Guard Dogs

More than 300 Samoyeds were seized from an Iowa puppy mill in 2018. Where are they now? | Local News

More than 300 Samoyeds were seized from an Iowa puppy mill in 2018. Where are they now? | Local News
Written by Publishing team

Izzy

Now at home in California, adopted through the Samoyed Rescue of Southern California.

Izzy’s adopter was a volunteer for SRSC when she instantly bonded with a newly arrived puppy rescued from White Fire Kennel in Iowa, part of a batch of Samoyeds sent to the California group to find loving homes. “When Izzy Bella’s and my eyes met for the first time, something clicked inside each of us that instantly bonded us to one another.

My family already had a wonderful Sammy and I had absolutely zero inclination to bring another one into our home until that moment, a moment I will never forget. I whisked this 18-pound ball of fluff with her pleading eyes into my arms and took her to live with us in her forever home.”

On their first walk together in her new home, her adopter was in awe at her innocence and playfulness — and fear. In ways, she was a normal, playful puppy getting into mischief, loving her new sister, happily exploring her new home and playing with other local Iowa dogs at dog park play dates.

But she was dreadfully fearful. “I was, and still am, the only person she trusts. It took two years before she started going to my husband and letting him pet her. Now, 3 1/2 years later, she occasionally lets four other people gently touch her head. That’s all. Housebreaking was tough. Her indoor “fear-poops” continued for 1 1/2 years.

“At first, her fear just caused her to cower, back away and hide. Gradually, it evolved into more aggressive behavior. She began fighting with her dog park pals and lunging, barking and snapping at other dogs, the people walking their dogs, joggers, bicyclers, skateboarders, motorcyclists and vehicles. I tried all sorts of training methods to no avail.

“Finally, one trainer made perfect sense. He said it was nuts to keep taking a dog like Izzy into situations that scared her when she was perfectly happy and at peace with lots of room to exercise at home. He said to just stop trying to desensitize her by exposing her to uncomfortable situations because that was actually like torturing her.”

They changed their lifestyle immediately. Izzy is now content being with her mom 24/7. “I love her to pieces and am thrilled to have a dog who is this strongly bonded to me and who is so pleased and excited to be with me. I call her my Jackpot.

“Still, it pains me to realize that her White Fire scars run so deep and haven’t healed yet. Every day, she nuzzles up to her water bowl, like it’s a comforting treasure to her, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s because the water buckets during her first month of life in the dead of Iowa’s winter were frozen.”

Izzy loves to chase varmints in the yard, play ball, go for rides and get rubs. She’s healthy, smart and can do tricks. “But she can switch into her fearful self in a flash. We call it her ‘default mode’ and have resigned ourselves to the reality that this may never change.

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