From Puppy Mill to the Taj Mahal

Mar 5, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Lee Juslin

by Lee Juslin

Phyllis, a brindle Scottie, had a rough start in life. Used as a breeder in a puppy mill, all her front teeth had been removed so she couldn’t bite or chew her way to freedom. Apparently this is a common tactic by puppy mills.

Eventually she came into an all-breed rescue that posted her on their Petfinder page. Erica of Greater New York Scottie Rescue was alerted and kept tabs on Phyllis. Despite their best efforts, the local rescue could not place her and Phyllis was turned over to Scottie Rescue. A volunteer in Ohio, Phyllis’ home state, drove her down to New York and a new foster home.



Flaps had formed where her front teeth had been pulled and that proved to be a recurring problem because food got stuck in the pouches. The local Ohio rescue group had tried surgery twice, but it didn’t work. Meanwhile loss of the front teeth had effected the rest of Phyllis’ teeth so Scottie rescue, in consultation with their vet, made the decision to have all the remaining teeth pulled. In addition, she was spayed and brought up to date on her vaccinations.

Along with her teeth problems, Phyllis had skin issues and was practically hairless so she didn’t even look like a Scottie, and that no doubt was a big factor in the lack of interest from potential adopters. However, the Ohio rescue had a program that was working well, where dogs were fostered, socialized and trained by prisoners.

Phyllis, although shy of new people and other dogs, had gained a lot of confidence from her Ohio foster and the prisoner in charge of her sent a very helpful note about Phyllis to her new foster parent. As a result she did well when she came into her Scottie rescue foster home. Her skin improved, much of her hair grew back, and her blood work was all normal. Although her silver brindle coloring made her look old, she acted like a younger Scottie and, with her good blood work, was judged to be about six years old.

When Erica listed Phyllis on the Scottie rescue Petfinder page, she was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by a couple who had previously adopted a rescue. Their previous Scottie had died of cancer and, now Scottie-less, the couple thought Phyllis would be a good fit.

When taken to her new home, Phyllis was bathed, groomed and spiffed up with a Martha Stewart collar which, as it turned out, was befitting of her new

An older couple with no children, Phyllis’ new people were eager to spoil her. Working from home, her new mom encouraged Phyllis to join her in her home office, but just in case she made sure there was a dog bed in every room, a fancy, tricked out crate, and plenty of sofas throughout the house so Phyllis could choose where she would be most comfortable. There was also a huge backyard for the little Scottie to play and run. As Erica put it, “Phyllis was now living in a canine Taj Mahal”.


Phyllis and her new family

As for her lack of teeth, Phyllis has learned to shake her head after eating and to stand still for a thorough face washing, so there have been no further problems with the pouches in her gums.

When Erica told the Ohio rescue about Phyllis’ new home, they were thrilled. After being worried about her for so long, they were being overjoyed when Phyllis went to her forever home, Erica admits she really misses that sweet, toothless Scottie.

Learn more about Scottie Rescue, volunteer, apply to adopt a rescue or make a much needed donation. Rescues, as 501C3 organizations, depend on volunteers and donations from supporters. Visit the Greater NY/NJ Scottie Rescue on their Facebook page and their website.

Check out more animal rescue & therapy animal stories in our Pets section.

Want to know how to see your ad like this at the end of an article? Email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] for more info. 10% of all ad sales goes to animal rescue.

Lee Juslin is a free lance copywriter living in North Carolina with her husband, Scott, and her band of misfits: Tarquin, a Wheaten Scottish Terrier, and three handicapped cats. They can be seen on their website: Hampshire Hooligans. She owns I B Dog Gone, a small embroidery business and is the author of the Nurse Frosty books for children and Frosty’s Story: Tales of a Therapy Dog. She supports a number of national and regional terrier rescue organizations.


  1. many dogs from substandard commercial breeders have terrible dentition – both from poor diet as well as poor oral hygiene by the staff ( yeah, WHAT?? oral hygiene! ) — but as many dogs as I have worked with or had first hand knowledge of the teeth have only been voluntarily pulled to prevent biting – and then it usually only the Canines – — but it doesn’t sound like this dog has such a temperament – I’ve never heard of teeth being removed to prevent ‘chewing out to escape’. Glad she’s got a great forever home.

  2. What a wonderful happy rest of her life for this sweet girl!! I have an adopted mill Mama, too. She came with bad teeth, too. They are so happy to have a good, loving home.

  3. In Texas we would say Phyllis has found a bird nest on the ground….it means it’s a good place. Thanks for the lovely story.

  4. Erica is a miracle worker ….

    just wondering would one of those hydro ‘jet’ Water-Piks turned on very low to gently flush out Phyllis’s mouth and keep her from getting bad breath… or germies to make her sick.

    PS. She and Sarut Cairn Potter should get together as princess to princess. Sarut even has a new ‘drawing room/play room’ her own to entertain guests in. (smile)


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