December 17, 2015
Rescued From a Puppy Mill, Duffy Gets a Second Chance
Duffy was once too frail and sick to stand. Now, with his loving family, he walks, chases and plays.
by Ruthanne Johnson
Rescued from an Arkansas puppy mill along with 45 dogs, 3 cats and 9 chickens.
The 8-year-old Great Pyrenees mix cowered alone on the dirty linoleum floor of a dimly lit laundry room. Brown stains smeared the front of the washer and dryer against which he laid, likely from his feces-encrusted tail and backside rubbing against them. He was so skinny and sick, he couldn’t stand.
There were other dogs, too, inside the filthy home. But most were living outside with no cover, in temperatures so cold icicles hung from their fur.
The HSUS and its emergency placement partners—Central Arkansas Rescue Efforts for Animals, the Humane Society of Saline County and the Randolph County Humane Society—had been called to help the Randolph County Sheriff's Office remove the animals from the Warm Springs property. The puppy mill operator had been convicted of animal cruelty just two years earlier but was still selling animals online and in person. With virtually no state laws in place to protect puppy mill dogs, she’d simply returned to business as usual.
When HSUS rescuer Ashley Mauceri first pushed back the brown accordion door leading to Duffy’s windowless room, he lifted his head and gave a little tail wag. She knelt beside him and gently stroked his face, and he feebly lifted his paw to touch her arm. She tapped at the floor, hoping to entice him to his feet. “Can you do it?” she encouraged softly. But Duffy could only claw at the floor. Together, Mauceri and HSUS rescuer Troy Snell carried Duffy out of the house.
At the Humane Society of Saline County, the veterinary team discovered Duffy weighed only half what he should. They gave him love and treats as they shaved 4 pounds of feces and matted hair from his bony body. They wanted him to at least know kindness if his medical condition proved too difficult to overcome.
But Duffy’s spirit was strong. He gained weight and strength. “The first time he stood in the shelter, volunteers started cheering,” Mauceri remembers.
After several weeks, Duffy went into a foster home. His foster family soon fell in love and adopted him. They’re now helping him overcome his fear of strangers, noises and the outdoors. He’s learning the house rules from his doggy siblings, and he loves play-chasing, wrestling and his treat-filled toys and orthopedic beds.
“It makes me so happy to think of how much his life has changed,” Mauceri says. “I told his new family I hope I come back as one of their dogs in my next life.”
The HSUS saved hundreds of animals like Duffy in 2015. To support the Animal Rescue Team’s lifesaving work, go to humanesociety.org/heroforduffy.