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A post I never thought I’d write… our Puppy Mill Survivor
I’m sure many of you Pommy Mommies know Yoki… if you don’t, Yoki is our Puppy Mill survivor. (read her story here). She came to us in pretty bad shape… not physically, actually she was the most hygienic of the pack when we rescued her but psychologically she was severely scarred by abuse… and those scars haunted her. It was brutal watching her try to adapt to her new surroundings.
Our mother hen at the time Maggie tried her best to take her under her wing… and she eventually did but even that seemed torturous. The most heartbreaking was to see my husband try his best to pet her, hold her or just talk to her. She would have nothing of it. Every attempt ended with either a dart across the room, a blood curdling scream or a cower under a piece of furniture.
If you know my husband… it’s almost no doubt that a 6 lb Pomeranian would be scared… most 250 lb men are scared of him… I’m not kidding. He learned how to intimidate from his uncles… who were actual mobsters. To say his voice can scare the sh*t out of you is an understatement. It resonates through 3 states. We bought a house with 3 floors because I needed to not hear him when he was talking to his clients… the secret to a harmonious marriage. So I didn’t blame Yoki… but it was still heart breaking.
I’m not going to sugar coat this, my husband loves… not tolerates, not likes, but loves our Pomeranians. To see him heart broken over the rejection of 6lbs of fur and nerves was funny and then a little tragic. Really? A guy that could crush literally anything he wanted in his bare hands was emotional putty in Yoki’s paws. O.K. I’m having too much fun here…
I consulted a “canine behaviorist” named Cricket when we lived in Albuquerque, NM and she gave me many suggestions to get Yoki on the road to rehabilitation. It was very comical to watch my husband and Yoki in canine counseling… or therapy. I wish I had video.
It was obvious that Yoki hated men… it was most likely a man or men that ripped her out of her cage and threw her into a “rape” cage or stand with several “studs” just having their way with her… then that man or men grabbed her by her scruff and threw her back in her cage… let her suffer through her gestation period and stole her babies. If you have vomit in your mouth… join the party. It sickens me to think about what she went through… and I wish I could drive a stake through the idiot’s hearts that bred her… but God already took care of that… they both died. Karma is a bitch. That’s how we got Yoki.
So, it was very important to make sure that my husband wasn’t scary anymore… yep, that was going to take a miracle. His voice and persona makes people cower, how is this going to work for our little baby Yoki.
I have to tell you Yoki and my husband took it in stride and made it work. Never in my life did I ever want to hear a “baby” voice come from my husband… but there it was, and Yoki semi-responded. I’m not saying it went over like wine at a wedding… because I had to endure this “therapy” for 2 years. Yes, 2 years.
He was never able to hold her… but was able to “pet” her twice… and that was inconceivable joy… and reconciliation. My husband tells his clients… “celebrate the small victories” … and hold them dear… and we did. Then we moved… to Las Vegas… and before we did, adopted “Little” Sophia. Can we say… set back?
A new environment and a new sister… who was a handful for mommy. Let’s just say… fun wasn’t anywhere in the dialogue when it came to Yoki adapting to her new environment. It was a little like starting over except our new house was a perfect sanctuary for Yoki. It was big enough for her to get away, go outside and just be Yoki… and we kinda saw her spread her wings a little. She still didn’t trust where she was but it seemed cool to her. The longer she stayed the more relaxed she became. We kept up the “therapy”.
A year later, my husband is at the end of our bed and bent down on his knees to pet Yoki, who was on the bed with Maggie and Sophia. Normally Maggie would come over to him, lick or kiss him and get belly rubs… but this time, Yoki started hooking his hand and fingers with her paws. It was hilarious… she started pinning down his hand and biting his fingers. I was shocked, he was shocked and he let her do this for about 45 minutes… it most likely didn’t hurt his boxing battered, sausage fingers but was fun to watch. He then decided to take off his tank top… or as he calls it, his Ginnee Tee… obviously being Italian, I guess… and he start taunting Yoki with it… and you would never guess it. She was biting it and playing tug of war with him and his shirt. I almost fainted… this was pure ecstasy. She never played, not even with me and to see her playing with my husband was more than anyone could expect.
We were not going to let this joy pass… every night he played with her… and even to this day… he will not go to bed with out playing with her. That playing paid off because he would pass his hand over her head and it would create a series of events that were too cute, she would paw her face and ears, lick her paws and then hump the blankets… it was an amazing display of new things. Puppy mill survivor
This playing went on… then one day, my husband was sitting outside eating breakfast… and Yoki came over to him after watching him pick up Niko. If you don’t know, Niko is my husband’s buddy… there’s nothing Niko doesn’t do, if my husband is doing it… there is no place that Niko doesn’t go… seriously, huge signs that say, “no pets allowed”, they were obviously not made for Rocco and Niko… I think you get the picture. So after Yoki saw my husband pick up Niko, kiss him and put him down… Niko went over to the water bowl… and Yoki started scratching Rocco’s leg. Now this was very odd, so my husband started petting her towards her tail and hind legs, work his way up to her back and was scratching her like he did during there nightly play times… under her ears and around her neck. She licked his hands and finger and Rocco decided to pick her up right then… and she let him. No scream, no pulling away… and a little snuggle. I cried. I’m sorry, I never thought this day would come… I knew that everything we do is exactly what we should be doing. All the research we do… everything we try… and succeed or fail at culminates to the most wonderful ending.
It’s so much fun to watch my husband pick up Yoki, carry her upstairs, hug on her… and lay with her. Yoki is a testament to absolute patience, determination and diligence. If you don’t have it… please don’t adopt a Puppy Mill survivor… but if you do, it is the most rewarding experience you’ll ever have.