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Happy Tail: Chihuahua overcomes great odds


Julie Andersen of Elk Grove, California, had spent months browsing Petfinder and looked at thousands of dogs, but “suddenly, a picture of a troubled soul, peering at me with a frightened, confused look, stopped me dead in my tracks,” she says. Without thinking twice, Julie got into her car and drove to the Madera County Animal Control shelter three hours away.

BeBe doesn't mind getting a lift at a "Doggy Dash."

BeBe gets a lift from Julie at a “Doggy Dash.”

The shelter staff warned Julie that this dog was no easy case. She had been abused both mentally and physically and had come into the shelter pregnant, with a broken pelvis and starved almost to death.

“When I met her,” Julie says, “I was shocked that her four-pound body had been able to survive all the horrific abuse.” She picked the shivering little dog up and nestled her in her arms. “My heart melted and I knew that I would never let her be hurt again.

“When I first got BeBe home, she would lie in a tight little ball in the corner and quiver uncontrollably. She would not leave that spot unless I picked her up and carried her. So I took her everywhere with me to meet other people, dogs and cats and to socialize her.”

Julie’s patience worked, and before long, BeBe began to come out of her shell. “Watching her learn to trust and love has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Julie says.

It took six months to get her to walk on a leash and now she and Julie’s Boxer, Apollo, walk three miles a day. “Everywhere they go, people fawn over her, and ask where I got her,” Julie says. “It’s a great opportunity to tell BeBe’s story and advocate for shelter pets.”

BeBe has been with Julie for 10 years now, and while BeBe has come a long way, Julie has learned a lot as well. BeBe has been beside her through the loss of friends and family, through the end of relationships and heartbreak. “She has taught me more about unconditional love than any human being could ever teach me,” Julie says. Rescuing a pet almost always becomes a two-way street.

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