Thursday, December 5, 2013

On The Road To Freedom

Hey All!

Most of you know my heart ache surrounding my beloved bulldog Audry dying of a heart attack at work in July of this year.

It's been quite a process of healing and I will never get completely over it. The pain was worth it. I loved her and she added so much to my life. 

I knew it wasn't over for me. Audry was a puppy mill rescue and she LOVED being rescued. She was grateful for every treat, day at the shop, bed, nanny visit, every wonderful thing I could possibly give her in life. She was memorialized on the front of my antique store by the amazing artist Patrick Kane McGregor (also a bulldog Daddy!)

Everyday when I come into work, I say hi to my buddy. This store was her paradise. 

Patrick's bulldog Bouge is EPIC. 
I mean, really. Look at this beast! Obsessed.

Have you heard of the National Mill Dog Rescue? It's an AMAZING organization that literally goes across the country and rescues what would otherwise be "throw aways" after puppy mill people get rid of the animals because they can't bear more puppies or because they get shut down for malpractice. They have to be pretty bad to get shut down, as Peyton's was. It makes me FURIOUS.

The woman who started the rescue in 2008 went to a puppy mill dog auction, not knowing what it even was. She went to get one dog as a pet...when she got there and saw these animals, there was 500 poor souls.

 She bid on and won 13 dogs that day and took them home to Colorado and wished she could have taken them all that day. Could you imagine going to get one dog and leaving with 13? That is something I would do. Good for her. 

One named Lily was literally missing her lower jaw from untreated infection. I can't even put the picture on the blog because it makes me cry. Teresa has saved thousands and thousands of dogs since that day in memorial of Lily.

My friend Natalie actually told me about the rescue. I put in an application, had a home inspection (so they knew I wasn't a psycho) and an interview and I was in the system. I love that they meet and interview you first before ever meeting a dog. They care about the placement. I was super specific about my needs for a dog because I got one a couple months ago and the woman lied to me about the temperament and needs of the dog - and I ultimately had to rehome her to a wonderful man in Vail where she is much happier.

On Thanksgiving, I got Peyton. I didn't know they were going to call and at the rescue, there are no days off. She is just what I had been praying and dreaming about. Peyton was rescued not even three weeks ago from a horrible puppy mill and transported to Colorado. Many of the dogs rescued by the National Mill Dog Rescue that day had awful wounds. Peyton was scared, super under weight, and had never experienced human contact or love in her whole life. Here is a picture right before she was put on the truck. 
Where am I going??
 Arriving at the rescue in Peyton, Colorado. There were 87 dogs. Can you imagine what they were feeling?

This one was so overweight, she had never been out of her cage, EVER. The lady holding her is Kim, the woman who placed Peyton with me and was working there on Thanksgiving, and everyday (all volunteer.)

The waiting list for English bulldogs can be months. I was called because the family that was going to adopt her, backed out because she commanded too much attention for their family dynamic. (This is coming from a dog that has never experienced love or touch). When they told me this, I had a good feeling. So out to Peyton, Colorado my boyfriend and I went on Thanksgiving morning! I had high hopes and was very excited.

Here was the exact moment Peyton came out. I was sitting on the floor. 

The attention she wanted was LOVE! Touch! Safety. 

Minutes later, she met Eron.
She has been through HELL and guess what, she was still sweet. She was still open and loving. She wasn't pissed off which she could have every right to be. 

I fell in love on the spot. SOLD. SOLD. SOLD.
Eron said we should walk her and get to know we walked for three minutes. Yep, still sold.
Peyton was named for the town and I love her name. She has lots of issues that Mill dogs have. She didn't know grass, dirt, stairs. She doesn't know pottying outside or how to chew bones. She doesn't know security or a home. Now she has one and the stocking is hung for Christmas!

Now she has three houses, 9 beds, three "condo" crates, and a village of people waiting to smooch her fuzzy muzz. She is going to learn about life and get in the swing of things really quickly. She wears diapers without protest. She actually loves these crates I got for her. She stays in them and sometimes, refuses to come out. They are her safe zone and that's ok. I like that she feels secure in them but the door is open and she can venture out for her love fix anytime of day!

She needs to gain 10 pounds and has half her hearing which is better than I had thought. She is recovering well with me!

I can't wait to keep you up to date on my dog adventures. Everyone that knows how hard it is to lose a pet also realizes the joy and gravity of getting a new one! I am excited to start this coming year with a fresh heart after a bumpy last six months. I couldn't have gotten through it without the support of my friends and family and they know who they are!

Am I obsessed with this silly dog? Sure. I know it. And I don't care. When something makes your heart sing, sing it loud and proud!

If you are interested in the dogs available at the rescue, they get them everyday! Here are some new arrivals!

Getting a mill dog is work but it's also such a reward knowing you saved someone and it's so heart warming actually seeing the animal experience so many things for the first time - like a chew toy. What do I do with this?!

99% of puppies in pet stores are from mills. There are a lot of amazing breeders out there that love the breed and breed for the right reasons but the f*ckers that use and abuse animals for monetary gain and then throw them away need to be stopped and it's organizations like the National Mill Dog Rescue that bring awareness and salvation for these dogs and I can't thank them enough. I donated twice Peyton's adoption fee. They put 10x more in her financially by saving her and treating her infections and spaying her than her adoption fee. These people really do amazing work. I was there and I saw it. It's now my favorite place to donate.

I enjoyed every second of Audry and Peyton has some big paws to fill but I think she is up to the job. 

Stay tuned for many more Peyton adventures to come!



  1. So glad Peyton has rescued a wonderful, loving family.

  2. Such a wonderful story!! So glad Peyton was adopted by you. I am one of the rescue photographers with the National Mill Dog Rescue. I was there for Kamilla's arrival and did her first 'glamour' shot (link below). She loves everyone and is so grateful for the attention she now receives. You got it right when you said how rewarding adopting a mill dog can be...I have 4 dogs...all rescues...and Leroy, an Ore Pei, is my mill dog. It was such fun watching him learn to be a dog, and he's still learning. Almost every day, we'll catch him doing something new he learned off our other pups. Congratulations...and thanks for saving a life!

  3. This story is lovely. I'm so happy for you both. And THANK YOU for promoting doggie rescue. It's oh so important for these little voiceless creatures.

  4. I love this! I was on the rescue where we got Peyton and actually took the picture on the back of the truck. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to know that this little girl now has a loving home and a Christmas stocking. Thank you so much, Rachel for taking her in. It is so nice to see her journey come full circle. What a lucky girl! Thank you!

  5. Hello Rachel, my name is Becky and we were Payton's foster family before you adopted her. She is such a sweet girl and I am soooo happy that she found a good home with you!! We have a 2 year old and she loved on him like crazy! He fell and hurt himself and she did not want to leave his side until he was feeling better. She has got such a big heart and such a lovely soul!! Congratulation on the adoption! From my family to yours, HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

  6. Hi Rebecca and everyone! Thank you for your kind words and reading my blog!! Peyton is doing wonderful with me. She is really coming into her own!! She loves coming to the antique store, she is learning to chew on bones and even plays with her toys. We are enjoying every minute. I love her and thank you Rebecca and everyone for rescuing, fostering her, and saving her! She is going to be one happy dog for the rest of her life!! xoxoxo

  7. Rachel is the most caring and loving animal person I know!
    She is a kind and generous person and such a warm heart!
    Love her