Withdrawn puppy mill Chihuahua making progress

You wouldn’t think that a dog walking right past you would be cause to celebrate. But for Wayne Scott of Las Vegas, Nevada, that’s right up there with winning the lottery. (Well, almost…) You see, until recently, Rosa the Chihuahua used to give him a wide three-foot berth whenever she crossed his path. The fact that she can more or less ignore him now is a huge deal.

Chihuahua rescued from Nebraska puppy mill

Rosa (her name used to be Rizzo, for those who knew her) is one of the ten Nebraska puppy mill dogs who came to Best Friends. The life of a puppy mill dog is no picnic. Heck, it’s not even a fast-food outing. Most of these dogs never saw the sunlight, never got to enjoy playing, and most certainly never learned to interact well with people. When Wayne and his wife Annie first brought Rosa home, Rosa was extremely withdrawn. Shouldn’t come as a surprise, given all that she’s been through. But they knew patience could pay off big time.

Withdrawn dog making progress

And it has. Rosa has made amazing progress, even if it’s all come in small doses. Annie (the one who is home all the time and who provides the food) can now pick Rosa up and is the proud recipient of ample face kisses. Wayne receives a slightly cooler reception, yet Rosa allows him—actually encourages him—to pet her if they’re all on the bed at the same time. Affection is on her terms, still, yet they’re thrilled by her steps forward.

She still does funny things. Like when she goes outside and then doesn’t quite know how to come back in. Oh, it’s not that she can’t figure it out. She actually stands on the threshold of the doorway looking uncertain. She’s never had to make decisions before, really, and Wayne and Annie feel she just can’t quite make that jump yet. "Um, you sure I can just walk back in there? For reals?" One of the big reasons they wanted to adopt Rosa is because they could tell she needed them. And they were certainly right. Way to go Rosa. No doubt you’ll be the queen of doorways in no time.

Learn more about puppy mills.

Photos by Molly Wald