A once terrified puppy mill dog that graduated to therapy dog after she was rescued is now inspiring others even after she’s passed to the rainbow bridge. The woman that adopted her is now hoping to educate the world about puppy mills, pet stores and adopting older pets and finding homes for harder to adopt pets by telling her story in Peachy The Warrior Princess.
After being a mill momma for five years, Peachy was released to a rescue organization in the Chicago area. Unfortunately, it took her over two years to find a home because she was so terrified of people and labeled unadoptable by many. She often sabotaged her own chances at adoption by curling herself up in a ball and shaking in the arms of her rescuer.
A special match
“I saw her online and just fell in love with her expressive eyes. I just had to give her a home,” says Gabriela Duran. “At the time she and her family lived far away in Ontario. “I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. After doing a phone interview, we packed everyone in the car including the dogs and drove 9.5 hours only to meet her.”
Duran wasn’t even sure the adoption would go through. The rescue group rarely adopted out to people outside of Chicago. And, there was that whole thing about Peachy sabotaging adoptions in the past. She would go from a terrified little ball to a lightning bolt that would run and hide when she met new people. The same thing happened when Duran went to meet her.
“But, I went after her and took her out of underneath the deck and held her tight to my body,” said Duran. “I could not talk much because I just was overwhelmed with emotion, as I could not believe someone was able to abuse her to the point she was abused, but silently I promised her she was going to be ok as I hold her. We took her for a sleep over and the next day she was happy and walking on a leash for the first time in years.”
That convinced the rescue organization that the family and Peachy were a great fit. For the next year, Duran worked with Peachy, helping her build trust. That was what convicted Aly we may be the right fit for Peachy. The other family dog named Fergie was a therapy dog. Eventually, Peachy progressed to the point that she was able to test to become a therapy dog as well.
A job for Peachy
“I took her to the next therapy dog testing not knowing what to expect and if she was going to be able to complete the test because some of the exercises involved very loud noises,” says Duran. “Peachy handle it like a pro and started visiting people at the retirement home right after she passed her test. She was a hit as a therapy dog, the the older people would look for her and have treats for her. She loved getting treats because as many puppy mill dogs she was very much into food, kind of to make out for the years she had little food at the mill.”
Peachy had turned a very important corner. She started visiting a retirement home once a week and a nursing home once a month. She participated in the walk-a-thon and other events supporting animal rescue in her community. It was there that Duran saw the true power of telling Peachy’s story.
“She often attracted the attention of people and the media at public events,” added Duran. “They always had questions on why her legs were crooked and her tongue was hanging out. That became her opportunity to raise awareness by saying she lived in a puppy mill for 5 years and her legs where the result of standing in wire for a long time. There were always questions on how did she ate and behaved.”
As she told Peachy’s story, Duran was surprised how many dog lovers not only had never heard of puppy mills, they had no idea what they were. When they heard about the conditions of mills and how it added to her deformities, some felt sorry, some cried and others thought Duran was crazy for taking on Peachy. She found many people amazed at Peachy’s story and her family for giving this dog a second chance.
Durand decided to write a book about Peachy and her family’s experience with her. Along with being a puppy mill dog, she was a senior when adopted and was truly a special needs dog. These are dogs often overlooked by people adding a pet to the family who are looking for a “perfect dog.” The story Peachy The Warrior Princess was born.
“People involved in to rescuing pets love the book, but some dog lovers as soon as they hear she was rescued from a puppy mill, shut down and run away,” says Duran. “It’s almost like if they don’t hear about it, that makes puppy mills disappear. Other dog lovers want to know her story and spread the word. In general the book has had great reviews, I just wish I can touch every single pet owner so we can raise the awareness we want to raise. In all honestly, when I see pet lovers not wanting to hear about puppy mills disappoints me and makes my heart sink.”
Peachy died a year ago after spending over six years with Duran and her family. Along with raising awareness, she is also donating some of the proceeds from this book to the National Mill Dog Rescue. If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you may be familiar with the great work this group has done rescuing dogs from mills.
You may order “Peachy The Warrior Princess,” from Amazon. You can keep up on the Peachy Warrior Princess Facebook page and Gabriela Duran’s Blog. Learn more about the work of the National Mill Dog Rescue here.
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