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The Specials: Adopting a Backyard Breeder Dog

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.

Rescuing and adopting a backyard breeder dog

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.

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.

Adopting a backyard breeder and giving her a happy ending

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.

Pearl's story of adopting a backyard breeder

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.

rescuing, rehabilitating, and adopting a backyard breeder

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


  1. Julie
    March 30, 2016 / 9:08 am

    A story with a wonderful heartwarming ending. I am sooooo glad Pearl has found a loving caring homeLoves and licky kissesPrincess Leah xxx

  2. Mark Muller
    March 30, 2016 / 10:53 am

    I'm so glad there was a happy end…. I'm so sad that people misuse dogs as breeding machines and at the end they throw them away like an old shoe…. we have such a evil hag in our neighborhood too… I only wish that this people will be treated the same way once like they treated their dogs :o(

  3. The Menagerie Mom
    March 30, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    Another story with a sad beginning but a heartwarming end. I'm so happy that Pearl and Mariah found each other, and that Pearl can now live out her days surrounded with love. Thank you for sharing yet another amazing story with us!Trying to choose a favorite post from your The Specials series is virtually impossible! I've been touched by all of the stories. Because of my own experiences with my furbabies and animal rescue, I'm perhaps especially drawn to the stories focusing on senior animals, paralyzed animals (thank you for featuring my boy Evan!), and abandoned animals. Again, though, I've enjoyed reading each and every one of your posts!

  4. Misty Shores Chesapeakes
    March 30, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    She is beautiful, so happy she found a great home.

  5. christie zizo
    March 30, 2016 / 3:08 pm

    What a sad story! At least she'll have a good life until the end of her days. Christie from

  6. Bailey
    March 30, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    Glad she found a forever home.

  7. Groovy Goldendoodles
    March 30, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    Dogs just don't deserve to live like that. Her happy ending reinforces my faith in humanity.

  8. Two French Bulldogs
    March 30, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    We don't understand people sometimes and how they treat animals Snorts,Lily & Edward

  9. tubby3pug
    March 30, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    such a beautiful dog. I love responsible breeders I hate back yard breeders. Our late dog Zira the brussels griffon was from a back yard breeder situation and she was 11 when we got her she was with us 2 years before she passed

  10. Sketching with Dogs
    March 30, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    That is such a happy ending for poor Pearl. What a sweet, gentle girl she looks. I am telling you, if I had met her original owner who did that to her he would have felt my wrath, lol. So glad she found happiness.Lynne x

  11. stellaroselong
    March 30, 2016 / 5:45 pm

    Before I came to live here there was a little pug named Trudie that lived wif Stella Rose and Sammy J. She was also a breeder in a bad bad mill. She loved my momma so much. She was a wonderful girl.Wienie

  12. Random Felines
    March 30, 2016 / 5:46 pm

    Oh Pearl….the first part of your life was hard but the last part we know is full of love and that can be so much more important.

  13. Michael Ferguson
    March 30, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    So cute..pearl is a great dog

  14. da tabbies o trout towne
    March 30, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    pearl …we iz beeyond sorre how ya spended most oh yur life…. N ta #ell with yur pree vee uz owner….we iz buzzed happee for ewe that Mariah came along N said….letz go home pup… & we hope ewe haz manee happee dayz yet ta N joy de life oh retire mint….{ & tell that nastee "C" ta take a hike two }♥♥♥

  15. Dom Blue
    March 30, 2016 / 6:20 pm

    Her company walks my dog and my landlord says that I have fantastic dog walkers. That they are as good to my dogs as I am to them. Just shows the passion she has to save lives. We need more of this. My girl was a throw away as well because she couldn't breed but gives so much love.

  16. Murphy
    March 30, 2016 / 6:59 pm

    We are glad you are highlighting these special animals and glad that original owner did not get her back!Keep Calm & Bark On!Murphy & Stanley

  17. Michael Ferguson
    March 30, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    So cute..pearl is a great dog

  18. Sweet William The Scot
    March 30, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    She was trying to get in the gate. Wonder if it reminded her of a gate where she was used as a breeder or that she just felt that someone lived there who would love her. Sad that Pearl now has mammary cancer. You just got to love these animals.Thanks for being a friendSweet William The Scot I loved your story about Lucas and will always remember that one. Dog stories are more my favorite Lola with her wheels but Apple Jack the cat that got whopped on his head why he just had that look that touched your heart you could tell he was well not quite with the program, poor thing.

    • Sweet William The Scot
      March 30, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      I think I sounded flippant about Apple Jack and it was not meant to be for the way he looks with his eyes and tongue partially out is the way I feel on my worse vertigo days.Lee

  19. Idaho PugRanch
    March 30, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    We are happy that Pearl has a loving home to care for her now we have enjoyed all the specials postshugsMr Bailey, hazel & Mabel

  20. KB Bear
    March 31, 2016 / 12:07 am

    I am so happy that Pearl has a loving and warm home to live out her days. Thank goodness for people like Mariah. I've loved these posts.

  21. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    March 31, 2016 / 12:27 am

    Pearl, we are so happy that the golden years of your life will be spent in comfort.

  22. Chasing Dog Tales
    March 31, 2016 / 12:31 am

    Pearl is beautiful and I'm so happy she's getting the love and care she deserves now. Great story. 🙂

  23. Cathy Armato
    March 31, 2016 / 12:35 am

    Although I'm so happy that sweet, adorable Pearl was rescued by a wonderful lady, I'm so mad at that awful backyard breeder! He treated her so badly then tossed her aside when she was no longer profitable. I'll bet her went out & got himself another "cash cow" to abuse. This kind of neglect & cruelty has to stop. I'm loving your Specials series, it's so.. well Special! I'll try to pick a fave but not sure I can, they're all excellent!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Love Them

  24. Cathy Armato
    March 31, 2016 / 12:35 am

    Although I'm so happy that sweet, adorable Pearl was rescued by a wonderful lady, I'm so mad at that awful backyard breeder! He treated her so badly then tossed her aside when she was no longer profitable. I'll bet her went out & got himself another "cash cow" to abuse. This kind of neglect & cruelty has to stop. I'm loving your Specials series, it's so.. well Special! I'll try to pick a fave but not sure I can, they're all excellent!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Love Them

  25. The Island Cats
    March 31, 2016 / 1:35 am

    We're so glad Pearl's life now is so much better than her early days. She so deserves it.

  26. meowmeowmans
    March 31, 2016 / 2:24 am

    We are so glad that Pearl's life is so good now. What a horrible lot she had previously. It makes us cry to think of her suffering and neglected. And it makes us cry in a good way that she is so loved and safe now.

  27. Tweedles -- that's me
    March 31, 2016 / 2:47 am

    Were so glad she has a good home now,,, that loves her.lovetweedles

  28. Jackie Bouchard
    March 31, 2016 / 2:55 am

    Pearl sure knew the right gate to go to! It makes me sick that the original owner saw her and only wanted her to breed her some more – and for dogs for fighting. Ugh. I don't understand some people. I'm so glad Pearl knows what true love is now!

  29. Maxwell Faraday Richman
    March 31, 2016 / 3:41 am

    What a wonderful ending for a wonderful girl!

  30. Liz Hamblyn
    March 31, 2016 / 4:55 am

    What a wonderful. caring story. Brings tears to my eyes.

  31. Christine Caplan
    March 31, 2016 / 4:59 am

    I'm so glad someone saved Pearl – beautiful dog and soul, awesome pics of her.

  32. Marg
    March 31, 2016 / 10:27 am

    Anther great story. So glad that Pearl found a home. Poor dog. We like all the posts. They are my favorite thing to read. It is so great to read about animals getting good homes and a happy life.

  33. Brian
    March 31, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Poor sweetie. Thanks for calling attention to this important rescue issue!

  34. Three Chatty Cats
    March 31, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    What a great post to bring attention to a sad issue. I'm happy that Pearl ended up with a loving, forever home in the end. What a sweetheart!

  35. Dragonheart, Merlin, and Devi
    March 31, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    So sad that backyard breeding happens. 🙁 We are glad Pearl has a home filled with love for however much of her life is left.

  36. Caren Gittleman
    March 31, 2016 / 5:44 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. That poor sweet Pearl. Thank God, in her final days, she has experienced what REAL love is. Thank you for sharing this moving story. DakotasDen

  37. Kari Neumeyer
    March 31, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Oh sweet Pearl. What a sad story. I'm glad she's safe and loved now.

  38. Madi and Mom
    March 31, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Pearl… are as beautiful lady pup as the gem you are named after…..and so deserving of your furever home….Hugs madi and mom

  39. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    April 1, 2016 / 3:07 am

    What a wonderful, heartwarming story. Bless Pearl and her new family. I hope her former owner never has another dog

  40. Jean Dion
    April 1, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Honestly, I think this might be my favorite in the series. I love the sweet look on Pearl's face, especially when she's being touched by the hand of a person she loves. It shows how far she has come. Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  41. McGuffy Ann Morris
    April 2, 2016 / 3:32 am

    This is such a critical problem. We rescued a dog from a backyard breeder. He had so many health issues from poor breeding. He died at an early age, too. Quality of life while can enjoy it.

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