Meet the Survivors: Willow

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Written by Becky Monroe

Sweet Willow’s story starts young… she was only 6 months old when the puppy miller decided to breed her. In a twisted fate of luck and misfortune, Willow suffered a vaginal prolapse during breeding and the puppy miller brought her to the vet where they explained she needed to be spayed. He decided euthanasia would be better, but fortunately Mixed Breed Rescue in Grafton, Ohio quickly offered to come get her and make sure she received the medical attention she desperately needed.

On behalf of the rescue, Sara came right away only to find a tremendously scared, skittish and sad Standard Poodle who needed emergency surgery right after they picked her up.

The day after the surgery, Sara and her family decided they would be Willow’s foster and see her through the next few weeks.

She spent the first of them completely terrified of humans. However, Willow found safety and companionship with their 1 year old Labrador, Sully. They bonded immediately and with Sully’s help, Willow quickly learned that humans were not all bad. 

Two months passed as they watch Willow transform into a happier and healthy dog. It was time for her to find a family of her own.

They sifted through applications and even did one “Meet and Greet” that did not go well for Willow. They soon came to the realization that Willow was already home – with them. They officially adopted her and couldn’t picture their lives without her in it.

Sully and Willow now both offer companionship to other fostered mill survivors who come into their home. They teach them what they need to succeed in their new lives.

Sara says they hope to foster more mill survivors until one day there are no more puppy mills. Something Willow hopes for, too.

Willow is about 2 1/2 years old now and has come so far from the petrified puppy she once was. Sara explained that Willow’s humans use their voice often to speak up about puppy mills and make sure people know the truth by sharing Willow’s story.

Willow enjoys going everywhere and anywhere these days – nothing holds her back. She recently participated in Bailing Out Benji’s first “Miles for Mill Dogs 5k” with her human mom.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the dog she has blossomed into,” Sara said. 

A note from Becky:

As the author of the column, I can’t help but add I find this beautiful story filled with such poetic irony… imagining Willow being bred with a Labrador to make infamous doodles – only to later find the biggest comfort in her life, Sully, a yellow lab. I am so grateful you were rescued, Willow and got the family and love you have always deserved.

Please, as you read these stories and wish for puppy mills to close, consider making a donation to Bailing Out Benji, so we can continue to educate consumers and lawmakers on these truths and create the change needed to put an end to these inhumane operations.

This is the week of Giving Tuesday and every dollar donated will make a big difference for those who have no voice.