Family adopts rescued puppy mill dogs, a blind shih tzu and cairn terrier

Family with rescued Pomeranian dogs adopts a blind shih tzu and cairn terrier who were rescued from a Virginia puppy mill.
By Amy Abern

Is there such a thing as too much good news? We don’t think so.

Rescuing Virginia puppy mill dogs

In the case of the Virginia puppy mill dogs that Best Friends rescued and brought to the Pets Alive sanctuary in New York, there are nearly 180 happy stories. We told you about Mabel, a beagle who became the poster dog of the rescue, and is now learning about love in her new foster home.

Blind shih tzu and cairn terrier adopted

The following tale features Helen, a blind shih tzu, and Shanny, a cairn terrier, and their happy landing with the Colson family.

Patrice and Jim Colson first learned about the Pets Alive puppy mill dogs through the local newspaper. According to Patrice, they planned to visit Pets Alive and bring home a shih tzu.

Adopted into a family with rescued Pomeranian dogs

The plan worked – and then some! The Colsons ended up adopting not only a shih tzu, but a cairn terrier as well. So Helen and Shanny now live in harmony – mostly – with the couple’s sons, Tim and Brendon (daughter Kelli is away at college), and their Pomeranian rescues, Baby and Girl.

"All my friends predicted this would happen," Patrice says. "They know I’m a dog lover and kind of go for the underdogs. But it’s all good."

Patrice took one look at Helen and knew she was The One. Unlike the other puppy mill dogs, who would run up to the front of their cages to greet visitors, Helen simply sat on her little bed. Patrice noticed the quiet little girl and wondered why she wasn’t vying for attention like the other puppy mill dogs.

Two dogs who need extra love

"She didn’t know people were there to take her," Patrice says, "that people might want her. I could see she was kind of shy and needed a little more love. And then I learned she was blind. Well, I fell in love immediately."

While Patrice filled out Helen’s paperwork, Jim took Shanny (whose name at the time was Honey) for a walk. By the time they returned, Jim decided Shanny needed to come home with them, too.

"They got along really well," Patrice says. "Shanny is a doll."

True to her breed, though, Shanny has a bit of an attitude. She loves to go outside, run around, revel in the freedom and space – and then come inside and pee. Helen, on the other hand, knows that outside is all business. When the two are back inside, they play like sisters. They also enjoy romping around with Baby and Girl.

At night, Patrice says, the whole family plays musical beds until each dog decides which human companion he or she is going to sleep with. "We’re just one big happy family," says Patrice.

Read about Best Friends' work to combat puppy mills.

Photos by Patrice Colson