Former Puppy Mill Dog With Less Than A Year To Live Finally Gets To Be Treated Like A Queen

Victoria the German Shepherd is all smiles in her wonderful new life with her humans, but it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

Victoria grew up on an Amish puppy mill outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she spent her entire life until just over a month ago when a farmer wanted to “discard” her.

Finding Shelter Animal Rescue
Finding Shelter Animal Rescue

She lived outside and never knew what it was like to be inside of a house. She never had toys, never got to play, and never got to experience life as a normal dog should. She was used for breeding and gave birth to several liters, all with no veterinarian care. She was injured multiple times including getting bit in the eye by another dog and getting her foot ran over by a lawnmower. Unfortunately, since she didn’t have professional care, she wound up with a blind eye and a permanently deformed front paw.

Once Victoria turned ten, she was too old to have puppies. Since that’s all the mill used her for, they no longer needed or wanted her. Luckily, Herbert, cofounder of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, was informed about Victoria and went to pick her up this past October.

Finding Shelter Animal Rescue
Finding Shelter Animal Rescue

When Herbert arrived at the farm, she saw Victoria crammed into a tiny cage, scared and crying. The farmer had placed the cage on the end of the driveway, because he didn’t want Herbert to come onto the property. But Herbert knew there were many more dogs at the farm who were sadly in poor condition like Victoria was.

Although Victoria was now safe, she still had a long road ahead of her. She was covered in fleas and unable to walk. She was terrified and would shake and growl when people went near her. But rescuers would not give up on her.

Finding Shelter Animal Rescue
Finding Shelter Animal Rescue

She was finally taken to a vet for the first time in her life, and after a few weeks of proper care, she finally regained the ability to walk and even began to trust humans. She finally realized that these people were different than the ones from the puppy mill. These people actually care about her and showed her love and affection, things she had never felt before in her life.

Despite her newfound mobility, she began showing symptoms of degenerative myelopathy, a spinal cord disease that weakens the rear legs and eventually causes paralysis. The vets gave her six months to a year left to live.

Finding Shelter Animal Rescue
Finding Shelter Animal Rescue

Upon hearing the horrible news, Herbert and her husband, Steve, decided to do something special for Victoria in her final months on Earth. They started a campaign called “V for Victoria,” which was a bucket-list that included things like getting her first toy, visiting Santa, and other events that would celebrate her.

Herbert and Steve have wasted no time crossing things off Victoria’s bucket list. So far she was a visiting therapy dog at a college, was a guest DJ on a radio show, and even became an honorary K-9 officer at their local police department!

Finding Shelter Animal Rescue
Finding Shelter Animal Rescue

There are many awesome things left to do on the bucket list, but it seems like nothing will top the fire department parade. Their local fire department heard Victoria’s story and wanted to make her a fire dog for the day. They planned an entire parade for her where the community celebrated Victoria and her life. She was perked up all day and seemed truly happy to be there. All of these activities have definitely helped her break out of her shell.

People see how great Victoria is, but they don’t necessarily understand what she was once like or where she came from. Her humans will continue to share her story and hope to inform more people about puppy mills, as well as promote responsible sourcing for pets.

“There aren’t many dogs like Victoria who make it out of the mill,” Herbert said. “But there’s a reason she survived. We’re so lucky to have her and be loved by her.” 

Finding Shelter Animal Rescue
Finding Shelter Animal Rescue