This is Max’s story – as told from posts by Kathy Ostrander, who was the last WIN volunteer in the WURL who picked him up, groomed him and then gave him to Rob and Dan, his new owners. The last posts are from Rob and Dan. MISSOURI – They called me Samuel Jackson, or Sam, or Jackson – but I really didn’t have a name. I was surrendered by a puppy miller on Jan. 19 to Wheatens in Need Volunteers (WIN). Donna and Ross picked me up and they didn’t strangle the puppy millers – even though all they gave up with me was a couple of handfuls of dog food in a garbage bag and a rusted chain. Then I went to Liz and then to Kristen and then to Betty – all the way into Illinois – and then to Kathy and Scott.

I rode in a cage – until Kathy and Scott got me late Saturday afternoon. A cage won’t fit in the back of Kathy’s car, so she sat in the back with me. I didn’t know what to do – I am three and have never been in the backseat of a car before. I wouldn’t lie down so she kept moving my front legs a little by little until I was lying down. It was heaven! A clean sheet on the back seat and another for a pillow – and she petted me for two hours – two hours. No one has ever petted me for that long. But water kept coming out of her eyes and falling on her coat and on my long, tangled, dirty, smelly coat.

I didn’t understand that – no one has ever had water coming out of their eyes for me before. And we got to Kathy and Scott’s house in Wisconsin and I went in the yard and went potty. And then – I was overwhelmed – first time on a leash, first time in a yard – first time in a house, what is this – end tables, chairs – couches – carpeting? A TV, a radio – a bird in a cage that makes loud noise? Dogs eat out of bowls – not food thrown on the ground – we get water in the winter – not just expected to eat snow?

But I was good and very quiet. And she put me on something called grooming table and she clipped all that dirty hair off and plucked the nasty hair from my infected ears and clipped my nails And she kissed me – a bunch of times – imagine that – I still smelled!And then my new owners, Rob and Dan came and they told me I would never have to go back – and I got a bath – a bath! I thought baths were getting hosed off! I went into a bath tub and had shampoo and cream rinse even! It was wonderful – more heaven. And I got dried and I was fluffy and when Kathy was all done – she put her face close to mine and said – Welcome back from hell – this is the first day of the rest of your life and your name is Max. And more water came out of her eyes.

My name is Max. I am a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier For every Max that comes out – there are hundreds more that do not. Jan. 19 – from Kathy to WIN Max is more afraid of Dan and Rob then he was of me. They put him on their laps and spend at least 15 minutes a day just stroking him. When my husband picked up Max to carry him out to the car for them. Max opened his mouth in a silent scream of terror – it gave me goose bumps. I told Rob to read to Max so he and Dan read to him (books for work or newspapers) so he gets used to a nice, calm, non-threatening male voice. Rob and Dan said Max eats and drinks now – reluctantly – until it is night time. Then, in the darkness of the bedroom, he eats his food and takes long drinks from his water bucket. I don’t even what to contemplate what type of environment he was in that he needs to have that duplicated to eat and drink.

Jan. 24 Here is an update from Max’s “dad” Rob – I asked for his thoughts on whether or not he thought WIN should look at the other puppy mill dogs. Hi Kathy: Here are my thoughts – Dan may have different or additional thoughts. Yes, Max is blank and clearly has been neglected and probably abused. He is so scared of everything – as if almost everything can potentially hurt him and cause him pain. I’m talking about utility poles, cars, garbage cans, trees, People, other dogs, any noise, the kitchen cupboard, a rug, a door, etc. You get the point.

Having said that, we’re starting to see his personality. His eyes aren’t quite so dead, vacant and blank and he will look at us, if even for the briefest moment. Also, in 2 weeks with us, he’s never pooped or peed in the house or in his crate. This morning, after Dan got up to take him outside, he was getting dressed (and had left the crate door closed while he did so) and Max pawed the crate door, as if saying, “Hey. I’m in here. You’re up and it’s time to go outside.” Very endearing and an example of how we’re starting to see glimpses of his personality.

After 2 weeks, he is beginning to bond with us and in very, very, very small increments beginning to trust us. He doesn’t tremble as much when we hold and pet him. He doesn’t cringe when we try to touch the side of his face or scratch under his chin. He will sometimes come out of his crate on his own. Is a puppy mill dog for everyone? Probably not. Are the puppy mill dogs worth saving? I’d say they are worth a try. Max has already found a place in our hearts, after 2 short, fearful, non-affectionate, blank weeks. I’d say rescue the puppy mill dogs and try fostering them for a month with people who understand this is what they will be. Then, place them in homes where people understand this is what the puppy mill dogs will be like and that are willing to pour on the love and build the trust and help the dog learn what it’s like to be a happy, loved dog who can trust and interact with humans.

Thanks again to everyone with WIN and all the support you’ve offered us and Max!

Rob, Madison, WI

March 9 – from Rob and Dan Max is doing better every day. He wags his tail every day when we come home. We took him to the dog park on Saturday and he stuck close to us and interacted nicely when other dogs came over. Yay! He meets strangers and other dogs well, but is still pretty timid. It will take time. Of course, we love him already and can’t imagine what we did without him here!!!!

Take care.
Rob, Dan and Max