Daisy's Last Six Months Were the Best in Her Life

CAPS Investigators Rescued Older Great Pyrenees from a Life of Abuse

By CAPS member Sharon Koermer

Daisy's last six months were quite possibly the best in her life.

CAPS lead investigator Julie Workman rescued Daisy from the Lorton puppy mill, a USDA licensed facility in Illinois that supposedly has no Animal Welfare Act violations. Daisy, a nine-year-old Great Pyrenees, lived out the last six months of her life at Julie's home.

The emphasis during this time was on restoring Daisy's understanding of a more normal and stable home environment by giving her lots of love, understanding, and quality exposure to a range of family members and friends. But adjustment took patience and perseverance.

As an abused canine, Daisy was afraid of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. On July 4th of last year, for instance, she was so scared by the fireworks that she ran through a fence and badly scratched herself.

Last October, a tornado ripped through Julie's town. The atmospheric turmoil so frightened Daisy that Julie's husband lovingly picked her up and carried her down into the family's basement for shelter. Daisy's fear, manifested by her intense shivering and whimpering, was calmed as they rode out the storm together.

At first afraid of men, Daisy instinctively watched their hands and feet for telltale signs of impending abusive action. She was also afraid to eat in front of people.

Daisy's overall anxiety resulted in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which causes severe diarrhea and pain. Treatment for this disease consisted of steroids, tranquilizers and a very calm environment.

This did not mean that Daisy didn't make considerable progress. It wasn't long, for instance, before Daisy became housebroken. She went to the door to let Julie know that she had to relieve herself in the backyard.

After a couple of months, Daisy felt comfortable enough to spend the evening hours in the living room with Julie's husband while he watched the television.

She also learned to enjoy having Julie brush her fur and even visited a groomer a couple of times. The groomer, Lois Burton, fostered puppy mill Chihuahuas Salsa and Gordita and found a number of permanent homes for CAPS rescue dogs. Salsa lives with Ms. Burton. Daisy's professional grooming included a fancy hairdo, but bows were excluded - Daisy just wasn't the type.

One day, Daisy got a special gift from CAPS President, Deborah Howard. It was a rhinestone collar with daisies on it. Everyone thought it made her so pretty. Julie was unable to get a photograph of Daisy wearing her special collar.

On strolls through the neighborhood, neighbors would often come out of their house to greet this transformed dog, offering homage to Daisy's transformation from an abused puppy mill dog to a happy member of Julie's family. In honor of Daisy, a local bridge may be named after her.

Back inside the house, Daisy's restored appetite drove her to ingenious, albeit comical ways of accessing stored food. It wasn't long, for instance, before she got to know where the treats were kept. And with the help of a feline resident named Spike, willing to act as an accomplice in Daisy's food quest, they would sneak into the kitchen. Spike walked underneath Daisy until they reached their point of pillage. Once there, they would undertake a maneuver designed to recover what they understandably believed was rightfully theirs.

But perhaps the warmest, most heartening display - imbuing that extra measure of meaning to the whole process of rescuing abused animals like Daisy - was the love Daisy and Julie's grandmother showed for one another. Grandma loved Daisy, and she did everything she could to comfort Daisy, making a fluffy bed, a body pillow, and a blanket to ease her arthritic pain.

Sadly, and all-too-quickly, while Julie was on a three-week CAPS investigation in Minnesota, Daisy unexpectedly died. She was with Julie's husband and grandmother when she passed away. Julie's grandmother sat up with her all night long because Daisy was in distress. An autopsy revealed that her heart had been enlarged from either genetic and/or stress related-reasons stemming from abuse.

Julie's husband called her in Minnesota to tell her of Daisy's death. Julie couldn't come home because she had a number of facilities to investigate. Later that day, she rescued Gizmo from Reuben Wee's facility.

Julie still feels very upset that she wasn't at home when Daisy passed away, but she takes comfort in knowing that she gave Daisy the best six months of her life.

CAPS investigators also rescued Daisy's breeding mate, Buck, and two-year old offspring, Sassy, from the Lorton facility. Due to his advanced age, CAPS has been unable to find a foster or permanent home for Buck. CAPS has to pay $150 a month for Buck's boarding. Julie visits him on a regular basis. If you live in Illinois and would be interested in providing Buck with a permanent home for the last few years of his life, please contact CAPS.

Sassy, the daughter of Buck and Daisy, was a two-year-old female Great Pyrenees who had been severely abused by the husband. This abuse caused her to be timid/aggressive. Sadly, without the permission of CAPS, a woman from Great Pyrenees Rescue in Illinois had Sassy put down immediately after picking her up from Julie. CAPS had not signed a relinquishment form. The vet who euthanized her did not even check for contusions or broken bones. One can work with dogs that are timid/aggressive due to.fear.to change.their.behavior. Unfortunately, some.rescue people.don't.want to take the time to work with dogs like Sassy. The rescue woman could have returned Sassy to CAPS investigators.

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