Amy is the reason we started Bare Paws Rescue. Below is her story, which we entered
in a worldwide contest on Dogster looking for the best rescue story. She won first place.
Amy had spent her entire life in a little cage in a puppy mill barn, having
many, many puppies. We don't know how old she was when the people
running the mill decided she was no longer of any use to them and turned
her over to rescue. They said she was 5, but who knows how many years
she really spent in that dark, stifling barn. The vet said she was likely
considerably older. The day we got her out of there, she was pure pink
from lack of sunlight and squinted terribly because everything was so
bright to her after being in the dark for so long. She was afraid of
everything, having never experienced kindness from humans before. She
was so afraid on the day that we transported her to her foster home that
she just sat in my lap staring straight ahead. She would not interact with
me at all. When we got to the location where we were to meet her foster
mom, I sat holding her, trying to think of a way to give her some comfort. I
started to sing very softly to her. She did not react at all, but I felt that
maybe it would help her relax just a little bit. I had never done that with
any of the other rescue dogs before, but I was desperate to console the
tiny little dog with the huge liquid eyes who sat quivering in my arms.
I couldn't stop thinking about Amy after handing her over to her foster
mom, and after a couple of months, we decided we wanted to adopt her.
When she first came to our house, she had no idea how to play and was
stressed by the change in her new life. She would hide behind the
furniture, or sit all alone in her little bed with her back to us. She did not
want anything to do with humans, since every one she had encountered in
the past had been mean to her. But she loved our other 2 dogs, and
especially our other Chinese Crested. She would watch everything that
Tiki did, and tried very hard to copy her, wanting so badly to learn and fit
in with her new environment. I tried to teach her play with toys, but she
did not understand the concept. When we tried to give her treats, she was
scared of our hands and would run away. But slowly, with each day that
passed, she started to open up. One day, I tried my usual effort to get her
to play, and on this day she grabbed the toy with abandon and played for
an hour. It was such a triumphant step in her journey. Toys became her
replacement for all the puppies she had parted with in her life. We bought
her one that we felt most resembled her puppies, and she carried it
around in her mouth for weeks, crying hysterically, mourning all the little
ones she had loved and lost. Her puppies were probably her only joy in
the mill, and she had had them all taken from her. After those few weeks,
she set her baby down and got past the grief. She had worked it out for
After a couple of months, Amy no longer dropped to the floor when
someone approached her. She no longer crawled when we put her leash
on. She no longer ran away when we tried to give her treats. Now, she
would come flying into the kitchen, come to a screeching skid, then stand
on her hind feet and run as fast as she could toward me to get her
beloved treats. We went to the ocean, and she ran on the beach, waded in
the water, chased the seagulls at full speed. She would greet every
person she met on our walks, and would be sad if anyone did not stop and
say hello and give her a pat on her little head.
One day as I was sitting holding her, I started to sing the song that I had
sung to her those many months before, on the transport away from the
terrible, scary barn. All of a sudden, Amy turned and looked up at me and
her eyes grew very wide with wonder. Her tail started to wag, and I knew
without a doubt that she was remembering that day in the past when her
happy life began and she suddenly knew that it had been me that rescued
her that day. She was shell-shocked then, unable to interact with me, but
she had carried that song in her heart as she started healing. That little bit
of kindness had stayed with her and meant so much to a scared little dog.
I had done rescue for years, but after adopting Amy, I wanted to do more,
make a bigger difference for all the scared little dogs that are still waiting
for their chance at happiness. My husband and I decided to start our own
Chinese Crested Rescue group. Eight years ago, Bare Paws Rescue was
born, and Amy is our ambassador. She is our mascot, our reason for doing
what we do. If there were no rescues, Amy and all of the countless others
would never get out of their desperate situations. They would never know
joy and love. Every dog should be treasured and treated with kindness
and compassion. To see Amy transformed from a terrified, quivering dog
to a prancing, outgoing girl is the most heartwarming experience there is.
Amy is kind, and caring, and trusting. After all she had been through in her
life, after all of the abuse and fear, she still wanted to love and be loved.
Dogs have that wonderful capacity to forgive. She still, to this day, has
nightmares and wakes us with her screaming, but as time goes on, they
are much less frequent. I wake her up and tell her she is safe, she is home
with us, her family. She should never have had to experience things that
still haunt her in her sleep. I wish for her that all her dreams are of
running in the grass, chasing the gulls, playing with her toys, being held
and kissed and adored. I wish for her, and all dogs, to have a song in their
heart that they carry with them.
It has been 9 years since we freed Amy from that awful place. Her hearing
has gone, and she is completely blind now. Her mind is not what it used to
be. But the one thing that has not changed is her great desire to be held
and kissed and loved. Rescue dogs never forget.
***On January 19, 2016, Amy went peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge. She
was about 17 years old and enjoyed every moment of her life after getting
out of the mill.
Below: Amy when she first got rescued, and Amy in her forever home. This is the difference
that rescue makes!
She LOVED visiting the ocean with her forever family!
She didn't even know how to walk on grass when she was first rescued but
she loved running around once she got used to it!
She didn't know how to play with toys in the beginning either, but she sure learned!