story by Verla Price
Izzy came to me in the spring of 2011 as a scared, starved, mentally broken puppy mill rescue. The way she was forced to live the first two years of her life, appalled me, and words cannot describe my anger at her captors. Izzy shared a tiny cage with other dogs. The space was so small they could barely turn around, received no medical attention, very little food, and no exercise. Over time I came to realize the worst thing she endured was the mental abuse and lack of human contact.
When the call came asking me to foster two dogs for a couple of weeks until they could be vetted and adopted, I went quickly to get them. I returned with a small black and white Chihuahua and a little brown and white Pomeranian with a beautifully speckled half-face. The day I met her, she was a growling, snarling, ball of fur and set of teeth. I walked over, picked her up, and walked away, talking to her softly. She shook uncontrollably but never growled, and she never tried to bite me. The little Chihuahua was adopted immediately, yet no one came for the beautiful Pom. I later realized she had been listed as aggressive on the website, diminishing her chances for adoption.
The transition was not smooth for either of us. Izzy sat in my laundry room for weeks, utterly terrified to come out in the house to eat or play. The lack of human contact the first two years other than being thrown around and yelled at left her terrified of people. It took weeks before she came to me for a treat. That day I knew I would keep her and protect her at all costs. The puppy mill people almost killed her very soul, so I decided she deserved a little royalty. I scheduled a house party in her honor, drew up the official documents for her introduction, and with a ceremonious reading, presented Lady Isabella Grace, Registered House Dog – Izzy.
Over the years I watched her blossom from a shaking, crying mass of fur to a very opinionated little lady. She barks and talks a lot when she wants something, demanding attention and playtime. She has become quite the socialite traveling, meeting new people, and being featured in magazines such as VIP and Pensacola Mardi Gras.
She now eagerly jumps into her car seat, which is more like a high throne in the back seat, ready to roll at a moment’s notice to see new places and try new things.
A normal day for Izzy is to wake up at precisely 5:30 am, stand up on the bed, stretch, and then launch into a round of high pitch barks until I rush to prepare her breakfast. She eats, goes outside, and returns to her bed for lounging most of the day while watching TV.
On March 15 all of our lives were interrupted and I was forced to work from home. Without warning, Izzy’s days of travel and leisure were over, leaving her to transition into her new position as my home office assistant. I am energetic and active, so I pace and talk on the phone. Izzy walks behind me to see if we are leaving. I sit in the office for a few minutes, and she lays by the window in her bed. I walk outside and sit on the patio while working. Izzy sits in a chair, frowning at the sun as she is always hot and does not like “working” in the heat. To break up the monotony, we moved to the front terrace for a while. She had never sat out there in the red chairs; she thought those were for decoration. I decide we are bored, so we walk numerous times each day, to her dismay. She has now become reluctant to come to the leash when called; some days, she simply refuses to go with me. I am reading her mind as, “Enough is enough; we do not need this much exercise!”
As our days go on, Zoom meetings take up most of our time. Again, I am reading Izzy’s mind, “What in the world are all those people talking about, and are they here in the house?” After no luck finding the people behind the voices anywhere in the house, she was satisfied and now even participates in Zoom meetings with many clients and colleagues and has met quite a few other pets over virtual happy hour. I caught her zoom chatting with her friend Ziva the other day as she has taken to her own social media tactics (and, yes, I am one of those dog Mama’s who stages their pets for photos). On the weekends, with no work for me, I spend quality time with Izzy. We had a spa day, a fashion day, we cleaned the garage, which went over like a lead balloon. We practiced Izzy riding in a backpack for longer walks, which has been deemed no fun so we will not be going on longer walks.
Like you and me, Izzy’s life has been turned upside down the last two months. She has become quite finicky and more verbal requesting treats and more playtime, but, alas, I am sure I have not been the happiest of roommates. I know she misses her day-long naps in front of the TV and I can’t wait to go back to working outside the home. It is time for our lives to go back to normal, and If she could talk, I think she might say, “I have had enough of together time with you, let’s hit the road and go see some people!”