Home > Animal Rescue, Maggie, Pine River puppy mill, puppy mill dogs, Puppy Mills, Shelties > With puppy mill dogs, it’s the subtle things that make you smile

With puppy mill dogs, it’s the subtle things that make you smile

This made me smile.

An earlier shot of Maggie with ears back.

I can still remember the very first time I noticed Daisy wag her tail.

It was in the garage after she had just come in from outside. I was standing by the kitchen door, about to let her inside the house, when I noticed her tail up and wagging freely. Who would have thought that something so innocuous to so many other dog owners would be so amazing to me? It was one of the most beautiful moments I can remember and one I will always cherish. It meant Daisy was happy.


Maggie’s ears are not really forward here, but more forward than they usually are in my photos. This was taken last night.

When caring for a puppy mill dog, you start to pay attention to every little step forward. It’s all about watching the subtle changes in behavior – the slight turning of their head to indicate they want to be petted, the tentative movement towards you when they have always run away, the increased confidence in how they carry themselves, the very slight reach out for a treat where there was none before.

Last night I realized that Maggie was spending less time with her ears at the back of her head (a sign she is nervous and stressed) and more time with her ears perked and forward (a sign that she is curious). It might seem like such a small thing, but it is a sign that she is feeling more comfortable, and perhaps even a little more confident, about her environment and living in a home with us. For me, it was one of those moments worth remembering.

Plus, she’s awfully darn cute when she pricks her ears.  🙂
Waiting for a piece of chicken. #maggie

  1. October 7, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    I feel like the ears are a HUGE thing, how great (and yes, she is totally adorable)!

  2. October 7, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    She has made such progress being with you. Down the line, she will be even better and hopefully will forget the bad start to life she had.

  3. October 7, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    It’s little steps into the right direction 🙂 How wonderful that your precious girl is becoming more confident! She IS adorable!

  4. October 7, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    You are so right, it IS the little things with a puppy mill pup. Continued success and happiness with your sweet little girl. ❤

  5. October 7, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    What great progress she is making! Those ears perks say it all!

  6. October 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM


    This is a heartwarming post! I understand your excitement over the little things. My rescue dog, Tika, was so under-socialized to both humans and other dogs, living in isolation practically her whole life, I began to think I would never get that moment of reaction – that ear prick when she heard a noise or that head turn when I said her name. We’ve made progress. Tika’s personality came out, finally, and it is a beautiful one. I’m proud of her, and proud of your dog too for all the leaps and bounds she has made.

    Thank you for posting this,

    Valentina of myveganvalentine.wordpress.com

  7. October 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    I’m glad she’s feeling safer.

    • Mel
      October 8, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Me too Bath. She is really starting to get into the routine around here and I think that helps. She definitely is making progress.

  8. October 9, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    she is beautiful

  9. November 18, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    I have just found your blog about Maggie and finished reading several update posts and this one made me so happy! I sometimes feel silly writing about the tiny things that I notice in with our puppy mill survivor – but if you have been there, you know how HUGE that first tail wag is!!

    I hope you will share Kira’s journey with us too. http://kirapuppymilljourney.wordpress.com/
    I am so glad I found your posts about Maggie! It really helps to read about others who have adopted these very special survivors!

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