Princess: Little Princess was brought into one of our local shelters by a man that found her on the highway.    I went to pick her up from the shelter and as I walked back  into the kennel, the wonderful, compassionate shelter worker said "you probably won't want her, she is in terrible shape."  When I got to where she was, my heart immediately went out to her - depressed, terribly matted and a mess, Princess also had a mammary tumor on her chest that was the size of my fist.  She is also heartworm positive.  Seeing the horrible state she was in, I was determined that this little girl would not die without knowing love and good health.

We did take her out of that shelter and immediately took her to the vet for an evaluation.  She's about 9-10 years old, has the beginnings of cataracts and doesn't hear well.  We have already had the huge tumor removed, but will have to wait for heartworm treatment.
October 9, 2001 

This is Princess waiting in the vet's office to determine whether she would be able to even survive removal of the tumor.   After a week, we decided she would have a better chance of survival if the tumor was removed.  Her surgery was scheduled for Saturday Oct 13.
October 14, 2001 

This is Princess the day after her surgery.  She has about 22" of "stitching" holding her belly together right now.
October 20, 2001 

This is Princess one week after her surgery.  With a  week of good food, supplements and lots of antibiotics in her, she's feeling quite a bit better.  Her eyes are also clearing up and she sees well enough to navigate the back yard.
November 3, 2001

Princess had a second round of surgery this week.  We found a couple of tiny little tumors still on her stomach and had them removed.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Honey was another stray picked up by the same shelter as Princess.  She's a very young, tiny little thing.  When I first saw her, she, too was depressed, terribly matted and hardly moving.  Her hair was so matted, one of her back legs was caught in the hair and she couldn't move it.   One spot on her leg (note in the picture at the right) was RAW from being matted.  That spot looked like raw meat.  The vet had to sedate her to shave the hair off.  She was also too thin to risk surgery so hasn't yet been spayed.

One week later, after a week of clean, unmatted hair and some STRONG antibiotics, at least her skin is a normal color.  Honey also has some scarring to her eyes.
Princess - October 2001
Princess was definitely neglected and possibly even a breeder's dog.  She had a mammary mass the size of a fist when she was brought into the shelter.  She also had terrible dry eye.
January 20, 2002

Princess went in for heartworm treatment this weekend.  She will receive two immiticide injections Monday and Tuesday and recuperate for several days in the hospital.
Honey - October 2001
A victim of terrible neglect
We don't know if Honey was a breeder's dog or just terribly neglected.  I would suspect she escaped from a breeder.  She was only around 18 months old when we got her and judging by her coat, it looks as if she had never been groomed.  She definitely has had at least one litter of puppies.  At first, she was terrified of me.  Everytime I walked up to her, she cowered down or ran away. 
December 2001

This is pretty little Honey after she was all cleaned up. Her skin healed very quickly.  The scaring to her eyes is permanent, but doens't interfer much with her vision.
She's been spayed and now lives in a wonderful home with a little fur-brother.
Cherie - January 2001
This one we know came from a puppymill.  One of my volunteers went to the totally nasty place to get her.  There were close to 150 dogs kept in small chicken wire cages.  We got Hunter, Sonnet and Misty on the same day.  Cherie was in the worst shape.  Read her story and understand how the people that grow the "crop" of puppies for petshops treat the mothers and fathers of those cute little doggies in the window.
Many people are surprised and even shocked that shih tzu and lhasa apsos are EVER in need of rehoming.  These little dogs are supposed to be pampered princes and princesses living the life of luxury. 

Not everyone has the same attitude about little dogs.  For some, they become just too much trouble - they may have accidents in the house or chew the door molding or snap at a child.  Heaven forbid if these people had to spend just a little time and effort trying to train their little dog to understand what they want.  It's much easier just to dump the dog at the pound or on one of the rescue groups.

Of course, then there are the backyard breeders - those irresponsible people trying to take advantage of one of the most beautiful and loving little creatures just to make a buck.  They don't understand health problems or genetic problems and will breed a dog even though it's passing on genetic traits that will cost the new owner thousands of dollars when the problem manifests itself.  These dogs are typically not well taken care of, many come to us with heartworms, a 100% fatal disease if not treated.  And, it only costs about $2 a month to prevent it.  And the breeders usually try to breed the little dogs each and every time they come into heat.  By the time they are five or six years old, the females are so worn down, they can no longer whelp live puppies.  That's when the breeders dump them.

And THEN, there are the puppymills.  Those nasty, dispicable places where dogs are so mistreated and neglected that many times the little dogs are so terrified of people, they have to be euthanized.  This is where 99% of the puppies you see in petshops come from.  Usually, the dogs live in small cages 24X7 - never allowed out to touch the grass or to just run.  They live on wire floors so their waste will drop through - this allows the millers to have very little maintenance.  Can you imagine how hard they would have to work if they had to actually keep the little dogs clean.  NEVER.  The dogs are rarely even visited by humans.  Most of them that we have taken in have eye injuries (very common in shih tzu because of their large eyes) that have never been treated.  They usually have ear mites, fleas and all kinds of intestinal worms.   Many have never had heartworm preventative so have huge worms living in their hearts.  They've usually only been give the very cheapest food to eat and consequently have the symptoms of BAD nutrition - allergies and infected teeth.  Most have to have many of their teeth pulled just to keep them alive.  So, if you are thinking about buying a puppy from a breeder or a petshop, read the stories about some of the dogs we've obtained from these nasty people and see how these lowlife humans have treated these little dogs that are totally dependent on their human guardians for their health and welfare.
October 2001

This is what Honey looked like the day we took her to the vet.  They had to shave that  matted hair just to see what was wrong with her leg.
The pictures above show Cherie after we got her out of the vet.  She's terribly thin and notice how tightly her tail is tucked beneath her.  She was terrified. 
January 2001
Cherie just got thinner and thinner and one day, just stopped eating.  She was finally diagnosed with Erhlichia, a disease that attacks the red blood cells.  In February, she had to have an emergency blood transfusion just to keep her alive.
February 2001
Once she started getting healthy, you could see the change in her attitude.  She looks quite a bit more lively and alert.
April 2001
This is Cherie in October - now physically healthy.
October 2001
Hattie - March 2001
This one also came from a known puppymill - one in Hattisburg, Mississippi.  One that was actually shut down for inhumane conditions.  Hattie came with two friends, Dixie and Pearl - all three were terribly bloated from intestinal worms and all were also heartworm positive.  Hattie was almost completely blind from dry eye, a totally treatable condition. 
This is Hattie after she had been cleaned up by the shelter in Mississippi and just before her trip to Houston.
March 2001
Here she is after she had been in our rescue program for just about a month.  After using cyclosporine for a couple of months, her eyes are starting to heal.
April  2001
And, here she is today.  Amazing what just a little bit of love and attention can do.  Although her eyes aren't perfect, with continued use of cyclosporine, the deterioration has halted.  Hattie can see well enough to get around fine.
January 2002
Clementine - December 2000
This sweet, adorable little girl was only five or six years old when we got her.  She was dumped at a shelter to be euthanized.  She had been used for breeding, even though she was diagnosed with demodetic mange, a horrible disease that is definitely passed on to the puppies.  In fact, when we got her from the shelter, it was very obvious that she had recently weaned a litter.  Her mange and resulting allergies caused her to have no hair from the middle of her back to the tip of her tail.  The picture isn't very clear, but you can see how sparse the hair was.  In addition, her skin was black and thickened - a normal symptom of a serious skin condition.  She had a horrible, yeasty smell - so strong that as we drove her to the vet, we had to put the windows down - it was awful.  The shelter people thought we were nuts taking her.  It took six weeks of dips to get her mange under control - she will always be susceptible to it - demodetic mange never completely goes away.  We immediately put her on premium food and lots of supplements to build her body's immune system back up.  She was also blind from dry eye.
December 2000
August 2001
She also started playing with toys
April 2001
And really started to fill out.
April 2001
Once the worst part of heartworm treatment was over, we could let Hattie and Dixie play for a while.  Hattie is the most playful pup you'll see.
June 2001
January 2002
February 11, 2002

Princess is still not out of the woods - but she's maknig wonderful progress.
February 2002
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Lone Star Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso Rescue