At nine years old, Pearl found herself alone, wandering the streets of a near south side Chicago neighborhood. A few people recognized her as she had been loose before, but no one stepped up to help or guide her home.
Adopting A Backyard Breeder
Mariah heard someone at the front gate. She looked out the window and discovered Pearl banging her head, trying to get in her yard. As a dog lover and owner of a local dog walking company, Mariah rushed out to greet Pearl. The next morning she looked for lost dog signs and when she didn’t find any, she took Pearl to Chicago Animal Care and Control. Pearl was kept on a stray hold at CACC for five days, but no one claimed her and there was no evidence that anyone was looking for her. On the sixth day, she was pulled by a rescue group and Mariah adopted her a few weeks later. Because of her age, Pearl would likely have not made it to the adoption floor.
Mariah’s veterinarian said it was clear that Pearl had been living outside for many years and used primarily for breeding – probably at least three litters a year for her entire life. She also had some old scrapes and scratches on her face from tussles with other dogs. Initially, she also had some issues with food aggression, but has mellowed over time.
A few months later, Mariah ran into Pearl’s original owner while out walking. He wanted her back even though he had never bothered to look for her or report her missing. However, when he discovered she had been spayed, he changed his mind and disappeared. Clearly, Pearl had been used as a source of income as a backyard breeder and her puppies sold for profit.
Pearl survived many bitter cold winters and hot humid summers while giving birth to countless puppies sold for profit and probably in many cases, dog fighting. She is now enjoying a retirement of gentleness in a warm home with devoted humans and three dog siblings. Sadly, Pearl was recently diagnosed with advanced mammary cancer a result of years of breeding and poor care. She also shows signs of dementia. But thankfully, her final days will be filled with comfort and love, good food, car rides, and cuddling on the couch and bed with her forever family.
Shelters are filled with senior pets waiting for someone to see beyond their gray whiskers, cloudy eyes, tired limbs, and bruised hearts. Some of these animals have known loving homes but many others have not. They have much to share and when given a second chance, their gratitude and love is immense. To learn more about dogs used for breeding, please check out my post on Reba.
Pearl is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here.