Click here to visit the most complete Maltese site on the WWW
Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message
Rescued Maltese
by Trudy Kennedy

Rescued Maltese Two months ago I rescued an abused female Maltese from being put to sleep. She is supposedly 2 1/2 years old and was a breeder dog at a puppy mill. I got her from a "groomer" that had bred her and then was upset because she had to have a c-section after a long labor. One puppy was dead and Blossom wouldn't nurse the other two. I got her 5 weeks after the puppies were born. I was told she was of no use to this other woman anymore because she couldn't free whelp so either I try to rehabilitate her or she would put her to sleep. Because she had been in a puppy mill she has no social skills. I have two other Maltese and she won't interact with them. She has never been potty trained, spins circles when she walks and was terrified of hands and feet when we got her. She is doing much better now. Learning to go potty on a paper and sometimes outside but if anyone can give me other suggestions to try on her whole rehab process I would be appreciative. Thanks Trudy
Hi Trudy! I read your post and I feel just heartbroken about what happened to that poor baby. It was so kind of you to take her in and care for her. The people who run these puppy mills are the most cold hearted people there can be. It makes me sick. What I would do to help her through her rehabilitation is to make her feel loved by holding her and talking to her and taking it real slow with her. She'll learn to trust you and you will probably see this as the days go on-she'll probably start interacting with your other dogs too. It sounds like the poor baby is scared to death right now because of the traumatic life she had before you came along. It was a good thing you did for her-God Bless You and the best of luck to you all!
Thank God there are wonderful people like you who care enough to open your heart and home to these poor little creatures! My heart goes out to Blossom, and I hope she can soon learn to trust again. Whiskers (our dachshund-terrier mix) was also rescued from an abusive situation, and I have to say it was an uphill battle in the beginning, but well worth the effort. Nine years later, he is one of the sweetest, most loving companions you could ask for.

We didn't have other dogs at the time for him to contend with, but he was terrified of a lot of people at first. Basically, you have to take it very slowly, and let her come to you on her own when she's ready. We crated Whiskers at first (he was also not housebroken at 2 years old). For him it was the best thing, he needed that nice little hiddy-hole to escape from all the terrors of the world. I hesitate to recommend this in your situation, only because as a puppy mill dog, she may have negative associations with a crate or cage. Maybe a different type of enclosure would not be too upsetting for her though. With Puff, we used a baby's playpen. It was open enough so he didn't feel segregated from the family, yet he remained secure there. Maybe something like that? I think it should have an opening that would let her come and go when you are around though (this one didn't). The enclosure would allow her to see and smell and "talk" to the other dogs and vice versa, without having to deal with them jumping on her or frightening her.

I'm concerned about this circling behavior, have you discussed it with your vet yet? It could be a sign of health problems that need to be dealt with. I believe, given time, love, and respect, she will eventually learn to love her new home and family, and to enjoy life again. No matter what though, you can sleep well at night knowing that you did the right thing, and gave her a far better life than she had.

What a sad story. It will take you some time, but she will get better. Tho' she probably will never interact with your other dogs. Years ago, we bought a longhaired female dachshund (toy). She was a show dog and champion. The breeder made her have pupps before she was 2 years old. He then sold her to us because the puppys she got where to small. She just peed in once and I said NO and she was housebroken. Very intelligent dog. But she was afraid of men. On the beginning she was very afraid when we just lifted a hand to pet her, she would even show us her teeth. We tought she probably got beaten. She did not know how to play. It took us a while to make her trust us. And she never really played. She was put to sleep at almost 17 years of age.
Trudy, God bless you for saving this poor little baby. How horrible and sickening it is that people could treat these angels soo terribly. I wish you all the best and don't really have any advise, sorry. It sounds like your just what this baby needs, she sounds better already! Don't get discouraged, and best of luck to you both!!!! :))
Bless you, this dog definitely needs TLC! Perhaps if you started with her much as you would a puppy it might be easier on both of you. Introducing her to the other dogs little by little, getting her used to a gentle touch and voice first. I know you may think it cruel at first to put her in a pen or small room, but having been traumatized it may be what she needs - a slow adjustment period.

I don't know about the spinning, but do wonder if she has been thoroughly checked out by a vet? Has she been spayed yet? BEST OF LUCK!
Leslie R

I want to thank all of you who wrote back to me. I'm quite encouraged by Blossom's progress so far. I appreciate all of the encouragement you all have given me and your sugesstions. I had Blossom checked out two days after I got her because I was concerned that she may have not had any shots recently. As I mentioned before she had puppies 5 weeks before I got her. I noticed on examining her that she still had her stitches in from her c-section. The vet was as appalled as I was and very carefully checked her out. She determined that she had a vaginal infection of some kind and was running a fever. We delt with 2 weeks of antibiotics but also ran blood tests and fecal exam, heartworm the works! Because of her weak condition we held off on the rabies and immunizations until she finished the meds. I hid the pills in pupperoni. Maybe not too nutritious but she is on;ly 5# and very skinny. I guess I was trying to not shove something down her 3 times a day but to have her take it from me. Luckily she loves treats, I'm sure she never had them before. I keep her in my upstairs laundry room where she has a little bed that is her saftey area. She won't let me pick her up unless she is in the bed but once I do she lets me hold her without shaking now. I haven't had her spayed yet. I'm trying to get a little meat on her bones and to tell you the truth I hate to think it might be traumatic for her when she is just making progress. However the vet says her teeth are in awfull shape and when she is spayed I'm planning on having them cleaned as well so she only has to go under once. I just thought I would give you all a little more info about Blossom but want you to know I won't give up on her... Her real personality is just coming out and she is a sweetheart... Thanks
Trudy, re the spinning: ours did that also when we first tried to walk them on a leash, although they were OK with a harness. When we took them to obedience school the trainer showed us how to correct this -- took a few days of two 5-10 minute walking sessions in the garden but they soon overcame their fear of the leash. If you have a good, gentle trainer perhaps obedience school might be worth considering, it may also help with Blossom's socialisation skills. I am so pleased that she has found a loving home now.
Deanna (Moose & Squirrel)
Cheers, hugs and crowns in heaven for you Trudy for taking in and loving such a fur baby! It is so easy to fall in love with an adorable little fur ball who has had a good start. It is a gift to be able to not only fall in love with Blossom, but to be willing to go above and beyond in that love to persevere in providing her with a safe and secure home along with the socialization process. Kudos to you and keep up the blessing you bring to Blossom:-)
Tracy Rowe
Trudy, What a wonderful person you must be! I would just like to say, again, that this should remind us to do everything possible to try to stop PuppyMills. The site I put on web about PuppyMills has very good position in a lot of different searches, but the hit rate on this site just tells me that most people just don't care. I guess its easier to turn your back, then try to figure out what to do. In the meantime there are babies out there suffering. AT least there are people like you to pick up some of the pieces.
Robin K.
I have helped rescue dogs before from unhealthy enviroments and I have found that when a dog paces excessively or circles alot, many times it was from the dog being caged in a very small cage for extended periods of time without exercise in wide open spaces. I also believe that some dogs have behavioral predispositions towards this too. I had one dog in particular that spun in circles ALL the time. I too thought she might have had an illness like an inner ear problem or something of that nature. After an extensive vet examine my vet could find nothing wrong. I allowed this dog to have access to a huge wide open space as much as possible and she got much better. I did find however she could regress if I had to travel with her in an airline crate for a long period of time. But whenever I returned home and allowed her free reign again she would eventually get better. Good luck with your girl ...
Tonia Holibaugh/Rhapsody Maltese
I also can understand where you are coming from. Here is my story. I had a male maltese 6 months and a female maltese for 8 years. My female maletese, (Sugar) we found out had sugar diabeties. I had to give her shots twice daily, she lived for one year after we found out. The male maltese had got struck by a car only after 6 months that I had him so I was not as attached to him as her. I never wanted another dog, 7 years, until this past October I started to look in the paper. There was one that was advertised as one year old and of course I had to go see her. She had the same face structure as my Sugar but I could tell she was scared to death. I had to bring her home, the next day I noticed that she slept all the time so I took her to the vet he called me and wanted to know the history on her which I could only tell him what the previous owner told me. He said she had a scar on her left eye but he felt it would not interfear with her sight. He also noted that she did not have any canine teeth he said this was very rare for a dog her age to not have them. The doctor said if someone extracted them they had to use great force, kinda like our wisdom teeth. He also said that he could promise us that I had saved her life. This only made me more sorry for her. She handled the housetraining great at first, but of course she made a mistake. When I went to discipline her she started in a mad rage, growling and hiding in a corner and shaking, actually scarring me. The same thing happened again when I tried to get her to eat a vitamin, mistake, she can not be treated as any other dog. This past week she got sick and I took her to the vet and when I checked on her I could hear her in the back having the same rage. I asked the girl at the desk what was going on and she said Tasha would not let them draw blood,and had given them a fit all day. I asked her what am I going to do with her? Her answer was take her to a phsychiatrist. This is a very serious matter because I actually love her and I feel once she knows I will not let anyone hurt her she will be different. I would like to hear about other dogs and what I might could do to help mine.
Trudy, I just wanted to join in and give you the thumbs up for your rescue work. It is too bad she would not give you the babies as well. We took Cuddles in this past October; she too had been a puppy mill breeder for about 5-6 yrs. ALl but two of her teet had been rotted out due to poor care, so it is hard to know her age for sure, but easy to determine the treatment she received. Cuddles also walks in circles and paces the house. When we first got her, we would stop her and pick her up and rock with lamb or teddy bear to sooth her. I think it was just as Tonia mentioned-a left over from being caged and nervous energy. I think you are in for a wonderful journey over the next few months as you watch Blossom come into full bloom. She will begin to show more and more of her personality and begin to accept and want your attention more and more. Cuddles earned her name from the start. Even her voice, which I think was somehow damaged from too much barking at the puppymill, says, "Up, up!" Seriously! But, we have noticed that her craving for attention these days seems more "genuine" rather than needy. Hang in there with your little one and keep us posted...everyone has been very gracious to hear my stories. (One other thing...we chose and still choose not to crate Cuddles because of her past. But when we had to board her, her original rescue mom said that the cage would be familiar and not scare her as much as the run. I thought that was an interesting perspective and made me feel a bit better. Cuddles will now go in to a crate we leave open all the time on her own, but when boarded, messes in her cage, so I don't think it would work for training purposes.)
Beverly and Cuddles
Bravo!! for taking this baby into your heart!! My Buddy (I've had him for 9 1/2 years now) was an outcast of sorts when I rescued him. He had been taken to the vet for 3 weeks of boarding followed by being "put to sleep" if the vet couldn't find a home for him. I hesitantly took him, not having a dog and being kind of overwhelmed by the responsibility. I'm so glad I did. He has a lot of problems: separation anxiety, and canine epilepsy being the biggest. But I cannot tell you the love he has brought us. He is so attentive. I cannot lie and say that his medical needs have not been overwhelming at times, but he is so sweet and seems like another member of the family. We take care of his meds, keeping him calm, and taking him to my mother-in-law's home if we are going to be gone. It's a lot of trouble sometimes, but when you know that this animal loves you and trusts you to keep him safe, well and secure--you just do it. It's an "Affair of the Heart"!! Once again, Bravo!!!
Hats off to all of you for rescuing. Trudy and Vickie: There is a good book called Second Hand Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin that is a good help. If you can't find it,e-mail me and I will get you the adress to order it. An animal behaviorist is definitely in order for your baby and you, Vicki. If you can't find one locally, try a nearby university. Yhere's an Association of Animal Behaviorists (find on the web under Dogs)and your vet can surely help you get in touch with one. Much luck to you.
Copyright 1997,1998 © Jay Bianco All rights reserved.