Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl. And, in the six short months she lived, this little dog that was discarded from a puppy mill has left quite a legacy. While Lola’s start in life was as far from the center stage as you can get, she quickly became an inspiration to her followers. Now as part of Lola’s Legacy, her family is asking for your help as they celebrate what would be her first birthday with a pink letter campaign to end puppy mills.
If you check out the Luka and Lola Facebook page, you see an adorable little dog with an eye patch. Not just any eye patch, but a sparkly one befitting of Lola the Showgirl. Her impish look, and sense of style are also the hallmark of a pint-sized star. But, life wasn’t easy before the spotlight.
Less than perfect
She was born in a puppy mill and was missing an eye and had to have her tail amputated. What pet store would want a “less than perfect dog?” However, Lola was just perfect for the National Mill Dog Rescue and they came through in time and rescued Lola last November at the age of seven weeks. While in foster care battling pneumonia, Sandra Rouse, a volunteer photographer for NMDR fell in love with Lola and brought her home.
“We started her Facebook page as a way to educate people about puppy mills, being a photographer, I wanted to combine “Lola Lessons on Life” with fun photographs,” says Rouse. The page was to follow the antics and wisdom of Lola who was in line for a long, spoiled life. She got a sparkly eye patch and spent the day dishing out Lola’s words of wisdom.
As she started to come into her own, both Rouse and her other dog Luka became recipients of Lola’s “facebites.” The gentle nips were her way of showing love. “Love and Facebites” has become term of endearment for the Luka and Lola Facebook followers.
Lola’s Legacy begins
Then in March just four months after settling in, Lola started to have seizures. After MRI’s and other tests, her neurological symptoms were diagnosed as necrotizing mengioensephilitis, a genetic brain disorder. She had a very short time left. In her last week, she experienced the many things she never would have in a puppy mill – peanut butter, ice cream and green grass.
“On April 15th, after a night of seizures, Lola the showgirl, died in my arms,” says Rouse. “The support was amazing from all over the world. My other dog, Luka, started taking up the mantel, helping not only myself through the grief, but also the legion of fans Lola had all over the world. Luka has been called the doggy llama, as he tries to give advice that fits everyone’s lives.”
Although heartbroken, Rouse and Luka have channeled the power of Lola the showgirl to doing more than just educate the world about puppy mills. They started Lola’s Legacy. Fans donated funds for a rescue run through the puppy mill corridor in July.
“This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We visited the breeder that Lola came from,” says Rouse. “I offered her a photo of Lola, she declined. That rescue brought 86 dogs to freedom. And during intake, when they discarded their puppy mill number for a real name, all the dogs on that rescue were given a name that started with an ‘L’.”
Pink letter campaign
The National Mill Dog Rescue is committed to making Lola’s Legacy an annual event with the next rescue run slated for April 15. Now comes stage two of Lola’s Legacy. Rouse is asking all of Lola’s followers to join forces in a letter writing campaign set to go out on October 1 – what would have been Lola’s first birthday.
Fans are writing to their state and federal representatives – along with the President and first Lady – to let them know about the ravages of puppy mills. All the letters are to be sent on pink paper in pink envelops in honor of Lola – she was a showgirl after all. Check here to find your representatives and the sample letter is below (or go here for letter and Lola’s picture).
“All the letters will go out in a mass mailing across the globe. Lola’s Legacy continues,” adds Rouse. “I receive, almost weekly, a story from fans who, because of Lola’s story, have fostered, rescued or volunteered at their local shelter.”
All though her career as a showgirl was very short, Lola’s Legacy will be lasting many lifetimes for each of the dogs rescued during her campaigns. That’s a lot of Love and Facebites.
Follow Lola’s Legacy and sage advice of Luka on Facebook.
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