She’s been a mother many times over, but after being rescued from her former life as a puppy mill breeder this photogenic French Bulldog got a new role and a new name. Her adopter — Gina Easley — called her Sister and vowed to nurture the dog who had spent her whole life nurturing puppies.
“I wanted her to be able to be the kid, to be the sister. It was kind of a symbolic thing,” Gina tells Dogster.
The name made sense in more ways than one. Sister would become the sister to Gina’s other dog, Simon, a large rescued mutt who’d been an only pup his whole life. Despite his single-dog status, Simon had a great track record of sharing his family with other dogs as Gina had done in-home daycare and fostering over the years.
“He was always such a great dog to have for that kind of work because he was very chill and great with the other dogs,” she says.
After Gina and her husband fostered a couple of senior puppy mill Frenchies, Gina realized everyone in the house — including Simon — was ready for a forever Frenchie of their own. She started keeping her eyes on rescue listings and noticed a post on the Short Noses and Friends United Rescue (SNAFU) Facebook page. SNAFU had just rescued a 7-year-old puppy mill breeder from a dog auction in Missouri.
Gina contacted the director of SNAFU, who felt Gina’s family would be a perfect fit for this dog.
“We drove six hours to pick her up, from Minnesota to Iowa, then six hours back, all in the same day,” Gina recalls. “My husband, Scott, gets major points for doing all the driving and for being 100 percent supportive from the moment I asked how he felt about us adopting her, sight unseen.”
When the couple finally laid eyes on Sister, they saw just how skinny she was, and the toll a lifetime of untreated allergies had taken on her skin. She was itchy and subdued on the drive, but seemed to blossom the moment she realized she was in her forever home.
While one might expect a former puppy mill dog to be shy and sad, Sister’s temperament was that of a dog who was simply loving every moment of attention.
“She had basically been living in a cage her whole life, breeding, and didn’t have the best care. Yet when she came into our home, she just embraced it,” Gina says.
Despite not being house trained before adoption, learning where to go was no problem for this older dog. After just a couple of days of getting treats for bathroom breaks on the grass, Sister was reliably trained, something Gina credits to Simon’s good example.
A serious dog, Simon was initially concerned about his new little Sister and her lack of manners, trailing her around the house and looking up at Gina with a worried look on his face. When Sister quickly learned the rules, he relaxed and welcomed her into the family. The two dogs are as far apart in personality as they are in size, but complement each other perfectly.
“He’s kind of like the protector who kind of looks out for everyone, and she’s just a goofy clown,” Gina explains.
With Simon on her side, Sister had won over her household and would soon be winning over extended friends and family online. Gina’s notifications blew up whenever she posted a picture of Sister on social media. She eventually created a dedicated account for the dog to advocate for an end to puppy mills, and educate adopters about the pet potential in senior survivors.
Amazingly, Sister brought a ton of love into her new home even though she spent so many years without receiving any. Gina and Scott felt like they were doing a good deed when they adopted the older dog, but Gina says they are the ones who benefited thanks to the endless joy and laughter Sister brings them.
“She’s 9, almost 10 now, and we’ve had her for two and half years. I think sometimes about how even though it’s been a short time, we’ve condensed 10 years of love into that time and it’s so, so worth it.”
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