Five Days of Freedom – A Tribute to Ziva

Dear Friends,

Last week, we introduced you to one of our new rescues, a very special little Keeshond we named Ziva. The name Ziva means radiance, brilliance, light of God. It was the very perfect name for this enchanting and inspiring little dog. In the big picture of our mission, Ziva’s story is a very important one, so today, I want to share her story with you, start to finish.

Many of you know we are on the road rescuing mill dogs about every 3-4 weeks. Last week, on the second to last day of a week-long run, I received a request for a laid back, senior Keeshond from a couple who had recently lost one of theirs and wanted to give a wonderful home to another older Keeshond. Although we don’t see many Keeshonds, I remembered that I had just gotten two on a list from a breeder we had never received from before. On behalf of this couple, I sent the breeder an email inquiring about her Keeshonds. She replied saying that her males were still very active, but that she also had a laid back five-year-old female with a very sweet personality. She went on to say there was just one problem – the dog had no tail and no back feet – “her mama chewed them off when she was born”.

The breeder met our transporters along the Interstate. Darrell and Jennie were our rescuers on that run and they were appalled at the way this lady handled her dogs. She was careless and rough, even with little Ziva who clearly warranted some extra gentle handling. This is precisely where things can get very difficult for us – biting our tongues for the sake of saving these dogs is a great lesson in self control, believe me. We take our comfort in knowing they will never be handled that way ever again. From this woman, we took 2 Dachshunds, 2 Shelties, 1 Weimaraner and 1 Keeshond. We had 25 dogs in total and arranged our intake process for the day after their arrival at our facility. Most of her dogs were quite fearful, very dirty and all but the Dachshunds tested heartworm positive.

Many people volunteer during the intake process. Intake is a lot of work but also a lot of fun. It’s our first chance to interact closely with the dogs and we begin the process of giving them a voice for the first time in their lives. They receive an ID collar, vaccinations, deworming, photos, lots of hugs and gentle care, a cursory vet exam and a NAME! On this day, we christened our little Keeshond girl, Ziva! She immediately stole the hearts of everyone she met. She was very timid but at the same time, gentle and kind. A soft little soul, a survivor. Although she was quiet, she was fairly active, in her own way – displaying no signs of distress or health concerns. Witnessing her moving around was a lesson in adaptability and gave you a clear sense of her fighting spirit. For me, Ziva brought Lily right to the forefront of my thoughts and feelings. For Ziva, there would be a bigger purpose. I felt that right away.

Our local news station came out to document this latest intake and like everyone else, they were completely captivated by Ziva. She became an immediate phenomenon – a little inspiring miracle dog. They actually ran the news piece two nights in a row. Right away, many of our Facebook & Twitter fans fell in love with her. Applications to adopt Ziva started coming in from as far away as Virginia.

Early Monday morning, just five days after Ziva’s rescue, I received a call from a volunteer who had just arrived at the kennel to give morning medications to the dogs. She was crying… hard. My heart immediately began pounding. Frantically, I asked her what was wrong. Gathering herself she replied, “It’s Ziva… she has died.” In that moment, I experienced the utmost sense of dread imaginable. I absolutely did not want this to be true. I wanted to still be asleep. I wanted to hang up the phone. I actually asked the volunteer to please check her closely, perhaps she was still breathing, perhaps there would be still be something we could do to save her. I cannot ever remember feeling so helpless. Like all of our dogs, we wanted Ziva to have a wonderful rest of her life, we wanted to make up for the years of neglect and loneliness, and we knew a fabulous forever home was right around the corner… But for Ziva, this wouldn’t be. Devastated, Dee and I took Ziva’s body from the kennel to one of our vets in town for a necropsy. It was determined that the cause of death was an overwhelming load of heartworms leading to a fatal condition called “Caval Syndrome”. This can come on very suddenly with no prior signs of distress, which explain why Ziva appeared in such good spirits only hours before she died. Heartworm disease is 100% preventable, but sadly it’s common in many puppy mills where dogs live in their own feces and receive no veterinary care.

I am so very sorry to share this incredibly sad news with all of you. The sadness and suffering this industry puts upon our “best friends” can be totally overwhelming for us, too. However, I promise you that we will never give up. For many of us, this mission is our life and until every last one of these prisons of misery is gone, we will be here to give these dogs a voice. Despite our lack of space, the first order was to pick up the remaining dogs that were still with the breeder. Those 5 dogs are now in our care. I am grateful to each and every one of you for keeping our rescuers, our volunteers, our vet staff and most importantly, our dogs in your thoughts each day and for sharing the truth about this industry. There is indeed great power in numbers and to each of you who supports our efforts in a variety of ways, you are fighting right along with us and helping to make a difference. Thank you all so much.

To Ziva: I am so sorry for your suffering and your loneliness at the hands of a fellow man. I am so sorry we didn’t come sooner. I hope that when you were with us, you finally felt safe and loved. I think you did, as we noticed a light come into your eyes over the few days you were with us. I thank you for giving us five very special days of your spirit and your heart. I believe you held on for five years in misery and then lived five days in freedom with us so that we could learn to love you and share your story with the world. Please believe me when I say, I will see to it that your life will not be in vain. Another mission begins…

Ziva, you, in all your courage, were such a bright spot for us and I promise that your memory will live on in our work always.

Theresa Strader

 
Please share!

140 Responses to “Five Days of Freedom – A Tribute to Ziva”

  1. PnP

    That last picture says it all. Despite her horrible life, she found love and happiness and she was blessed to have those last days happy and free. You saved her and I am confident she felt safe and pampered and adored those last hours. Thank you for all you do for these pups, I hope to be able to visit Colorado at some point and help you all, you all do amazing things for these animals!

    Reply
      • Barbara Jablonski

        Prayers, sweet angel! I’m sorry you suffered, sweet girl! May you run free! Bless you! Bless the rescuers that gave you love! Rip baby girl!

        Reply
    • Razz Amatazz

      I think the last picture says it all also. She found love and happiness. In 5 days NMDR gave Ziva what her capture refused to do in 5 years. I just watch this angel’s video and she had my heart right from the start. I will never for as long as I live beyond any stretch of the imagination understand how any human being can do these foul things to man’s best and loyal friend. Even after 5 years of neglect I have no doubt one kind word or touch from her capture Ziva would have forgiven them. For that is what dogs do, they forgive. I want to lash out and shake my hands up and cruse the gods for letting this happen but I’m afraid if I do that I’ll do more harm than good. I already feel as if I don’t do enough, but I’ll tell you this. I’m listening and paying attention now. I’m not turning my head anymore thinking if I don’t know about it it ain’t happening. I thank NMDR for that. You open my eyes and as hard as it has been to look I can’t thank you enough. My eyes are wide open and I’m listening. I will spread the word about the evils of puppy mills for the rest of my days and I will always be one of your biggest supporters. I never meet Lily or Ziva but I can honestly say I’ll never forget them. R.I. P. sweet Ziva you’ll always be loved and never forgotten.

      Reply
      • Marla gurney

        That was beautifully said, and you expressed exactly my feelings. Bless everyone who helps these poor babies. I only hope there is an end to this horrible suffering sooner rather than later.

        Reply
      • Nancy Mullins - Ann Davis

        Razamatazz said the very words I would. I am spreading the word about Lily and Ziva as much as I can in Mi. When I get my health back (it’s not been a good year), I’m going to do as much volunteering as I can. I am 68 and on fixed income, but I have time to give, and I will! For Lily, Ziva, and Lorina and all the other wonderful beings you save!

        Reply
    • Anonymous

      My heart goes out to ziva and to your staff. What you do makes such a difference to the babies lives and to the wonderful people who adopt them. Never give up, you have a special heart.

      Reply
    • jacqueline simmons

      I know you wanted.her to have a great forever home for that is the dream of all the angels like you and your great organizations like yours. But you gave her those five days of tender loving care and you can really believe she felt love and care for the first time. Although she was not able to stay for all of you to find her a foever home I know you k ow that she is now in the most loving compassionate love that there is and she is running and playing wit the angels at rainbow bridge. You and peopl like you and all organizations that reach out give a loving hand to those being abused..that are hurt..sick..or in pain are the vessels through which God works to reach those who can not help themselves. Her legacy as the
      As is the legacy of all those you save is that all of you carry them inyour hearts. And for everyone you save now or in the future you can say this is for all you angels.looking on frome rainbow bridge. They are saying thanks earth angels for helping Fagin and again!

      laecy of all that you have saved Randall ofnyou and all of those like is you carry them all in yournheart

      Reply
    • kathy wright

      That was so heart wrenching, I wish u had gotten to her sooner, I cant stand to see a animal of anykind suffer, my daughter says I try to save them all. She was so cute, poor baby loosing her back feet and tail that way. Id like to take all the dogs away from those horrible people

      Reply
    • sandy hobson

      Makes my eyes swell up in tears. So sorry people r so cruel an sorry u didn’t no what a bed felt like. But u did no kind faces an touch! ! God bless u Zima u r truly a light to behold♡

      Reply
    • Elizabeth White

      God bless and keep Ziva and give her peace and joy. God bless all those who helped this baby and so many others. Please give the strength and courage to be a voice for the voiceless.

      Reply
      • Debbie Mahoney

        This is so sad and heartbreaking. ThankGod yoou are thete to save these precious ones from their savage breeders. I wouldnt be able to control myself. Hugs tbrough tears!

        Reply
    • rhonddacotterell

      at least pot little Ziva had a few moments of freedom in loving arms run free little one at the bridge

      Reply
    • rhonddacotterell

      at least poor little Ziva had a few moments of freedom in loving arms run free little one at the bridge

      Reply
    • ellen

      Omg I can’t stop crying. My dachshund neily was in a cage his first year of life I live home so much. These people need to be punished for this i mean really punished

      Reply
    • Norma Hurt

      you are so right, it looked like she was smiling, through all her pain. bless you all for all you do. sure wish we could get rid of all
      those back yard breeders. they are horrible. the dogs are always in bad shape.

      Reply
  2. Denise Massaro

    I am just speechless!! My heart goes out to that precious little furbaby. The cruel acts toward these helpless creatures boggles my mind. How can these monsters (puppy mill breeders) live with themselves? My own dog, a Cavapoo, was rescued from an Amish breeder when he and his sister were only 12 weeks old. The Amish farmer intended on shooting the puppies because they were the last 2 that he couldn’t sell. Really???? Only 12 weeks old???? MONSTER!!!!!! We got our precious Cooper from a pet rescue and he has made our family complete. I couldn’t imagine our house without him. Saddens me to think about the other puppies who were not so lucky. Thank you for all your hard work and I will say a prayer for Ziva. All of you will meet her one day at the Rainbow Bridge. 🙂

    Reply
    • Carol

      I See on the computer that the Amish have some of the worst Puppy Mills and they see nothing wrong with murdering any of the dogs…then they proclaim how much they love God.. makes me sick

      Reply
      • rhonddacotterell

        carol the Amish are hypocrites how can they say they love good and why does the government let them get away with it their not a religion but a cult

        Reply
  3. Millie in KY

    Run free on new legs, Ziva and the angels will care for you until we can come and be with you.
    Teresa, she had 5 days of love and affection and didn’t feel any pain, maybe a little tiredness. She just slipped away so you all didn’t have to make a heartbreaking decision. What a brave little soul she is….
    Hugs….

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Wow this write up on Ziva is amazing. My heart is so heavy with sadness, pain and disgust. Thank you Theresa for all you and your volunteers do for these babies. Keep doing what you do, those of us that are HUGE animal lovers commend you! One day I will be a volunteer for NMDR, this is my calling.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      it breaks my heart people treat any animal like that I have Chihuahuas but if a another dog needs a place to stay my door is always open I take good care of my kids they may be four legged but they are my family

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Ziva and all who rescued her have my heart and my tears……….my sorrow for Ziva and my greater intent to begin my volunteer work with Mill Dog Rescue! Poor Ziva, but kudos and hugs to all who helped her escape even for a few days. <3

    Reply
  5. Cindy D.

    You did your best for her and you continue to do your best for many, many others. She was on her way to a better life and altho she never reached that place, she died in a loving and peaceful place rather than the hellhole that she had grown up in. The work you do is so important and I know that I and my NMDR dog, Seneca, thank you so much, as I’m sure Ziva did in her heart.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    We just unexpectedly saved $$ on something that did not materialize. That $$ will be forthcoming to you in honor of Ziva. Her life had a purpose for the Greater Good, as did Lily’s. May blessings permeate every fiber of NMDR! With love…

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Thank you Theresa for filling us in on the horribly sad news on poor little Ziva. I read the post last nite that she had passed and cried. I could not sleep last night with that sad thought in my mind. I can not even imagine how all of you at NMDR felt after having spent some time with that precious, special little girl. God Bless you all for the work that you do for these wonderful animal. You are the voice for the voiceless it seems. I commend you all and I pray for you all. Hoping to get out soon to do some voluneer work as I live in Colorado Springs. Keep up the great work and continue showing your love! God Bless you and Ziva!! I hope the “breeder” pays for this.

    Reply
  8. kathy gonzalez

    I am so deeply distraught by this news, I can’t stop crying. Ziva, you will never feel pain again only love for the rest of your eternal life. You captured my heart. RIP xoxo

    Reply
  9. Judy Jarke

    I am so sorry for the loss of Ziva. What a beautiful little creature! I applaud & support your work at NMDR, especially since I have just celebrated my first year with my forever girl, Stella. She came home with me from one of your foster homes last Labor Day and what a joy! I have 3 adopted dogs & I cannot imagine life without them!

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Thank you Theresa for sharing such an emotional, sad story with this world. You are always in my prayers as well as the dogs you rescue. Ziva’s life has not been in vain. God Bless all of you.
    Donna Luciani

    Reply
  11. Lynne Fracassi

    Theresa and all the exceptional people at NMDR,
    The only thing in this life of mine that can make me cry is the stories of animals. I use the letter that was written about Lily at ordinance committee meetings, trying to get them to feel the pain, if just for a moment that these dogs go through mentally and physically.
    I will use this story (if I may?)at my next meeting to try to get our ban on pups and kittens being sold in pet shops passed.
    Ziva was a beautiful girl and I am glad she was with all of you at the end. My heart hurts for you and my soul aches for her and all the mill dogs. Someday we will see an end to this industry. We will just keep on using our god given voices for the dogs in the mills!!!! Thank you for inspiring me every single day.

    Lynne Fracassi
    Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills

    Reply
  12. Donna Q

    Thanks for the update. My heart aches for these animals and I have such respect for you that can do this job. Thanks for everything you do. You r truly special people….including my cousins (Carol and Leo).
    Love to Ziva…

    DONNA Q
    Ft Worth TX

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    “If dogs don’t go to heaven, when I die I want to go wherever they went.”

    — Attributed to Will Rogers

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I was horrified to hear that is the stance of religious bodies too. I refuse to believe it and want to be wherever my dogs and cats go, because I know it is not hell.

      Reply
    • Kimberly Jensen

      THey certainly don’t go to hell but animals don’t do anything but turn back to dust after they die. I lvoe animals like nothing else bu tall that stuff about them “running free on eternal beaches” is kinda ridiculous.

      Reply
    • Dora

      No more ridiculous than the thought of going to heaven and floating around on a cloud or playing a harp or something. If animals turn to dust, I’m sure I will too, and that’s just fine. A person I respected greatly said that heaven and hell are just the feelings people have about you after you die. If they regret your passing, you’ve gone to heaven. If they’re glad you’re gone, or don’t care, you’re in hell. So MANY people regret Ziva’s passing. Guess which way she went????? Which way are you going?

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      Kimberly where dogs, cats and other animals go when they die is the exact same place you will go. You my dear are an animal as well.

      Reply
  14. Katrina

    To stop these brutalities and tortures of countless and helpless small creatures we simply have to start a petition and demand our congressman and senators to introduce a bill that will STOP such brutalities FOR GOOD…It is a shame that our country USA allows such sufferings and tortures of innocent animals…
    Katrina.

    Reply
    • Renate

      Yes I want to see these laws implemented in days not weeks it doesn’t need to take time if the responsible people are speaking out to protect our friends the animals and shut down all puppy mills and don´t allow pet shop owners to sell puppies that come from puppy mills. the law should also say that all people that want to buy dogs should buy them from animal shelters and give these dogs and cats a loving home for which they waiting far to lo9ng already.
      What a madness it is to bread dogs when on the other hand there are 1.5000 dogs being killed every year, this is all insane.

      Reply
      • Jan Rice

        There was a law passed in Missouri a few years back that would have put a huge crimp on the puppy mills that can be found everywhere (I live within 1/2 mile of one). Unfortunately, our governor and elected representatives caved to the large corporations and “undid” everything the voters had accomplished. They listen only to the $$$ and it makes me so mad they think they are more powerful than the voters who gave them their positions in politics.
        As for Ziva, she DID find heaven. It was called NMDR and her angels freed her. Rest in perfect peace. Ziva. You fought your way through hell and died in the heavenly peace provided by the caring souls at NMDR. Bless all of you for your work.

        Reply
        • Jill

          I saw your comment on NMDR. I too live in Missouri and realized the last farm bill did away with Prop B of a few years ago. I am sick. Most people who voted for the farm bill didn’t even know what they were voting for. It is somewhat encouraging that there are a few Missourians like yourself still out there. Thank goodness for organizations like NMDR who do all they can.

          Reply
  15. Anonymous

    My heart aches for you all in this tough loss. You give the dogs so much love and good care. Thank you and know that she is at peace. HUGS

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    i had tears rolling down my face as i was rearing Ziva’s story.She was blessed to have 5 days of love and kindness and im sure this gorgeous wee lady went to sleep knowing she was loved.Fantastic job NMDR.true hero’s

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    The Bible states the spirit of every animal goes back to God. I believe that God is love, so they live in heaven in love. Someday when all if done on earth there will be a renewing. Then Ziva will be given a new body and will live in one of the heavenly places. She will never know any pain, or heartbreak again. Bless you for giving her 5 days of love, before she left this world.

    Reply
    • Jacquie

      I believe this to be true. We serve an amazing and loving God. Dogs truly are man’s best friend and it brings comfort knowing these precious dogs will be renewed and will have a new body and will only know love.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      Every living thing has that Divine blue spark of life. Everything is a part of “God”. That “Blue Spark” our egos are not.

      Reply
  18. Writing Nag

    I am so sorry for your loss. And I’m so happy that in Ziva’s short time with you she felt so much love and touched so many people. Thank you for doing what you do for these beautiful animals.

    Reply
  19. Shawn Goodwin

    I have tears streaming down my face, sobs being choked back. I have already posted the story on my Reiki/Prayers for Pets & Humans Page on FB, my Rainbow Bridge Candle is lit & I will look for Ziva’s star before I go to bed tonite! Thank you for giving her the five most wonderful days of her life! Without all of you she would never have known ANY UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! I am sending Reiki to all of the volunteers also, b/c I cannot begin to imagine how heart broken you all are! I have whispered to my Bridge Kidz to make sure Ziuva is taken under their paws & that she reigns supreme at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Sweet Ziva, may you reign supreme at the Rainbow Bridge, may you know love, joy, compassion unlike the suffering you knew on earth. My heart is broken by what happened to you! My candle is lit for you sweet Ziva & I will look for YOUR STAR tonite! I have whispered to my Bridge Kidz to meet you at the Rainbow Bridge Gates & take you under their paws b/c you are extra special. RIP Darling, RIP!
    Animal & Pet Support Group
    Ziva’s Story Will Be Told. She lived only five days in freedom. Born in the squalor of a Kansas ‘puppy mill’ five years ago; this female Keeshond had her back feet and tail chewed off by her mother while she was still a puppy.. Considered damaged goods and not saleable to the pet stores, she was rescued from the puppy mill by National Mill Dog Rescue out of Peyton, Colorado.

    Five short days into freedom from the puppy mill, Ziva tragically died of severe heartworm disease.

    Timid, scared, filthy, and walking only on her front legs, she finally was able to experience kindness and compassion during her few days of freedom. She was bathed, treated gently and loved greatly. No longer just a number, she was named Ziva, reflecting the brightness and fighting spirit she exhibited. Her gentle spirit and touching story greatly inspired all who met her, as well as thousands who never had the chance.

    Five days – then death from a preventable disease that is horrifyingly common in puppy mills. Ziva lived in freedom just long enough for the light to come into her eyes and to share her story. Five short days . . . but that is five more days than thousands upon thousands of dogs barely surviving in the horrible conditions of wire cages and pens at puppy mills throughout the country will ever know.

    Seven of the eleven dogs rescued from this breeder also tested positive for heartworm disease. Ziva, however, whose gentle spirit forever touches our hearts, died with a name, with love and tenderness, finally free from the wretched confines of the puppy mill in which she spent her life.
    Please take a few minutes to view and share this short video, produced for National Mill Dog Rescue by Jenesis Productions (producers of I Breathe), which tells the story of Ziva.

    Ziva was rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue. This unique, quiet and charming Keeshond quickly captured hearts and finally got the love she deserved..

    National Mill Dog Rescue’s mission is featured in the documentary, I Breathe. It is available at https://www.createspace.com/314592. You can also rent or buy it on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/I-Breathe-revised/dp/B005C5UJFO

    Read ‘A Tribute to Ziva’ – the touching, inspirational letter written by Theresa Strader, founder of National Mill Dog Rescue here:
    http://nationalmilldogrescue.blogspot.com/2012/09/five-days-of-freedom-tribute-to-ziva.html
    Being of Cherokee Heritage I know that what Native Americans say is true…One common theme in Native American folklore is kindness to animals, especially dogs. Heroes or heroines who show kindness to a dog or a wild animal are usually rewarded, whereas people who mistreat animals are headed for an unhappy ending or at least a comeuppance..

    Reply
  20. Cori Salmons

    Beautiful Ziva, mhy heart breaks for you. Your death will not go unnoticed. As a Keeshond owner I know hat there is no gentler, loving dog around. September 25th, there will be a Pups Parade at the State Capitol in Lansing Michigan. We are walking against puppy mills and Ziva, your picture will be on my sign. You deserved much more than you got, for five days is only a flash of life.

    RIP beautiful Ziva…. I look forward to our meeting at the bridge some day.

    Reply
  21. stu

    So very sad to read this. We are the proud owner of a Keeshond (and have had them in the past)and the picture of Ziva caught my eye. She clearly was in what we jokingly call the “teenage years,” where color changes and they look nothing like the dog they’ll grow up to be. It’s heartbreaking to know Ziva will never become that adult dog. God bless you and your organization for saving so many like her.

    Reply
  22. Joyce

    By the look of her face she was happy. Five days was no where near enough, but I’m so grateful you were able to give her those days. I have to believe there is that beautiful place in the sky where Ziva and so many dogs are whole, happy and free. Vanessa is right you can’t not watch the video and not cry. Run to the light sweet Ziva and be free!

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    I’ve just heard about this and I understand her heartworm issue but why, oh why, do have they have to leave so soon after getting a new life out of that hell? Only five days but five full days of the love she never before had.

    Reply
  24. Anonymous

    That was not a Breeder! True breeders love their dogs and take impecable care of them. that was… I don’t even know what to call it.

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    This breaks my heart, that is all I can say right now. God Bless National Mill Dog Rescue!

    Reply
  26. Denise Geary

    Thank you so so much for rescuing Ziva and giving her the oppotunity to learn human love and respect. In the afterlife she now has your love to carry her through and as love is eternal and never dies her love is with you also. God bless you all and enjoy heaven little Ziva xxx <3

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    I’m not a dog person, but I’ll tell you, it hurts so much to see a single creature hurt and poor Ziva who’s heart was giving out gave her last beat to those who loved her for those 5 days.

    Reply
  28. Anonymous

    COuld barely read the entire story thriugh The Tears. . .thank you for giving Ziva some love & comfort in her final days. . .thank you for ALL you do!

    Reply
  29. amapola53

    thank you Theresa for what you are doing for these lovely creatures of God–our best friends! I have no words really… poor poor Ziva! Wish she had lived a little longer but i am glad her last 5 days, she somehow experienced all the love and care she did not get in her very short life.

    Reply
  30. Matt Hornbeck

    I still feel cheated. I hadn’t been able to volunteer at NMDR for a couple of years but the story of Ziva moved me to figure out a way to go visit this amazing little dog. When I got to the kennel, early afternoon, I was told she passed away earlier that morning. One day earlier and I could have met this brave spirit, sat with her in her kennel, and held her on my lap. But, no.

    For someone to have the ability to put Ziva through the torment of her life, prior to being rescued, is beyond me. These people should hope that hell does not exist. If it does, they have a very special place in it.

    Reply
  31. Tamara

    Ive owned two keeshounds. They are wonderful dogs. So sorry to hear about Ziva’s past. At least she felt love in those last 5 days. Bless you all for what you do!

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    wow what a sad story I want to kill that bitch of a woman I have no patience ands I need to find some to help the dogs I have a puppy mill baby so now I hate them even more whats wrong with these morons I want to just take them lock them away somewhere n teach them better ways OMG! I cant stand this anymore my mind is so boggled for the want to help these little darlings !

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  33. Veve

    Dear Teresa, I have no words, I admire you so much, my heart is broken with Ziva´s story, thank you so much for sharing everything.

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    I am crying so hard poor little ziva.I hope you get all of the dogs from this person bound for hell. Please update on your progress you are a hell of a woman Teresa stradar a hell of a person.

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  35. Anonymous

    no words can describe what i feel x this sorry low life baster, who hurt this baby’s just to make some profit i hope they burn in hell. it make me so mad i reed time after time how this abuser get away with this crime. man is anybody out there to help this poor dog’s cat’s anybody help this poor creature from baster’s like this. hell with this people they harm and injure this help less animal’s just b cus our state or local government do nothing to stop this crime is like having a rock instead of hearth.

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  36. Anonymous

    My heart is crying and tears are falling so hard for this baby. I teach high school and am going to show this video on Monday….partly because the kids need to know about your organization., how they can help, and how many animals live day by day, but also to tie it in with how much Ziva went through.
    How brave she was and even though she definitely was different, she was accepted and loved by others. That’s how they need to look at the ones around them who are “different” too. It doesn’t make them any less loveable or wanted. Maybe I can help in a small way by showing this and helping to stop the bullying and ridicule that goes on among teens.

    Reply
  37. Cindy

    This broke my heart but the work you are doing is AMAZING! Isn’t there S
    OME way oh this earth the puppy mills can be shut down permanently? There has GOT to be some senator somewhere who will listen or something. I am still crying. I adore animals and that is just heart breaking. Like she said, it has got to stop!

    Reply
    • Renate

      yes it is so heartbreaking it always makes me cry to being aware of the unthinkable suffering of our best friends and it angers me why there hell on earth the governors in charge are not stopping this trade this horror industry. I demand to shut all puppy mills down and all animal lover want the same.
      I thank you Teresa and your stuff and volunteers to do this for the animals, you are the only true loving angels on this earth.
      And wonderful that ziva this sweet dog had 5 days the touch of love and care from you, I am deeply sorry that she has passed away, I send her love to the dog heavens right now and say sweet loving thinks to her.

      Reply
  38. Joan Tully

    I am setting here crying over little Ziva, . as an ex volunteer for mill dog, I know the love and attention all the dogs get and I am sure Ziva had so much love in her last days.
    I moved to Calif. is the reason I no longer volunteer. Now I am back but live in Castle pines . Also My Husband has Alzheimer’s so I can’t be active right now. I do plan to try and attend the adoption fairs in highland ranch and Castle rock when there are any.
    My heart is always with Mill dog.
    joan Tully

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  39. 7ec95464-647b-11e1-8826-000bcdcb2996

    I sat and cried when I read the letter to “Martha”, the breeder of Lily, then I cried when I read her story, and more crying when I read abot Ziva and her video story. Then I watched the video of the woman with her white dog being put to sleep and bawled with her, as I remember the dog of mine I had to have put to sleep, my last beloved Dottie, our last Dalmatian. It was like every other animal I had to put to sleep, except in the story of Lilly and Ziva, my dogs had long, and well loved and cared for lives. They all lived years past their breeds normal life span, and not to offend the dogs, but I also have had and still do, cats. The last one I lost was almost 20, The vet said my love and will were the only things that kept her alive. I have my animals buried in their own cemetery on our farm. I applaud the work you are doing. I can not fathom the kind of people who torture these poor dogs this way. We really need a strict national code for breeders, and it needs to be enforced!! Please keep up the good work. Ny love and hugs to all your volunteers and the wonderful work they do. God has put special love in their hearts. ‘

    Reply
  40. Perros y Gatos

    Hola amig@ bloguer@: veo que tienes un blog genial, con buenos e interesantes datos.

    Quisiera compartir contigo y tus lectores más información relevante sobre la raza de Keeshond (Wolfspitz) y un video de fotos del Keeshond.

    Espero que te guste mi espacio de “Perros y Gatos” y dejame un comentario si te apetece

    Saludos desde España

    Reply
  41. Anonymous

    aw that is so sad.poor baby.i I want to say thank you to everyone at the rescue.all of you are heroes.

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  42. marty

    all i can do is cry for this baby.i have a rescue from abuse and i love this mutt more than words can express.ziva needed more and would have had more if not for her already being so sick.thanks for what you did and continue to do and thank your drivers for being stronger than me. maybe i could come follow them around and after ya’ll left with the babies i could teach them some lesson on compassion.i could put them in a position where they would need it first,so they could understand what compassion is.i believe if we did all worthless breeders that way we would change their way of life. they would be working with ya’ll if able. i can dream ……RIP SWEET DARLING LITTLE BABY

    Reply
  43. joyce

    So sorry for Ziva that she lived a very difficult life, and yet so blessed she had five days of love and care in your hands. May she rest in peace in rainbow heaven and forever remain an example of those awful puppy mills that destroy the lives of so many dogs.

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  44. mary

    Today is April 13,2014 and is the first tihave loads of fun.
    me I have read Ziva”s story and believe me it tears my heart out.. Just last Thursday I had to take my Little Britches to get her Angel Wings because I could not watch her struggle so hard, she would have continued on in her horrible distress but I had to tell her goodbye, its okay baby just go to the light wonderful folks are there to meet you. That was the only thing I could do for her was to let her fly free. You see she was a 10 y/o rescue that I had for about a year and she was a cutie pie. But I know I did the right thing for her, and although I do not know what her first years were like I know her last year full of love and happiness. Ziva hope you and Little Britches meet and play together and

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  45. karen

    I did okay reading fairly well until you wrote your words and promises to Ziva. I sobbed, the tears fell, my family stares at me..AGAIN.. I don’t care, this just breaks my heart, totally/

    Reply
  46. Joan

    Fly with the angels precious girl for that you don’t need your legs, One day these people and I use that word loosely will pay, I have 2 darling little girls that are my whole life, they have a lot of problems and for this I blame their breeders, I don’t care what it costs to keep them well I am happy to sell everything I have to make sure their lives are nothing but perfect. God bless all our four legged furbabies, they all deserve to be loved and adored.

    Reply
  47. GrandMom

    These puppy mill dogs need to be removed and the mill burned to the ground. The “breeders” need to be sent to prison.

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  48. Shelley

    Ziva, what a beautiful baby you were and I am so glad you had some love and a safe place to stay for a short time until you passed. This should have never happened to you and shame on the breeders that did this to you. Boy if you were my baby I would have spoiled you and loved you to death I know that you are an Angel in heaven. I am sure God needed you to take care of the babies at the Rainbow Bridge RIP and run free. God bless your soul and I am praying for you. My love and kisses to you xoxox

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  49. Theresa

    Rest in peace Ziva. You are no longer suffering at the hands of your evil ex-handler. God has called you so you can experience real love and compassion. You are now able to run, smile. laugh and be free to go wherever your free spirit wants to go. Rest assure that your evil and demonic ex-handler will come face to face with God one day and she will have to answer to all her evil deeds.
    Have a beautiful life in Heaven, Riva.

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  50. Sue

    Ziva knew moments of tenderness and loving care. As far as the breeder – karma. I hope she is put out of business by some authority. God bless you all for your wonderful work.

    Reply
  51. Penny

    this is a sad story. I am crying also. She was a sweetie I can tell just by the pictures. I’m very glad she didn’t have to die without feeling loved or cared about. I know the feeling of feeling lost and helpless. I felt that way when our dog Buddy died. I wanted him to raise his head up when I talked to him I didn’t want to let go. I loved him so very much. And to this day I miss him and its been at least 2 years since he died. every time I see a black lab dog I think of him. I want to say thank you with all of my heart for all that you do to save the animals and for caring as much as you do. May God Richly Bless You. as I think you are the pets guardian angels. I’m very sorry if some of this doesn’t make sense, I hope you will forgive me.

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  52. Blanche

    As a foster mom, I got to see first hand how happy a dog can be when freed from restraint. He was five and acted like a puppy with the joy of being able to play freely, and be cuddled every day. Lucky for him he found the perfect forever home and continues every day knowing what a joy life can be. That Ziva only experienced this for a couple of days is heart breaking. That her owner was too neglectful to give one pill one day once a month is so inexcusable and infuriating. That woman should be in jail. I deeply admire the endless restraint you all must endure for the love of these babies. Thank you for doing what you do. It requires great strength and character.

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  53. Joyce Curtis

    Knowing her and her courage gave you the courage you need to continue doing the wonderful work of saving these sweeties.

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  54. Gypsie Peterson

    My heart breaks every time I see a story on how these beautiful souls are treated in puppy mills, but it breaks even more so after reading the story of Ziva, what a truly inspiring dog she was to survive for all those years in such a poor and and disgusting environment , and sadly to only have 5 days of love for which she should have had from the very beginning..but I guess that is better than no love at all..I have lit a candle in memory of beautiful Ziva and for all the other dogs that continue to suffer on a daily basis at the hands of these monsters..who have no compassion except greed in their hearts..RIP Ziva, your message is loud and clear…and thankyou to the rescuers and vets that do everything in their power to save these precious souls…:-((

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  55. Linda Tylich

    I can’t type because I’m crying so hard. God bless you for all you do for Puppy Mill Dogs. I do own a rescue myself. It makes me think of what he went through. Five days, she finally found someone to rescue her and she died because of those horrible people. I really hope that she felt the love. Not long enough, but long enough to go in peace. RIP little Ziva.

    Reply
  56. bree

    God bless this sweet baby girl so sorry she passed away. She is on the the rainbow bridge in good health and happiness. God bless you all of your hard work. My Luna was a mill survivor only had het 4 short years then she passed 3 nonths ago
    I’m heartbroken. People have to stop treating animals like this. Love you all.

    Reply
  57. Linda

    such a beautiful baby. so sorry for your loss and sorry sweet baby that you were treated so badly. glad you found some love and kindness. oh my how can people be so cruel. Thank you for saving her and giving her the love she deserved.

    Reply
  58. Sue Lund

    God bless all of you for the work you do! I am heartbroken for you and all who helped Ziva. You have my very heartfelt condolences! You did all you could to save her. You did give her 5 days of love and freedom and I know she felt that!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Rest In Peace sweet and gentle Ziva – you are in God’s arms now!!

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  59. Sarah Garcia

    OMG, r u kidding me. i cant stop crying from the beginning, and when she passed. L cn’t believe it. That little girl deserved to have had a better life, but dont they all. Still it breaks my heart that people would and will do this to such a precious animal species. No one really knows how much pain and suffering these dogs go through after multiplying WAY, WAY more than they should in one life time. I am just sooooooooooo very greatful, and happy, that there is National Mill Dog Rescue. To me, that is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in these animals lives.

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  60. Tammie Resha

    This story broke my heart. I had never read it before. I don’t understand how people could let a living creature live in such conditions. Thank the Lord she was rescued and knew what it was like to be loved and cared for if only for a short while. I think charges should be brought against breeders with puppy mills that allow their animals to get in such a condition. It’s absolutely horrible.Hopefully with stories like this people will understand how this should be stopped. As long as we stay quiet it will continue. Education is the key to stopping these pupple mills Thank you so much for sharing Ziva’s story. Bless little Ziva.

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  61. Marie

    I can’t stand the cruelty in this world anymore. Are these dogs registered with the AKC? If so, can they not monitor these kennels and have guidelines? Is there such a thing? I’m so glad you are doing what you do, I would be catatonic everyday.

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  62. Avis Holt

    I can’t see it anywhere but was Ziva still used as a breeding dog for those five years in hell, even with her disability? If that’s true, I am even more disgusted with that breeder. Thank you NMDR for educating us even further on these dastardly monsters. I pray the message reaches far and wide to stop this horrible practice.

    Reply
  63. Lloyd Cafran

    Ziva…we love and miss you, I know you now can enjoy your eternal freedom, we will continue to remember you and all the dogs and other pets who should be free…God Bless.

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  64. Alice Hauck

    Sweet Ziva
    A beautiful blessing–you my baby taught us humans a lesson of compassion and love
    Thank you sweet baby—I am so glad you were rescued and knew a gentle human touch and love.
    You my lil sweetie along with your kennel mates should have known gentleness instead of roughness and cruelty.
    RUN FREE SWEET BABY AND I MEAN RUN—-NO MORE PAIN. NO MORE CRUELTY. BUT ONLY LOVE AND LIGHT AS YOU KNEW WITH YOUR RESCUERS.
    I hate PUPPY MILLS and will support them being abolished. To me they rate with DOG FIGHTING IN GREED AND CRUELTY

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  65. Michelle Ochs

    BLESS you for the work you do, for without you none of these dogs would have received a second chance. I love that Ziva had five days of love from you guys, and it makes me sad for all the babies that die in the puppy mills with no one ever to care for them or love them. Ziva was SO beautiful, she deserved a little bit of happiness, and in the end, she got just that. Please let me know how I can help abolish puppy mills EVERYWHERE. I will sign petitions, I will donate money, I will write letters. ANYTHING. Let’s STOP THE SUFFERING! Bless your organization, bless you.

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  66. Claudine Criner

    Thanks God that Ziva did not spend her last moments alone and in terrible breeders cages. You showed her love in her last moments and that, I’m sure, meant so much to her.

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  67. Pat fleming

    I believe some things happen for a reason, this sweet innocent babe lived for a reason, that reason, to bring to light the terror and fear these poor babes are born into. She will hopefully save many little innocents a life like the one she lived. Her story will touch people and spread awareness of puppy mills like the ripple effect of a stone skimmed on a pond, it will spread and spread. Rest in peace you poor Darling xxxxxx

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  68. Lucia

    I hope there is a special ring in Dante’s Hell for people who use and abuse animals. When I read these stories my heart breaks and I cannot wrap my brain around the fact people can sleep at night while treating these precious beings negligently and outright cruelly.
    Thank you National Mill Dog Rescue and Theresa for the heroic work you do.

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  69. marcella henderson

    Everything said here is so lovely and kind. How sad that she only got 5 days. I hope she will run into my collies,chows and nurse kittens waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge -they will take good care of her – and that she will cross over herself with a very special person. thank you for everything you do and for being there for this special little dog.

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  70. diane

    the tears stream down my cheeks as I too read this. here’s my message to all of you that have wet cheeks. Use this emotion as fuel to DO SOMETHING! volunteer at your shelter, foster dogs, ADOPT, preach adoption, preach about puppy mills and the conditions that these dogs live in day in, day out. If the best you can do is give $5, then do at least that.

    Because frankly, the tears don’t make this go away.

    There are so many rescue groups out there that need help. organizations big and small and I am proud to serve on 4 of them and get dirty on seizure day and at the emergency shelters as often as I can. But if you can’t help in that way, then do something, something. do it for lily and the tens of thousands of lily’s that are still suffering.

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  71. Linda Johnson

    Brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart! Rest in peace little Ziva. Run free over the Rainbow Bridge! God Bless You All!

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  72. Jimmie ann Litchfield

    That’s such a sad story she was a beautiful dog and I know that all of u at the animal shelter misses her I wish that u ll could have cought the decease before it killed her sincerely a Dog Lover who has a cocowa her name is Puppette she loves peanut Butter her Dad is always giving it to her and I’m always giving her baken treats:

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  73. Penny Ross

    my heart breaks reading this. But, in the same sense I know she isn’t in pain anymore. bless her heart. I am so sorry those Awful Puppy Mills did this to you. such a sweetie. RIP Ziva. Run and play with all the other babies that have crossed over the rainbow bridge. To the workers at National Mill Dog Rescue I will be praying for you….I know in my heart that this has to be hard on you. I know how I felt when our dog Buddy died. I didn’t want it to be true. It was so hard to let go. I just didn’t want to believe he was gone. And there wasn’t anything I could do for him. I miss him so much. RIP Buddy I love you and miss you so much!

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  74. Shirley

    I do not understand human beings that could sleep at night after seeing this story Ziva rest in peace and for these puppy mills should be shut down how are they allowed to exist is my question I am nearly 80years old and I hope in my life time they are abolished.

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  75. Carol

    My heart is breaking for this sweet innocent baby that never got a chance to know love and caring until the last days of her life, I am 84 years young, and have had dogs since I was 10 years old. I find it inconceivable that these puppy mill breeders cannot all be shut down. I realize it is a tremendous undertaking, but we must try to save as many of G-D’s creatures as possible. These people need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law . These mills have to be emptied out and burned down to the ground.My dogs, and I have had many in 74 years are not my pets, they are my children and are loved and treated as such. So grateful little Ziva found love, even if it was only for a few days. May she RIP and never feel pain or mistreatment again. I’m sure her friends welcomed her with open paws when she got to the bridge. Sincere thanks to NMDR for the incredible work you do. G-D Bless you all.

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  76. Vilma

    god bless you for putting not only your time and care for these dogs but pouring your hearts filled with love so that these precious pups know life uncaged and embraced in love even if is it for a short while like in little Zivas case.

    Your words of love and loss were clearly felt and understood.

    R.I.P. Little angel Ziva.

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  77. Fran Ward

    Thank God Ziva knew love, comfort and compassion in her last few days! Blessings to you for all that you do and thanks for sharing this sweet little girl’s story!

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  78. Pip and Norm

    Puppy Mills/Farms must ALL BE CLOSED DOWN. ZIVA has crossed the Rainbow and is in Heaven, where she is fit and well again. I read an article recently where a Professor said the all animals go to our Heaven. So Ziva has a lot of happiness to look forward to. Poor little mite, HOW CAN SOME DOG BREEDERS AND OWNERS BE SO CRUEL.

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  79. Annette Craig

    What a beautiful spirit! I cried reading her story; it also broke my heart! What can we do to prevent this from happening to any other sweet animal?

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  80. Deb Levesque

    Reading this story about little ziva brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful furbaby. Makes me so angry to hear how these poor babies live. I pray one day all puppy mills will be gone. As a mom to my 2 little adopted furbabies, I’m happy I could give them a loving home. RIP beautiful little Ziva.

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  81. Kelly Peart

    So glad she finally got the warm loving touch off a human that she had been craving since birth I’m sure. She is an inspiration that all dogs are worth saving, not just the perfect, cute puppies we all love to see.

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  82. Toni Miller

    I add my voice to those who have shared…There is a special place in heaven for Ziva, Lilly and all those little souls who come into our lives and teach us so many lessons. If we could only get to them sooner. I so admire all you do NMDR. I’m coming out to visit from Michigan in about a month. I personally want to meet you all and see if I can’t bring your mission back here to SW Michigan. I’m retired now and have the time and heart to give everything I have… sleep with the angels Ziva.

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  83. Carla Silva

    “(…) biting our tongues for the sake of saving these dogs is a great lesson in self control, believe me.(…)”. i will remember that.

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  84. Holly Johnston

    I just read this story… and realized as I went through the responses ‘how old’ this story was… but look at Ziva’s impact! This beautiful angel made it to a safe and loving place, which treated her with such dignity. Her story not only is about irresponsible breeders but the importance of CARING for our pets. Ziva’s name so totally fit her. Thanks for what you do.

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  85. Joyce Rowland

    Thank you, for being Earth Angels to Ziva, even if only for 5 days…there is such happiness on her face in her photos. You saved her, and showered her with love…even if only for 5 days. You showed that every life matters. Ziva mattered. Be at peace, sweet one, across the Rainbow Bridge.

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  86. June Hollis

    Although this story has a really sad ending, we should just thank Theresa and her volunteers for the rescue of sweet Ziva. Beautiful little angle was loved and safe.

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  87. Judy-Marie

    I have 4 much loved dogs here with me…3 are rescues, as were my 2 now passed shih tzus before them. I know how much every dog is born to love and be loved…thank you for showing Ziva kindness and care existed in this world. I live an hour away from where a dog fighting compound was raided in the last few days…40 dogs saved. To think this horror goes on so close to home…? Keep doing what you do and keep educating others. There are many little Ziva babies out there waiting. God bless…

    Reply
  88. Fran Garrison

    Little Ziva, your suffering is now over. Hopefully your last few days on this earth you were able to experience a kind and loving touch. I am so sorry. Your story touched my heart. May the angels forever watch over you precious girl.

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  89. Mana dutton

    This story made me cry. I have a female Keeshond named Ziva too. I was surprised at the coincidence. She will be 5 years old in August. And she looks just like your Ziva when we shaved her. RIP little Z.

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  90. Vivian Santana

    So sad she didn’t live longer than five days in freedom. I can’t believe a breeder forced her to have litter after litter of puppies in her condition of no back feet. There’s no words for that type of abuse 😭Sweet girl rest easy. Thank you for saving her and loving her for her short 5 days of freedom

    Reply

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