Lots of dog lovers fall hard for a particular breed, and for Melanie Chard of Newfoundland, Canada, Morkies (an adorable combination of Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese dog breeds) are the ones who have her heart. Her two Morkies, Princess Emmie and Precious Lanie, are inseparable, but their lives started out very differently. One was adored, while the other was abused and neglected.
Chard’s first Morkie, four-year-old Emmie, was purchased from a breeder and has enjoyed the pampered life since puppyhood. Her early days were filled with snuggles and pastel sweaters — a stark contrast to how Chard’s second dog, Lanie, experienced the world before she was rescued in Ohio.
Although much of Lanie’s past is unknown, Chard does know a few of the details about what happened to the Morkie in the first two years of her life.
“She spent time in a puppy mill — but she was never bred,” explains Chard, who adopted Lanie through Loyal Rescue, a foster-based organization with homes throughout Ontario, Canada.
Chard believes Lainey (who weighed just 1.8 pounds when she was rescued at two years old) was likely unable to get pregnant, a probable factor in the puppy mill’s decision to get rid of the dog. Unfortunately for Lanie, leaving the puppy mill was no guarantee of a better life.
“They auctioned her off, and a hoarder bought her,” Chard explains. “There were like 36 dogs in this one house when she was rescued.”
According to Chard, Laine was emaciated, suffering from worms and fleas, as well as eye and ear infections when Loyal Rescue got involved. “She also had an injury in her tail. I don’t know if it happened in the puppy mill or in the hoarder’s house.”
Fortunately for Lanie, shortly she was rescued, Chard was thinking that she and Emmie had room in their home for another Morkie. “I’d always thought of getting a second dog as a buddy for her, and I was just kind of waiting for the same breed,” Chard explains.
Initially, she didn’t think she could find the kind of dog she was looking for through a rescue, but Chard began searching online and discovered a diverse population of rescue dogs — including some little Yorkie mixes. “When I saw all these puppy mill dogs online who needed homes, I thought, well, if there are little dogs who need homes, I can do this.”
After first coming across a Loyal Rescue profile for a Yorkie who unfortunately didn’t like other dogs, Chard found out about the little survivor who would soon steal her heart (and Emmie’s). “There was this other little one, Lanie, at the time, who hadn’t finished her five-week period with her foster home,” Chard recalls. “She was super, super terrified of humans — but she loved other dogs.”
Lanie’s foster family had five other dogs — including other Yorkies — and when Chard watched videos of Lanie enthusiastically playing with her foster pack, she knew Lanie would be a good fit for her and Emmie. She applied to adopt the tiny dog, who at that point still weighed less than two pounds.
After submitting her references and taking part in a home interview, Chard’s application for adoption was approved, and soon she was booking a flight to Ottawa, where Lanie was living with her foster family.
Despite the $500 she spent on airfare, Chard says adopting a small breed through a rescue makes as much sense economically as it does ethically. “She had a $500 adoption fee, but you’re not going to buy a toy dog for less than a thousand dollars here,” she explains, adding that she would recommend anyone considering purchasing a small-breed dog check out rescue possibilities first.
“People just don’t realize that there are so many little dogs who need homes,” she says.
After picking Lanie up from her foster home and flying back to Newfoundland, Chard realized how truly traumatized little Lanie really was. “She was very docile, very well mannered — she was just terrified,” she says. “It was difficult because I wanted her to love me immediately, but she was just terrified. I could not even acknowledge her in the room. Even tearing paper towel off a roll would send her into a panic.”
After years spent in puppy mill cages and then a hoarded home, Lanie was not only fearful, but also used to living in her own filth. “She had no concept of being clean or dirty — she would just do it in her kennel.”
With patience and persistence, Chard has succeeded in helping Lanie learn where to eliminate. “I’ve only only had her 10 months, and she’s completely opposite. She never messes in the bed anymore.”
Chard credits much of Lanie’s quick turnaround to the excellent influence of her first dog, Emmie. “Emmie was awesome. I think that I made so much progress with Lanie because of Emmie. It was like ‘monkey see, monkey do.'”
Chard says Lanie’s confidence improved each time Lanie was treated well at the hands of humans. After watching Lanie take food from humans, Emmie decided to give it a try, too, and has gained weight as a result. She’s also become accustomed to receiving affection and begs to be picked up. Chard is sure the rescue dog’s transformation would not have happened without Emmie.
“Lanie loves Emmie more than she loves me, I’m sure.”
The two Morkies sleep in separate kennels at night, and Lanie is thrilled to reunite with her best friend every morning. “She reacts to Emmie as if she hasn’t seen her in a year,” says Chard. “Every single morning.”
Lanie’s love for Emmie reinforces for Chard that adopting a second dog, instead of purchasing a puppy, was the right thing to do. “It has been the most rewarding thing to watch her become a real dog.”
To see more of these special friends, follow Princess Emmie and Precious Lanie on Facebook.
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About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.