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Paul: Ready for Adoption!

Puppy mill survivor now looking for his forever home

By: Heather Davis | April 12, 2011

NAME: Paul

BREED: Pomeranian/American Eskimo Mix

AGE: 6 Months

SEX: Neutered Male

WEIGHT: 10.2 IBS

FAVORITE THINGS: Fetching his mini KONG tennis ball in the yard, squeaky toys, playing with his canine pals and snuggling on the sofa once he gets sleepy. Very treat and praise motivated!

INFO: Just two weeks after his rescue from a Warren County puppy mill, Paul is safe, happy and healthy  in his foster home. He started out like most puppy mill dogs-- scared, shy and anxious--  but after just a few days in a loving home environment, he's blossomed into a spunky, friendly, outgoing and playful puppy! He is wonderful with our dogs and gentle with our elderly cat, is very smart and eager to learn and has learned to wear his harness, walk on a leash and ride in his kennel on car trips. He is making great progress with his potty training, although his adoptive family will need to be patient and consistent with continuing the house training. As he becomes overly anxious and barks when housed in a crate for periods of time (given his caged past), crate training should be avoided... instead, we have been training him with puppy pads and frequent outdoor potty sessions, and he's going outside consistently with few indoor accidents.

While he can be shy around new people, he warms up quickly and is friendly to everyone. Since human touch is a new thing for him, he needs to learn to "come" to be picked up, as he can be shy of people reaching for him. For this reason, he should be leashed at all times when not in a fenced area. Once you have him in your arms, however, he is quite happy! 

Medically, Paul is a healthy pup! His original vet diagnosed a slight heart murmur, but his most recent vet could not detect one... so just something to monitor over time. Like most puppy mill dogs, he does have some muscle atrophy, but he's already building healthy muscle thanks to plenty of great food and exercise! He does have luxating patellas (rotating kneecaps) so appears a little bowlegged. But he prances, runs and plays just as great as any other puppy!

Paul will do best living indoors in a home with at least one stable, friendly dog to keep him company and a loving, gentle family who will nurture his self confidence and use positive training to help him learn to be a happy, healthy dog! He will also benefit from social outings and continued socialization with a variety of friendly people and animals.

Paul is super adorable and lovable, and will make one lucky family a truly wonderful forever friend! View his photo album, then check out a video of him learning to fetch, and read more about his rescue/foster below.

If you feel like you may be his perfect forever home, please  for more info or click here to submit an online application and to arrange a time to meet him. We'd love to talk with you about this very special puppy mill survivor and how you can be the forever family in his bright new future!

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Foster Parent's Perspective: When I began work as the Volunteer Shelter Manager for the Warren County puppy mill rescue on March 30, I knew I was in trouble. It's amazing how attached you become to each of 120 dogs in the course of a week or so; dogs that came in as a group of filthy matted fur suddenly became individual beings, each with his own personality, health problems and quirks. We gave them names. They stole our hearts. Day after day, we cleaned, fed and held them, working in rhythm to the sound of their yips, barks and whines. And when the last transport rolled out carrying the remaining seven dogs,  we were left standing in a quiet, empty shelter. The moment was bittersweet: this was the day we'd prayed for-- when Animal Rescue Corps would win custody of these abused and neglected dogs so we could send them into foster care and onto brand new lives-- and yet, their sudden absence left a void in my heart where their small, furry faces had been.

During my time at the shelter, I kept finding myself pulled toward a shy pomeranian pup who spent his days wedged in the corner of his cage with his head hung in defeat. He had the most remarkably sweet spirit about him, but spending the first six months of his life in a puppy mill cage with no hint of human affection or compassion had left him quite sad. A volunteer named him Paul, and each day I took him from his kennel to hold him like a baby, softly talking to him and stroking his soft, thick fur. His adorable fox-like face was curious, and with the help of other snuggly volunteers, he began to learn that human touch could be a beautiful thing. By the end of the week, his tail would wag and his ears would perk when he saw you coming. He'd smile as if to say, "Yes! I'm ready!"

When we began moving the dogs into local rescue groups, I couldn't bear to part with him just yet. I had bonded to him in a special way unlike any of the other dogs. "I need you to talk me out of bringing Paul home," I told my boyfriend Chris over the phone. Instead, having volunteered at the shelter himself, he welcomed the little guy. 

Then he asked the hard question: "But can you really let him go when it's time?" 

I thought about it. "Sure," I said. "It's hard, but knowing he'll be going to a good home will make it worth it."

"Mm hmm," he replied.

That night, I brought home the 6-month-old pomeranian mix and introduced him to our crew of rescued pets (video here). He was calm and kind with our elderly feline; friendly and curious with our eight-year-old mixed breed dogs. He encountered his first toy, his first time on grass, his first real dog bed. By the next morning, it was as if Paul had always been a part of our family. He bonded quickly to his canine siblings and learned to fetch (video here). He soaked in every detail of his new world with utter wonder: a leaf, a butterfly, a ringing phone, a Nylabone. For the first tim in his life, he was experiencing the simple joy of just being a puppy, free from suffering and fear. Safe. At home. Loved. We have watched him blossom into the playful, happy, spunky pup he was meant to be, and it has been a rewarding and beautiful experience.

It has now been a week since I brought this little guy home, and it would be an understatement to say that I've fallen in love. Today he got neutered and received a clean bill of health, meaning he's officially up for adoption. It should be a happy day, yet on my way home with him I couldn't help but hear Chris' words echo in my head: "But can you really let him go when it's time?"

To be honest, I didn't imagine it would be this hard. We have bonded deeply already, and even as I write this-- with him curled peacefully in my lap-- tears pool in my eyes. It breaks my heart to have to let him go. We would keep him if we could, but the financial strain of three pets with special medical needs leaves us with no option to adopt. I've always been a believer in responsible pet guardianship, and with that comes the ability to fully care and provide for your pets as well as yourself. Keeping Paul would be selfish. He deserves someone with the ability to provide all of his needs without fear of them cutting into the needs of another equally deserving pet.

Learning to let go is indeed a heart-wrenching process, but this is what the miracle of fostering is all about: helping an otherwise homeless pet find his forever family. As the foster mom, it's easy to feel like I'm his guardian, but I have to remind myself that I am merely a stepping stone to his best possible life. It's not an easy job and it may not be for everyone, but it makes organizations like Agape Animal Rescue possible, and it saves lives. Lives like Paul's.

And so, baby Paul is now available for adoption. He'd love a canine friend or two to keep him company, to live indoors as a cherished member of the family and to have all the miniature KONG tennis balls his puppy heart desires. He would appreciate lots of snuggle time, patience during his potty training (he's doing great!), and time spent in the yard fetching his favorite toys. Most of all, he just wants unconditional and devoted love-- the kind he gives eagerly in return.

If you feel like you may be his perfect forever home, please  for more info or click here to submit an online application and to arrange a time to meet him. We'd love to talk with you about this very special puppy mill survivor and how you can be the forever family in his bright new future!

Photos: Paul enjoys a tender moment with our collie/shepherd mix, Shelby and enjoys putting his feet in grass for the first time.