Izzy was a puppy mill dog. The Pomeranian spent her first three years caged up with little human attention. Maple Hill Farm Toy Breed Rescue in Butler, OH, rescued her when she was three. “[Puppy mill dogs] don’t live with a family, they aren’t given love, and they oftentimes breed until they die,” says Nicole Fuhrman, Erie, PA, who gave her a chance for a happy home.
After Nicole saw her on Petfinder and adopted her, Izzy didn’t really know what to make of home life. “She hid in her crate and then, when I took the crate away, her corner, 24/7 … She was so terrified of being outside, that she ran immediately to the door. She had no clue what a leash was for, and she freaked out every time it brushed against her. Her heart pounded and her teeth chattered in fear when I held her, and she was terrified of toys and stuffed animals.”
Nicole really didn’t know what to do except continue to love the scared little pooch. So that’s what she did, although she didn’t think Izzy would ever be a normal dog.
The only time Izzy broke through her shell was when Nicole took her to other people’s homes. “When I brought her to friends’ houses, I was all the new rage with her. She couldn’t get enough of sitting on my lap, even sleeping in bed with me! Apparently, I was the safest place in the room.” But when they returned home, she fled back to her corner.
Little by little, things began to change: she learned how to walk on a leash, she loved to eat treats, and she no longer shook when Nicole held her. Izzy was making progress.
Then came another breakthrough. Nicole saw a dog on Petfinder that needed to be fostered while undergoing heartworm treatment, and she volunteered to take the dog in. By the time the treatment was finished (and successful), both Nicole and Izzy wanted the “new” dog, Nalla, to be a permanent part of their lives, so Nicole adopted her.
The two dogs are best friends. “They follow each other everywhere,” Nicole says. “They sleep in the crate together (willingly — I leave it open). They hide in the closet together. One hops on the couch, the other hops on the couch. One hops down, the other hops down.”
Izzy has learned what it is to be part of a family at last.