Tomorrow will mark 4 weeks that Miss Bessie joined our family.
And whilst her story breaks my heart - I know it is not uncommon.
Bessie was a puppy mill breeding dog.
Oklahoma is known for being a 'puppy mill state' as it is one of the 7 states in the US with the highest number of puppy mills.
Bessie was kept in a barrel, outside for the majority of her life.
When she was bred and ready to give birth, she was brought into the house. This was the only time in her life that she got to experience any kind of normality.
The paperwork that came with Bessie from the puppy mill states she is currently 5 years old. However, 2 different vets who have seen her have said she is probably closer to 8-10 years old.
Thats 8-10 years of living like this::
8-10 years of being repeatedly bred.
8-10 years of enduring the Oklahoma weather - ice storms, blizzards, severe thunderstorms and triple digit days - with minimal shelter.
My heart hurts to think of what she has endured.
Many of these puppy mill dogs are given the bare minimum to survive. And as a result of that and lack of vet care she is mostly blind now (probably due to untreated ulcers)
Over the last four weeks she has grown so much. Her confidence is increasing everyday. We are starting to see a little stubborn streak come out in her personality!
Her refusal to go for walks is amusing and for the most part I end up carrying her around the neighbourhood!
Her foster Mom, who had her for two months after she was rescued from the puppy mill worked hard to toilet train her (as she was just used to going wherever she was standing) and she regressed when we brought her home, understandably so.
Her foster Mom also mentioned to me that in the two months they had her, they had never heard her bark. Stories like that combined with the fact that she would quite often duck and look scared when we'd reach down to pet her - made me realise that we needed to earn our sweet girls trust. Slowly and surely.
In the past week, I feel like we have turned a corner. Bessie has started doing a little bark when she hears the doorbell! (such a sweet little noise!) and instead of following me around the garden with her tail down, she now runs and plays freely!
She is becoming more daring and has started to try and get into the cat food at any available opportunity! She is slowly putting on a little weight and filling out so you can't see her ribs as clearly.
She is on two different types of eye drops to try and help her vision.
She is doing better and better each day with toilet training and has even started waking me in the night if she needs to go out.
She is an absolute joy and we feel very blessed to have found her.
To offer her the comfort and security she deserves - in her retirement years.