing transformation, taught her family what love and patience and time can do for a dog in need. Stella was also fortunate to have a big fur sister, named Serenity. Serenity is a lab mix rescued from a shelter. She taught Stella all the fun dogs things she should know and was amazingly tolerant of Stella’s initial resource guarding issues. Mill survivors often blossom better when able to live with another dog who can teach them dog things.

Stella is now 6 years old and takes her job as a puppy mill educator very seriously. Anytime Stella meets new people, her and her family share what they know about her past and what people can do to help. Stella also has her own instagram account @StellaMyRescueFrenchie where she loves to share her adorable selfies but also educates about puppy mills.

When Stella isn’t busy educating others on puppy mills, she enjoys taking long naps, making pig noises, cuddling and slopping up juicy watermelon treats – all as she should.

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


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