Scooter, a French bulldog, lived in a puppy mill for the first three years of his life. He was malnourished because his food had been mixed with sawdust to make it go farther. Many of his teeth were rotten and had to be removed after he was rescued by Tri State Yorkie and Small Breed Rescue in Indiana.
A Hoboken, NJ, woman saw his listing on Petfinder. “I’m a believer in that gut feeling that tells you when to make a move,” Kirstin Burdett says, “and something about his picture, his story, and the rescue itself grabbed me.”
She made plans to go to Indiana, but then learned about a small breed rescue that goes there once a month to bring adoptable pets to the Northeast, “Three weeks later we met the rescue on its drive through New York.”
Scooter had suffered mental and physical deprivation; he had never learned to play. “He still doesn’t know what the squeaking frog is, despite our attempted demonstrations and enthusiasm,” Kirstin says.
His muscles weren’t developed because of his long confinement. “Scooter learned to run around the yard with us during his second week, and the joy in his eyes made my heart melt,” she says. As he ran, his little legs would buckle, and he’d fall on his face, but “he’d get up each time and continue on even faster as though it hadn’t happened. His favorite activity is to run into our arms.” Kristin is amazed by “his ability to come out of a puppy mill without hostility towards the species that forced him through that horror in the first place.”
Every sight and sound is exciting and new to him. “I love watching him lift his head to the sky as a gust of wind approaches, bringing with it countless smells,” she says.
“It pains me to imagine [what he experienced} …. What I do know is that he was one of the lucky dogs freed from unimaginable cruelty and neglect, and I’m even luckier for having had that gut feeling that told me to go for it.”
She had no idea how profound the impact of witnessing Scooter heal would be. She describes it as a journey, an incredible one at that, and today, she shares Scooter’s story whenever possible to let people know about the devastating effects of puppy mills.