A Heart the Size of Texas

Posted by Pia

I recently reported on West Hollywood’s passage of a landmark ban on pet stores selling dogs and cats other than those from shelters. Texas-based Chardonnay and Sir Lancelot, now part of a loving home, are just two examples of dogs who have endured the cruelty this ordinance seeks to bring to an end.

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Like many well meaning people, Camillia (with her adopted

1 Like many well meaning people, Camillia (with her adopted "furry kids") once thought the only way to have a certain breed was to buy one. And she was entirely unaware of the abuses occurring in USDA-approved puppy mills nationwide.

Just two weeks ago, Camillia adopted a frightened and confused bichon frise who now answers to the name Ms. Chardonnay.

2 Just two weeks ago, Camillia adopted a frightened and confused bichon frise who now answers to the name Ms. Chardonnay.

Camillia is determined to make up for the 11 years that Chardonnay was kept outside in a tiny metal cage and bred continuously.

3 Camillia is determined to make up for the 11 years that Chardonnay was kept outside in a tiny metal cage and bred continuously.

When Chardonnay was unable to bear any more puppies to sell to pet stores, she was discarded. Thankfully, the Texas-based rescue group Wags to Whiskers saved her and posted her for adoption on Adopt-a-Pet.com

4 When Chardonnay was unable to bear any more puppies to sell to pet stores, she was discarded. Thankfully, the Texas-based rescue group Wags to Whiskers saved her and posted her for adoption on Adopt-a-Pet.com

Camillia knew she wanted to adopt a bichon frise that was not a puppy. She finds adult dogs easier, as they are often already house trained, no longer chew things...

5 Camillia knew she wanted to adopt a bichon frise that was not a puppy. She finds adult dogs easier, as they are often already house trained, no longer chew things...

...and, she believes, they are truly thankful for being rescued.

6 ...and, she believes, they are truly thankful for being rescued.

The rescue group took time to counsel Camillia on how best to introduce Chardonnay with her new brother, Sir Lancelot (left).

7 The rescue group took time to counsel Camillia on how best to introduce Chardonnay with her new brother, Sir Lancelot (left).

Camillia and her husband, Don, first fostered, then adopted Sir Lancelot (here as Tigger) three years ago after he, too, had been used for eight years and then abandoned to a shelter by a different puppy mill.

8 Camillia and her husband, Don, first fostered, then adopted Sir Lancelot (here as Tigger) three years ago after he, too, had been used for eight years and then abandoned to a shelter by a different puppy mill.

9 "I wish I could get people to understand how severe and widespread the problem is," Camillia, an administrative assistant at a university, says. "Did you know some puppy mills are profiting off as many as 300 neglected breeding dogs at a time?"

10 "Our dogs are our furry children, and we're their furry mom and dad!" she says. "They are the best of friends and we feel blessed to have them."

Camillia takes great care to meet her furry kids' needs.

11 Camillia takes great care to meet her furry kids' needs. "I feel it is my calling in life to take in dogs who have not had a good life and give them what they all so deserve," she told me.

12 "My dogs get to be snug by the fire, but the majority do not," she adds. "Only one in 10 are adopted at my local shelter. So nine are not. I don't think we should be producing any more. It breaks my heart."

Chardonnay and Sir Lancelot were adopted by Camillia and Don, a couple in Texas. Camillia shared her experience adopting these lovely pups, who each endured years of abuse at the hands of unscrupulous breeders.

It was such a pleasure speaking with Camillia -- it is heartening to meet a person who takes their commitment to companion animals so seriously. Camillia not only sought to educate herself on how best to introduce and care for her dogs, but she also allowed her eyes and heart to be opened to the bigger picture.

When I asked her what she’d like others to understand, she told me, “I’d like people to learn what I once did not know and have now seen first-hand. You can find any dog in adoption -- from 3 months, to 3 years to 13. I want to see them all get homes. And people need to be committed to them like they are to a child. They deserve that.”

In fact, Camillia revealed somewhat sheepishly that she would like to set up "nanny-cam" at home to check in on her furry kids during the day. If only every animal in need of a home had such a loving, committed and doting mom!

A big thanks and Texas-sized "woof," to Camillia and her husband, Don -- and to the shelters and rescue groups who are out there 24/7 helping animals like Chardonney and Sir Lancelot find loving homes.

In kinship,

Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (10)

  • Hi Dr. Pia, If only we were able to put a complete stop to these remaining puppy mills and could get owners to neuter/spay their dogs, the lives of all dogs would be fabulous and hopefully all dogs would be happy and healthy. Also, if people would treat their dogs with kindness, love and understanding, our world would be such a wonderful place for all of us, animals and humans. Camillia's story was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Thank you to both of you. Jan

  • Dr. Pia
    These stories are sad. I know most you post have a happy ending but it breaks my heart reading about these abused animals.

    I'm so happy that I have a good home and humans who just love all of us so much. Maybe I'll behave today just to show my mom and dad how much I love them.

    It's snowing again and we're expecting blizzard conditions today. Can someone tell me when Spring is going to be here??? I hate the snow and it's never going away :(

    Zoe

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    I love this kind of weather we’re having now. The sun is shinning and it’s in the low 30’s. That means that I can nap in the sun and not get too hot. The other day when Franny was looking at the book on the Chow Chow’s, there was a picture of some Chows standing on a porch. Now if you look closely at the one, to the right of the post, you’ll see that it looks like it could be my double. He has tan where I have a little black. When I saw that photo, I thought that I didn’t remember posing for it. I love having my picture taken almost as well as you two do. I’ll bet GK will be the same way.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Yes, a big Heartfelt Thank You to Camillia and her husband Don for saving Chardonney and Sir Lancelot.

    I agree, I don't think we should be producing any more puppy-mill or excessive breeding of animals...Why oh Why is this not regulated????

  • I am so glad you posted this. My two girl pugs are puppy mill rescues (our male pug is a surrender to the rescue.) They were so abused and neglected... at first they didn't know what toys were!! Their bodies are so used and were so skinny. Both girls have had to be treated for mast cell (cancerous) tumors after we adopted them. One is so frightened of being confined that she will scratch until she bleeds. They often live in cages with cage bottoms- as in, partially open and painful to walk on. They'll often have to eat their own feces to survive (and one of mine still does, a common puppy mill dog problem.) I hate what they've been through but I am glad to give them overflowing love now, like Camilla does with her beautiful bichons.

  • Hello Ladies & Dr. Pia,
    Mom and I get sooooo sad when read about the terrible things done to our friends. We love the happy endings though. My cousin, Mojo is a boxer who they got from a rescue when he was abandoned in a home when people left. They left him like old newspapers. He was starving and only 40 pounds. He is now a happy member of the family and close to 70 pounds. It is nice to know there are still many, many, kind souls to help our friends. Thanks to all of you.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • I have a black poodle,Sadie, that I have had for 9 years and last fall became very listless, thin,and just didn't feel good. I took her to a vet, he said"probable coming down with a cold". Next day was Sunday,she was worse,I finally found a vet available. She was there for 3 days until she collapsed and they sent me to an animal hospital in another town. That vet kept her over night, said she had probably gotten into my diabetic meds. That night she collapsed in floor, I rushed her to another town to another vet! As soon as this vet listened to her heart she knew the problem! She has ADDISON's disease!! This usually is found in younger dogs and is also a human disorder. Please, if you arent sure or comfortable with your pets diagnosis keep searching for someone who will take the time to check everything. My Sadie is doing fine after $1500.00 of vet bills but I would do it again in a second. She is on Prednizone each day plus a shot each month for rest of her life.

  • My frenchie, Apple, was rescued from a horrible puppy mill in Missouri when she was 2. She lived her whole life in a cage having puppies...when we first adopted Apple she was timid, scared of people and so depressed. A year and a half later and she is still opening up slowly. Just like this woman in the article, I didn't know about puppy mills until Apple. It's great that people like this are opening people's eyes to the cruelty these poor animals are subjected to. Thank you for this article!

  • That's a wonderful story.

  • What makes me sad is when we had pigs on our farm, Despite being considered livestock which is what puppy mill operaters consider dogs to be, we treated our pigs a heck of a lot better then how those dogs are treated in puppy mills. I think our current govermont and President Barack O'Bama should make a law not allowing puppy mills to exist or a law that says that the animals have to be in much better conditions then what they have now.
    Our neighbors who own cows treat there cows better then what the dogs are treated like.
    Thank-you for the story. It is lovely.

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