A Dog's Tail
This is a true story.
Once upon a time, there were evil, greedy humans (monsters) who lived in a dilapidated house hidden away in a high desert area near DeVore, California. They bred dogs (purebreds and hybrids) for profit. The more in demand puppies they produced, the more money they made. They did not care about the welfare of their imprisoned Labs, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Pugs and so many more sought-after designer breeds – nearly 200 animals. Most had never felt grass beneath their paws, or a cool breeze blow across their snouts, or a pat on the head. Because of the lack of attention and human contact, these dogs (overbred adults and barely weaned puppies) were basically wild and untrusting.
One day, for whatever their reason, these heartless bastards abandoned their puppy mill.
On Monday, February 23, 2015, after an anonymous tip, animal control discovered an apocalyptic sight at the run-down property. Dozens of dogs had been crammed into cages and wooden crates with barely any room to move. They had been left without food and water. They had been forced to live in their own filth, as well as with the dying or dead bodies of their companions. Older purebreds were found weak and malnourished from over-breeding and the production of too many litters – some were blind.
In one of the wooden crates, crowded with about eleven other small dogs, was a strange little gray and white terrier with splashes of black markings. The one blue eye and one brown eye was rather disarming. Her high peaked fuzzy ears looked like they belonged on a dog three times her size. She had a curious looking pink and black nose and mouth. Her thick fur with Australian Shepard markings was horribly matted and terribly soiled. She cowered in the back of the box shaking and terrified.
All the dogs, including this timid terrier, were rounded up and taken to the DeVore Animal shelter. They were checked by a vet (there were those who could not be saved because of their grave condition). A local pet groomer volunteered time to clean up the survivors. The plight of these dogs made national news. And the little terrier with the one blue and the one brown eye was featured on television screens across Southern California during the evening newscast of a Los Angeles news station.
Lindi Biggi, president and founder of Loving All Animals based out of Palm Desert, California, was in line with other representatives of rescue groups responding to the DeVore emergency. Lindi and her friends were on hand bright and early to be a part of a lottery to obtain as many of the mill pups as possible.
Loving all Animals made plans to place the puppy mill dogs into a foster to adopt programs to rehabilitate, socialize and train the dogs to make good companions. LAA’s main mission is to stop the killing of adoptable companion animals and become a “no kill” Coachella Valley.
On March 4, 2015, Lindi had invited a few friends to play golf, including DeAnn Lubell. It was a beautiful day. On the way back, Lindi had her guests join her at her home for refreshments. She warned them that she was currently acting as a “way-station” for recently acquired puppy mill rescues and that we would be surrounded by seven skittish little dogs.
The last thing DeAnn needed or wanted was to foster or adopt a new pet. Most certainly, not an untrained and frightened puppy mill dog. She was already the proud parent of three eclectic and precious rescued dogs and one cat and was not in the market for another pet responsibility.
However, while sitting at the patio table that fateful day in Lindi’s backyard, the funniest looking four-legged fur-ball, about 8-9 months old, came running by. The dog appeared to be a terrier mix because of her fuzzy face; but later, it was determined that she was most probably a hybrid mix between a mini-Merle Blue Australian Shepard and possibly a Chinese Crescent Power Puff. Only a DNA test would determine her origins. She was as cute as could be. Her ears were the size of a rabbit’s. She had a funny pink and black nose and a teddy bear face. No one had ever seen a dog that looked quite like her.
It was love at first sight and DeAnn had to have her. After pleading her case, DeAnn finally convinced Lindi to allow her to foster to adopt the funny looking little creature. Lindi said that there were dozens of people who were on a waiting list wanting this dog. DeAnn won in the end. Lindi called the little dog Amy and it fit perfectly. At first, Amy would not let anyone near her. She showed all the signs of being a mistreated puppy mill off-spring as she was terrified of people, strange environments, and noises. She was wild and timid.
On March 12, 2016, DeAnn brought Amy home, after agreeing to attend five to six weeks of training classes that would involve the other LAA puppy mill rescues with their foster parents.
It took about 24-hours before Amy started to feel more comfortable around her new pet parents and the other dogs – even the cat. The other dogs helped. They seemed to know. One of the dogs, Jojo, decided he was her protector and followed Amy as her guard-dog. Amy observed her new siblings “normal” dog behavior. It was quite helpful having these canine “trainers” around.
Amy was fearful the day of her first training class. It would be the first time Amy experienced a leash. She whimpered and tried to bite and pull on the unfamiliar tether. She obviously had been abused, perhaps hit and kicked. Distrust radiated from her one blue eye and one brown eye. She was especially fearful of men.
After six weeks of training that included training the humans along with the pups, the puppy mill rescued dogs reached their socialization milestone on Graduation Day, April 9, 2015. As the dogs and their foster parents proudly accepted their graduation certificates, each dog basked in the applause and recognition. Dog trainer, Sandy Miller, was thanked for volunteering her time.
During her first few weeks with her new family, Amy could not understand why the other dogs barked and wagged their tails upon our return after the humans had been out. It was quite an accomplishment when Amy finally wagged her tail in response to happiness. From the start, she would whimper in her sleep. She would have to be gently awakened and held to ease the nightmare. Amy would hysterically bark and run away untrustingly when called to come – after her training and after time with her new family, she would come when called with bouncing enthusiasm. She was quiet and shy at the start, and then, she started making the silliest talking sounds – and she did talk, not bark, except for an occasional whispered “woof.”
Amy was a well-loved, happy little girl. She adored her canine brothers and sister. She even tolerated the cat. She was a natural born guard-dog who liked to hang out at the front glass door sounding the alarm of arrivals. She was intentionally funny, over the top smart, sweet, loving, and alert.
This one-time starving and abused puppy mill puppy - who did not have a clue how to love, play, respond, or interact – learned how to merrily run the household. DeAnn believed that it was Amy who rescued her instead of the other way around. Amy had a magical, intuitive way of bringing a smile to an unhappy face and laughter to sad tears just by her perfectly timed comical antics. Cute, funny, smart, and adorable – that was Amy. She was DeAnn’s soul dog. She was DeAnn’s heart and DeAnn loved her beyond words.
DeAnn was blessed to have Amy in her life for four wonderful years until coyotes killed Amy on December 22, 2019 in Yucca Valley. She was let out into her backyard with her sister, Sugar, for less than two minutes. Three coyotes tore into her. Because Amy was a natural guard-dog, it was most likely she challenged them and did not run away. The coyotes attacked.
The coyote problem is just about EVERYWHERE in the USA from New York City to Florida to Michigan to the mid-west to the west coast in rural areas and in the heart of suburbia. People from many different states have written to tell of how they lost their cat or dog to these predators. Coyotes live in the low desert and high desert even in gated communities.
DeAnn does not blame the coyotes. It is their nature, and in most cases, we have intruded into their territory or have forced them to adapt to suburbia living. DeAnn’s major gripe is that we humans are not aware and aren’t educated regarding the mindset, cunningness and patient determination of these and other predators. DeAnn takes complete responsibility for letting her guard down. When Amy’s humans moved to the Mojave Desert in September of 2019, they knew predators were around, but out of sight out of mind occurred. Just because you do not see or hear them doesn’t mean they aren’t nearby and just waiting.
The team at Amy’s Purpose do not want pet owners to live in fear, but to be aware. Our mission is to educate and provide help.