10 years after being rescued from a puppy mill, Pete the special needs dog is living his best life – 9&10 News


Pete, a 10-year-old dachshund, is a beloved companion in the Smalley household. Rescued from a puppy mill in 2013, Pete has special needs, but that never stopped him from living life to the fullest.

According to the Humane Society, puppy mills are ruthless commercial dog-breeding facilities that may sell puppies at pet stores, online, or directly to the public at flea markets or through classified ads. Puppy mills don’t consider the health of dogs – both physical and emotional – in order to maximize profits.

It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, of which less than 3,000 are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

In the 2013 incident, covered by 9&10 News, the Elk Country Animal Sanctuary helped rescue 37 puppies and six miniature horses from a puppy mill. Pete was one of the rescued animals.

“Pete was found hypothermic under the house. They treated him at the animal shelter,” Pete’s owner Bonnie Smalley said.

Bonnie has always wanted a dachshund, and when she and her husband first visited the group of puppies, she fell in love with Pete. Her husband took a liking to the dachshund girl and the couple planned to adopt both.

“When they approved us, they only allowed one adoption per family. My husband and I discussed this and decided to ask for Pete because we felt like he needed us. We knew there might be issues with him because of hypothermia and things like that, but it was a task we were willing to take on,” Bonnie said.

Pete has clubfoot, a seizure disorder, and was paralyzed for a short time.

“Clubfoot was our biggest concern,” Bonnie said. “We took him to the vet immediately after we got him, and the vet said to just watch. He didn’t recommend trying to do anything; (Pete) was already too old to pitch at that point. We didn’t want to operate on him. »

Ten years later, it’s never been a problem – Pete is doing just fine.

At a few years old, Pete started having seizures. A major episode led to him being prescribed daily medication for the disease.

In 2021, Pete had an incident that caused paralysis on his left side.

“He couldn’t support his weight at all. Technically, it’s his good side, because his clubfoot is the good side. They really didn’t know what the problem was,” Bonnie said.

The vet said they could take Pete to the University of Michigan for further evaluation, or they could try home exercises to increase his mobility.

“The vet showed us how to do strength exercises with his legs and encouraged him to walk and stuff like that, and he came over,” Bonnie said.

Through all the ups and downs, Pete’s personality has always overshadowed his ailments.

“It’s a huge hug; he loves cuddling Pete. He’ll get up on your chest, and if you ask him for a hug, he’ll lower his head and snuggle under your chin and kiss you,” Bonnie said.

The Smalley family have never regretted Pete joining the family and encourage others not to be intimidated by a special needs animal.

“It’s such a blessing to have animals and take care of them. Mine were always able to sense what I needed,” Bonnie said.

If you’re considering adopting a pet with special needs, talking to your veterinarian is a great first step to allaying any anxiety.

“If you have a disabled pet, you do what you have to do. There’s nothing to worry about,” Bonnie said.

“They’re going to cost you more, and there are those emergency times where you might have to go. But regardless of their disability, they’ll still love you.”