I found a most amazing place during this search. It's called Flawdogs and it's in Morse Mill, MO. It's run by Sally Givens and she and the people who work with her are truly angels on earth. She rescues these dogs and puppies from puppy mills and works to get them adopted to good homes. If they turn out to be "unadoptable" they stay at Flawdogs. Forever if necessary. Here's a link to Flawdogs website if you're interested in checking it out. I'll probably write more about this place in another post but this one is supposed to be about Isabella.
I decided to take a rode trip to Flawdogs the day after Thanksgiving. I enjoy these infrequent opportunities to take a long car trip alone and just decompress. I had a Diet Coke, a full pack of cigarettes, country music on the radio, blankets and rawhide chews to donate to Flawdogs and the hope that I was about to find the perfect addition to our "Yeager Pack."
Once into Missouri and off the Interstate the scenery itself was worth the 4 hour drive. I've always been partial to the mountains and got just a teasing taste of mountains as I made my way over to Morse Mills. Sally had sent directions to me via email because she told me that my GPS WOULD NOT get me there. Of course, I had to try it anyway just because that's the way I am... but she was right. I followed her directions and simply made note of the point where my GPS and her directions diverged. When I turned into the driveway I could see right away that these flawed dogs had found their little slice of heaven. But more about that later.
I got out of the car and saw a lady that I knew immediately had to be Sally. She just looked like a "dog person." I introduced myself and we headed inside to see the little "Maltese Girl" I had seen on her website. She had been there just a couple of days so she didn't yet have a name. I fell in love with her immediately. She was so pitiful it brought tears to my eyes. She was tiny, frightened, malnourished and her coat was thin and sparse. She skittered from one hiding place to another and when I picked her up she buried her head under my chin and I shed some more tears. I held her and talked to her for nearly an hour and then Sally threw a cog in the wheel and brought out "Schubert the Shih Tzu."
Sally had told me that if I could safely hold the puppy on the drive home it would really help us start the bonding process but when I laid her down on the blankets in the passenger seat and covered her she snuggled down and went fast asleep and stayed that way all the way home. About 4 hours later we pulled in the driveway and the introductions began. Mato was not very excited about Isabella. She was actually a little frazzled.
Our concerns started when she wouldn't eat her dry food sample that Sally had sent home with us and so I started a little mini-physical. Sally had been told when she rescued that litter of pups that they were 10 weeks old. She was probably more like 4-5 weeks old. The first thing I did was stick my finger in her mouth to feel her teeth. There weren't any that had pushed through the gums yet. The poor little booger was starving because she couldn't eat enough of the dry food to sustain her. Now you have to remember that she had only been at Flawdogs less than 2 full days when I adopted her. She had been given her shots, spayed and checked over but evidently the teeth thing had been missed by the vet.
My daughter and I took turns over the next three days feeding her soft food off of our fingers and then those teeth popped through and she started eating on her own. The first couple of weeks she didn't have a lot of strength or stamina and we were so excited when she played for the first time. A few weeks later I had to rush her to the Vet (that's another post for another day) and while we were there he recommended an awesome food for her, Prescription Diet a/d, and we started her on it immediately. He said it was like rocket fuel for puppies and he wasn't kidding. She started growing like dandelions in the spring.
We also discovered as Isabella grew that she wasn't full-blooded Maltese as Sally had been told. It became obvious that her hair was a little wiry and not textured like a Maltese. Her tail was a little funky too. My daughter says it's a squirrel tail. I again headed to my favorite information resource...the internet...and after a few clicks there was no doubt in my mind that she's a "Jack-Tese." 1/2 Maltese and 1/2 Jack Russell Terrier. Regardless of what she is or is not I can't begin to explain what an amazing puppy Isabella has turned out to be. She's like this perfect little creation. She has used her potty pads since the first day (we were afraid to take her out in the cold to housebreak her because she was so frail), she's happy, loves everyone she meets, only barks when she plays, minds after being told something only once or twice, snuggles continually and loves us unconditionally. But the most amazing thing that Isabella has done is bring my husband and my daughter closer. He adopted her when she was 10 and he was 53. He had never had a child before and she has major trust issues with men and they had developed a loving although tentative relationship. Their shared love of this puppy has changed all of that. They are closer now than I ever imagined they might be at this point in both their lives. Isn't it amazing how God works his magic? I have shared my life with a lot of dogs and can honestly say this is the most perfect little dog I have ever encountered.
And Mato has even gotten to where she likes her.
So we were blessed to find the perfect addition to the "Yeager Pack" and we are grateful for it many times everyday.
At the risk of making you feel that you've fallen into a retro filming of "The Price is Right" let me close this by saying, "please have your pets spayed or neutered" and Rescue or Adopt your next pet.
Blessings to all.