Chihuahua rescued from puppy mill now living life of a diva

It was a year ago last month that Rosa came into their home, into their family, and into their hearts.

Chihuahua rescued from Nebraska puppy mill

Rosa, formerly known as Rizzo, was one of 10 unsocialized, emotionally traumatized dogs that Best Friends Animal Society took in back in June of 2007 after they were rescued from a Nebraska puppy mill.

Until then, the little long-haired Chihuahua had lived her entire life in a small, filthy cage. She’d never known what it was like to be held, to be petted, to be loved.

Emotionally traumatized dog

Annie and Wayne Scott knew Rosa would be bringing some emotional baggage with her when they brought her home to Las Vegas. She paced back and forth for hours and hours on end. When they took her outside, she didn’t want to come back in. "She was terrified of everything and everyone," says Annie.

But Annie and Wayne would be the first to tell you that all those sleepless nights in the beginning were worth it. Their prescription for helping Rosa to heal from her emotional trauma was simple. "It took patience, patience and then more patience," Annie says. "Throw in some love and then another dose of patience."

Oh, how all that love and patience have paid off.

"Although Rosa is still shy, she is almost a normal dog," Annie says. "I can’t count the kisses I get every day from her. She is such a happy little dog who curls around my neck every night to sleep."

To help support them, Best Friends adoption coordinator Kristi Littrell put Annie and Wayne in touch with Dell Weiss, a Wisconsin woman who’d adopted a dog rescued from a puppy-mill/hoarding situation five years ago. Dell was always there with much-needed advice and support, which really helped Annie and Wayne get through those difficult early days.

"She held my hand – and Rosa’s paw – this last year," Annie says of Dell.

Rosa the Chihuahua, who was rescued from a puppy mill, wearing a Christmas outfitA new, happy life for a deserving dog

Today, Rosa whiles away the hours cuddling on Annie’s lap, going for morning walks and hanging out with Pedro and Juanita, the couple’s other two Chihuahuas. She loves vegetarian pizza night and she has vacationed at the Grand Canyon. She’s also become a celebrity of sorts after posing for a photo in her elf costume for a Christmas e-card on the Animal Rescue Site. Annie is not embarrassed to admit she’s a bit of a stage mother. And Rosa is loving every minute of it.

"When I became the stage mother, she became the diva," Annie says. "She’s turned into a great beauty and I feel the need to share her with the world."

Special-needs dogs

Annie says adopting a special-needs dog is not for everyone. A person must have a tremendous amount of patience and must be willing to put in the time. But those who do have those things to give and who do adopt one of these special dogs are sure to find it rewarding.

"In the first few months, when there was no visible progress, I would actually sit down and cry out of frustration," Annie says. "But now, every time I look down at Rosa’s smiling face and see her tail wagging, it is truly the most wondrous gift."

The way Annie sees it, Rosa was meant to be part of her life. She knew it the first time she saw Rosa’s photo on the Best Friends website. "I almost believe that Rosa picked me, not the other way around," Annie says.

Annie and Wayne have learned a lot from this sweet little survivor of a dog. "Rosa has taught us that love does indeed conquer all," Annie says. "She has made our family complete and has given so much more to us than we have ever given to her."

Photo of Annie and Rosa compliments of Annie.

Best Friends provided the photo of Rosa who was featured on a Christmas e-card on our website