Rosie Update: Our Little Inbred Chihuahua Hero Is Thriving!

After four months and two mouth surgeries, this feisty survivor of a backyard breeder is an inspiration.


When we first wrote about Rosie this summer, she was so deformed due to careless inbreeding that some people thought euthanization was the kindest solution. Some couldn’t even bear to look at the little Chihuahua, who was rescued from a dog hoarder/backyard breeder along with 20 or so other dogs.

Well, we’re very happy to let you know that Rosie has thrived in the loving care of her adoptive owner, Cinnamon Muhlbauer. Through Rosie’s Facebook page and web page, this little Chi has gained attention, love, and encouragement from people all over the world. In return, she is providing her fans with big inspiration.

“She has come a very long way! I can’t believe it myself!” says a very happy Muhlbauer from her Southern California home. “Her story has touched so many people very deeply.”

Rosie has had two surgeries to remove the rotten and crooked teeth crowding her mouth and to shore up her horribly malformed lower jaw. As you can see from the photos, it’s hard to believe she could eat or drink with the way it was. It certainly couldn’t have been easy.

Being able to use her mouth properly has been a huge hit with Rosie.

“Her little tongue had been trapped in her mouth, and the first time she could actually use it –- you could see the little light come on in her head. Since healing from surgery No. 2, she is learning to give kisses, lap up food and water, and generally do what dogs like to do with their tongues,” says Muhlbauer. “She is also taking great pleasure in grabbing her toys in her mouth and giving them a good shake!”

Rosie’s mobility issues have prevented her from doing a lot of normal doggy activities. She has terrible scoliosis, with her little spine warped in an arc-like curve. Her chest is compressed from genetics and from bearing most of her body weight, day after day, for two years. All of her legs are deformed; her bones did not develop properly so they fused together in places. When Muhlbauer first got her, the poor dog couldn’t move even a few inches. Now Rosie joyfully belly-scoots from Point A to Point B — as long as they’re not more than a few feet apart.

Until recently, Rosie has had fairly limited exposure to the world because of her issues with mobility. But she is surprisingly brave and unfazed by new experiences, according to Muhlbauer.

“She loves going to the park and watching people play soccer, ride bikes, or skate by on the pathway. She thinks grass is just the most fascinating thing around and has tried tasting it on occasion, even though she can’t actually chew it,” she says.

Aww! Simple pleasures are the best. The commonplace things people -– and maybe even some dogs? — take for granted are new and exciting to her, and she seems to revel in every sweet moment of life.

Rosie, who was a shut-in in a hoarder’s home and couldn’t move (much less get out and smell the grass), is now enjoying life to the fullest. She may look around and realize she’s not like the other dogs she sees, but that doesn’t stop her: She is Rosie! She managed to survive against the odds, and she is now soaking up life.

I don’t know about you, but this dog is an inspiration to me.

Tragically, Rosie is far from the only victim in the world of backyard breeders, puppy mills, and hoarders. And their stories are often nowhere near as hopeful as Rosie’s. Muhlbauer wants Rosie’s story to go a step further and help inspire change.

“Every day, there are thousands of dogs hanging on by a thread, waiting to be rescued from a backyard breeder, a hoarder, or a puppy mill, and that haunts me,” says Muhlbauer.

“On Sunday, one of Rosie’s Facebook pals, a lovely little senior that survived a horrible life of abuse, passed away after surgery to repair her damaged body. Of course I was sad –- but I was angry more than anything. We as a society of dog lovers are not doing enough to stop the practice of breeding for greed. We also aren’t doing enough to help the dogs once they are rescued from these situations.”

Muhlbauer has taken in dozens of dogs from these places over the years. Rosie’s story, however, is about so much more than just one dog.

“One of the most powerful messages a dog like Rosie can convey is what happens when breeding is done for greed. Many of the dogs rescued from puppy mills wind up looking pretty good once they are cleaned up and placed for adoption. Rosie can’t hide what inbreeding did to her. Her body is permanently deformed because someone decided it was OK to let dogs breed and sell the puppies. She will forever be a victim, even if she doesn’t see herself that way. What I am trying to do is get her face and story out there so people see the hidden product of puppy mills.”

I’d say she has done an incredible job. We at Dogster send huge hugs to Rosie and her two-legged angel. We’ll keep you posted on this amazing dog’s progress, and on Muhlbauer’s efforts to take on puppy mills and backyard breeders. With Rosie in her corner, there’s no stopping her!

If you have any ideas how you might be able to help, let us know in the comments. Muhlbauer has a full-time job and is taking some online classes; she’s also the adoptive mom of many critters in need. She could use a helping paw with this.

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