Miracle at Christmas Time

(Miracle, after grooming and a plane ride to California)

"Miracle" was one of ten Bichons, rescued from the last Puppy Mill auction, held in Hartville, Misourri.

Miracle is 9 1/2 year old. This poor girl, has been bred over and over again. She is timid. Her teeth were in terrible shape, but there is still a twinkle in her eyes. This is what I sent out to our supporters, after I brought Miracle back to Tulsa...


"Now, I have a HUGE problem, and need your guidance.We purchased an older female, "Miracle", who is 9 1/2 years old. She is a bit shy, but hasn't bitten, or anything. She is just scared. If we had not purchased her, another mill, would have tried to breed her one more time. AKC says you can breed, till they are 10 years old.:( ..OR she would have been euthinized, and I don't think they do it with a needle, if you know what I mean.:(
Now, I have instructed Dr.McKinney, to hold off, doing ANYTHING to her yet, until I talk to you guys. Here is why. If we have her spayed, and a dental and all shots and tests done, we will spend around $300 dollars. I do not know if she is placeable, due to her age.We are not in the position of having a lot of extra money to play with here. As of today, we are in the red, but I know more donations are coming in. Here is my question. Do we spend the funds to take care of Miracle, and pray someone will adopt her? Of course this is what my heart is telling me, but we have to have all of these guys OUT of there by December 21. When I bought her, I knew there may be the chance, that she may not be adopted. We have NEVER had to make a decision like this, in the past. I need your help. DO you know of anyone who would give a loving home to "Miracle"? Because of her age, we will wave any adoption fee, and only charge the costs involved with flying. Please let me know..this is heavy on my mind. Thanks.
"

Well, right away, donations came in for Miracle. One couple, who had already adopted a mom and her puppy, sent the airfare, to fly Miracle to a new home. One of our volunteers, in California, asked me to send Miracle to her. As soon as the plans were made, THAT'S when we found Naomi. Naomi lives in California, and had recently helped her senior dog across the Rainbow Bridge. She felt as if "Miracle" was speaking to her. Here are the writings of Naomi, Miracle's new mom...after the first three days of adoption.:)


<Subject: Miracle says "Hi...and thank you all so much" from her new forever home...
Date: Sun, 12 December 1999 11:11 PM EST
Yes everybody, Miracle is here safe and sound with me in Fremont, CA...It's going to take a while to get her socialized, but she's bright eyed and attentive to everything going on around here...Obviously, there's alot going on in this house with 4 humans, 7 cats and 12 birds... aside from the humans, many of whom are rescues...She paces constantly...She seeks refuge in her crate
pushing out the soft, warm towel underneath her and preferring the hard, cold plastic surface...To me, that is a good sign...If she's capable of finding solace and peace somewhere, anywhere now, perhaps some time soon she'll be able to find it in my arms where she belongs...
I am keeping in mind tips my vet student daughter had gotten from a dog braviorist for her Peke where she needed to establish herself as Alpha dog with him so that he'd mind her...So we put a light collar and leash on Miracle so that she must drag it around all the time...24/7...I've also decided to approach Miracle as I would a very smart albeit unsocialized parrot....Since my expertise lately has been with birds...I'm not called The Bird Lady of
Ohlone Humane Society for nothing...LOL...In order to get the collar and leash on her we "towelled" her as one would a parrot, so while she was swaddled and held close,. the collar was gently fastened around her neck with surprisingly little resistence...I find it interesting how calm Miracle becomes when she's been approached by someone holding a leash.....She's been allowed to wander throughout the house sniffing and exploring...She's also free to
go in and out of her crate at will...She slept in her unlocked crate in our bedroom throughout the night from lights out until 7am when I got up to take my pills...She's also eating from a regular dog bowl instead of off the floor as I'd expected...She's semi-housebroken...just one little piddle in the morning before I could move my butt to get dressed and take her out...I take her outdoors in our front yard which is surrounded by a chainlink
fence...Since I'm disabled, I sit on a lawn chair holding onto Miracle's leash...She can run in a circle around my chair as far as the tether will allow, but the only way she gets to really go anywhere, is if I take her... just as if I had bird whose wings have been clipped sitting on my finger...In this way, just like with a bird, it is I who creates interesting diversity in her life as well as keeping her in a safe controlled
situation...Ultimately, I become equated with that sense of safety....In training a parrot, one way to achieve that is to turn their cage upside down on the floor with them in it, and then rescue them from their disorientation by telling them, to "step up" on your hand which they gratefully do...Miracle was delighted when we walked all around the the yard and she sniffed and explored to her heart's content...She also, at one point, did her business
so now I have a "reference" point to return her to...
She seems to really relate to other animals..in a positive way...A neighborhood dog stops to playbow on the other side of the fence...I don't allow her to get too close to him, of course, but she's very interested and seems like she'd love to join him if she could... As she passes by the various bird cages in our house, she frequently stops a moment in her pacing when one of them says, "Hello"...I've decided to try to teach them to say, "Hello,
Miracle"...Won't that be fun?...She's sniffed and checked out the cats too, but they couldn't care less...At this point, they're so sensitized they probably think she's just a different breed of large white Cockatoo..."Oh, no!! Not another bird!!!"
Well, it is only 24 hours that she's been here with us, and I'm happy to report that Miracle is well and doing even better than I'd expected.....At the rate Miracle is going, I predict she'll be happy to accompany me to this Spring's Bichon Picnic at Lake Elizabeth Park here in Fremont...I'm sure looking forward to that...
Thank you so much, particularly Jackie and Robin and all of you who took the time to write nice stuff about me on this board as well as emailing me personally...No, I'm not Mother Theresa...I'm just a 60 year old woman who loves all beings, no matter how many legs or toes they happen to have...My dream is that this world should be a "peaceable kingdom" where nobody gets abused by anybody... and, if I want to see that happen...well I just need to star
with myself....
With every good wish for a happy holiday season and beyond....Naomi Demby and Miracle>

<Subject: Miracle let my husband pet her...
Date: Mon, 13 December 1999 09:36 PM EST
Can you believe it?...She's still pacing...But, again, she slept through the night, is eating, drinking and eliminating normally...When my husband holds her leash so she is sitting at his feet, she'll allow him to pat the top of her head without flinching...She seems to prefer men...I'm so jealous...LOL...Best, Naomi

<Here are the first pix of Miracle, the dog I've rescued from a Missouri puppy mill...They are obviously BEFORE pix...The other dogs are good examples of what a Bichon Frise should look like and how she will look in a few months when she's been socialized and her hair grows out, God willing...Right now I feel like I'm working with a concentration camp refugee who acts like an autistic child, albeit a very bright one who is very willing to please...She's making wonderful progress day by day...

Robin is the rescuer in Oklahoma who actually schlepped to the puppy mills in Missouri, named her Miracle (because she managed to survive it), had her vet checked, inoculated and spayed and then shipped her by airplane on the only airline in the US who doesn't put animals in the hold of the plane...Jackie is the Bichon rescue person in the SF Bay area who received her and subsequently turned Miracle over to me...I know it will be a long haul, but sometimes that's what rescue is all about isn't it..Obviously, if I just wanted another dog I could've bought one from a pet shop...in all probability one that is supplied by puppy mills...

Makes for a nice Christmas story, don't you think?

Subject: More On Miracle...
Date: Tue, 14 December 1999 07:22 PM EST
Hi All:
Miracle's just full of surprises...She seems to grow and progress by the hour, not even the day!...This morning, only her third in our house mind you, she stood on her hind legs next to my side of the bed and pawed at me until I woke up and took her outdoors...She did all that she went out to do in record time too...
If that was not enough, she ate cheese from hand.. 3 times...Thank goodness for string cheese because it can be torn into small bite-sized bits...The first hunk she cheated a little and nosed it out of my hand onto the floor, but the other 2 she retrieved from my outstretched palm...When each morsel of cheese was finally gone she licked each fingertip looking for more, but I didn't want to spoil her breakfast so I left it at that...
This afternoon, after my husband repaired a large space in our chainlink fence between which she could have easily fit, I was able to allow her to run around our front yard without having to hold onto her leash...She's still having to drag the leash around all the time, of course, and will until she recognizes me as the one in charge...However, she was soooo delighted to be able to explore our/her yard at will, that she was ecstatic...Miracle may be
9 1/2 years old chronologically, but this afternoon she gamboled in the grass like a puppy with a huge grin all over her face and her tail held up high on her back like a happy banner..It was a pleasure to just sit there on the lawn chair and watch her enjoy herself....Just thought you'd like to know...Best, Naomi


Miracle, at Naomi's home

.

A close-up of Miracle at home.

UPDATE!!!
Subject: HURRAY!!!...Today is Miracle's 10th Birthday....
Date: 5/5/2000 6:48 PM Central Daylight Time
From: Flwrcrone@aol.com
Message-id: <20000505194842.14502.00001596@ng-fw1.aol.com>


Yes...she is 10 years old today...Miracle, whom many of you may remember, I adopted in 12/99 after a puppymill auction, is slowly but surely progressing into becoming a socialized Bichon...And what a delight she is...

As a matter of fact, it amazes me how far she's come in this short time...When she first came to live in our home in Fremont, CA (medium sized city between SF/Oakland and San Jose), she paced endlessly from one end of the house to the other...She would not allow herself to be touched at all. but would jump backwards in terror and run away if anyone even attempted to go near her...She found solace and peace in her crate and was always in there
except when she sneaked out briefly to eat or to go outdoors to relieve herself...Interaction between her and the human population of our home was not something she understood or relished...She was much too busy enjoying simple things in life that most dogs (and people) take for granted like running around with cool soft grass under her feet instead of the hard grinding, ever-present pain of the metal cage she'd lived in...She took to eating out of a
clean bowl and having a boutiful supply of fresh, cool water at her disposal, even though I was told she might prefer to eat off the floor at first...

She continued to mistrust us even though there were times when her natural intelligence and curiosity coupled with the (I think) inborn affectionate Bichon nature, made her stand on her hind legs at my bedside every morning and nuzzle me awake..She'd so exhaust herself after that that she'd quickly run back into her crate as soon as I showed signs of life...A few days after we'd adopted her, Miracle ran away...It felt like all of Fremont and
the immediate world was searching for her...Our own Jackie Linich made a few frantic phone calls and found her...Thank you again, Jackie...Some kind soul in my neighborhood put her the dropbox at the local Shelter where she was well cared for even though she was misidentified as a Poodle...Something seems to have happened to Miracle after her brief sojourn into "freedom"...It was almost as if something clicked in her mind..."Hmmm, these humans who
feed me and keep me warm aren't all as bad as I thought...How very strange...I almost like them, but I don't know what to do or how to show it..."

We adopted Cody, a homeless 3 year old neutered Cockapoo shortly thereafter...He's quite a guy, exuding manly confidence and loving enjoyment of people and of just being a dog...He's delighted with his life and knows exactly how to show it...Miracle learned "BEING A DOG 101" very quickly, thanks to Cody...She now allows herself to be bathed and brushed...She comes over to me to lick my hand and offer her head for a thorough scratching...She knows her
name and does come whenever I call her...Although she seems to prefer initiating interactions between us, she loves to be petted and once I start she'd like nothing better than that I'd never stop...She lays down beside me on the floor while I'm sitting on the couch and rests her head on top of my foot whilst I stroke her head and ears...Cody is definitely Alpha dog here, and so will not permit her up on the couch next to me and guards that perch
growling jealously...Miracle understands that kind of energy and cooperates....One night when Miracle was plaqued by a hot spot, Cody gave up his bed to her, apparently, so that she'd feel more comfortable...That's the only explanation my husband and I have been able to come up with...We woke up in the morning to find Miracle luxuriating in Cody's bed, the hard old crate forgotten...and Cody asleep on the floor...That very day, we bought Cody a new
bed and the funky crate was put in storage unmissed forevermore by us and Miracle...

Of course, some bad habits have been picked up from Cody as well as good ones, like barking innappropriately, for instance...and giving the household cats an exhilarating run around the house and yard whenever they please...The 2 dogs also get a bit too interested in our parrots from time to time...We have 14 as well as a Mama bird on eggs right now (does anybody out there want to buy an adorable talking baby Maxi Pionus Parrot?...Just thought I'd
ask...LOL)...The birds are a good match for them though, and one nip on the nose seems to be enough to keep Cody and Miracle in line...

So all in all, our pitiful puppymill survivor is pittiful no longer...She's become an integral member of our household; and I can't imagine our world without her....Thanx to all of you out in Bichonland who've helped to make that statement possible...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SWEET MIRACLE GIRL....

Best, Naomi