Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Cinnamon: the story of an abandonded puppy

This was my major WIP this week- it details the major adventure of rescuing a puppy and finding it a new home with a quilty twist at the end- it is a long story, but if you love animals I hope you will find it a worthy read! 
Hello friends and followers, I have had a life changing few weeks and I feel very compelled to share what I think is a beautiful story.  It is no secret that I am a dog lover.  I have 2 labradoodle dogs- whom I rescued, brother and sister from the same litter Moose and Juki.  My boyfriend and I were in our neighborhood with our dogs taking our evening walk when my dogs started to get excited, and I spied what I thought was a cat darting across the road.  There are lots of stray cats in our neighborhood and I really didn't think anything of it, but when I got to where I thought I saw it dart I looked over and saw a shivering very small puppy in a bush against a house.  My dog lover instinct quickly took over and my boyfriend and I agreed that if it would come to me then I should take it and try to do the right thing by it.  Obviously it wouldn't last long on that cold January night all on it's own.  So my guy Jeff took our dogs across the street and I kneeled down at the edge of the yard and said "come here baby".  Quicker then a flash this sweet puppy came bounding out from under that bush and jumped into my arms promptly licking my face and wagging it's tail.  My heart completely melted- I realized two things right there- that I had found an adorable sweet girl puppy who was full of energy and love, and that she was a pure pitbull.  I will admit in the past I was nervous as so many are around pitbulls, especially when they weren't on a leash.  They get a bad reputation, though I truly do believe it is bad owners that create bad dogs, not the dogs themselves.  But this was just a small baby- maybe 2 months old- and sweet as could be.  How could I not help her.  But I also knew at that moment I had a challenge on my hands- with their bad reputations and extreme over population in my Southern CA town I knew it was hard to get help for this breed, and I also knew that my female dog Juki does not ever like other female dogs- and so this was going to be a tough situation.  Regardless of the challenge this baby needed my help and was trusting me to give it to her, so I scooped her up and let her lick my face all the way home.  My boyfriend and I made some signs to put up in the surrounding area and spent the next few hours driving around posting signs and watching to see if anyone might be looking for her.  I expected to wake the next morning with a phone call- but I didn't.  The first night was pretty uneventful- as expected my female dog Juki wanted nothing to do with her and got a bit growly if she came too close, but my male dog Moose and she became fast friends.  She ate like she hadn't had a meal in days, and drank about a gallon of water in a few sittings- poor girl, and played with every dog toy she could find laying around generally acting like she had won the doggy lottery being in our home.  It was endearing to say the least.  She also pottied outside and on the paper we layed down for her, which I took as a good sign that she may have come from a home, so I was hopeful that her owner would be calling any moment.  Jeff decided we needed to call her something and she was exactly the color of Cinnamon so that is what we began calling her, and it really suited her.

Cinnamon is settling in for her first night with us loving having some bones and toys to play with.
 We woke the next morning to no calls from worried owners looking for their sweet puppy, which was a little disheartening but we kept our chins up thinking surely someone would call.  I distracted myself by taking care of this baby while giving my own dogs some attention too so they didn't feel too left out.  I hadn't slept much as I was relegated to sleeping on the living room floor with the pup- and Jeff had our dogs with him in the bedroom.  We started to get pretty good at keeping little Cinnamon away from Juki-  and it was enough to keep us very busy.  Luckily we own our own business and work from home- because this became a full time job and keeping up on anything else was quickly becoming impossible.  We spent our first day waiting for the phone to ring while walking all the dogs through the neighborhood several times to keep everyone tuckered out and hoping that someone would spot Cinnamon and know whom she belonged to.  That first day came and went with no contact from our signs and ended with another night with me and the puppy curled up on the living room floor- she was such a peaceful sleeper and had grown very attached to me- I could barely escape to the bathroom without her whining at the door and looking for me.  I really was beginning to love this puppy, but knew all the while that Juki didn't love her and we couldn't keep her for that reason.
backyard shots of Cinnamon on day 2

she was a natural poser- and such a cutie pie

what a pretty girl with honey colored eyes

who could abandon such a pretty and sweet girl like her?

she sure thought life was good at our house!
Morning of day 2 and still no calls from worried owner- it was beginning to become clear that she had probably been abandoned.  This is a common problem in our area- People want pitbulls because they envision them as tough dogs, and they don't get them fixed- the dogs then breed and litters are born- it is easy to get homes for the boy "tough" puppies but the girls are often seen as problems as they have more puppies one must deal with- so they are abandoned.  I was sad to come to this realization, and spent most of day two calling shelters and services in the area seeing if anyone had called in and was looking for her.  She also got a bath on day two which she tolerated very well- and showed us she could quickly learn to sit and fetch- she sure was a great little dog.  My heart was sinking fast though knowing that I would have to find a place to take her- and that wouldn't be an easy job.  Another night in the living room and boy was it a tough one, she slept peacefully beside me while I lay awake wondering what her future would be- and committing to myself that I needed to do everything in my power to make sure this beautiful little girl had the good life she deserved.

Day 3 arrives with no calls- no help, no hope.  I called around to every single no kill shelter within a 200 mile radius and got the worst kind of news- no help or hope for this baby- I was laughed at, talked down to- you name it- no one wanted to help when they heard it was a Pitbull I was dealing with.  I heard about a local organization called "Loving All Animals"  who helped place dogs in good homes and called them.  The lady I spoke to was very supportive and said she would do what she could but warned me that it was very unlikely she could find a placement for this dog- as no one wanted to help pitbulls.  I was quickly becoming disillusioned with all of this- sure she was a pitbull, that was her breed- but she didn't live up to any stereotype I had ever heard- she didn't have an ounce of mean or aggressive in her- she was sweet and smart and very trainable- she loved my dogs though one of them didn't like her- she loved me completely and Jeff too- this was a great dog who would make a fabulous pet- how could people so quickly dismiss her based on a stupid stereotype?  It was sickening.  "Loving all Animals" got back to me and told me that the only placement they found was in the county shelter and she was honest with me that this poor girl would be euthanized within 48 hours of arriving there as they had literally hundreds of pitbull pups and thousands of pitbull dogs come through- so after the required 48 hr hold time to let someone claim them they were all euthanized.  The tears really started to flow at that time... I felt so hopeless.  I had this sweet puppy sleeping in my lap as I was trying to fight for her life and coming up against brick wall after brick wall.  I didn't know what to do.  Jeff came in the room about that point and through tears I told him what our only option was that I had found and he shed a tear too and said- we took her, we are responsible for her, and we need to do whatever we can to find her a good home- get on facebook and start begging and pleading- I will drive her up to 700 miles if we can find her a home.  Jeff and I are originally from the Seattle area and knew that we would have a much better shot with friends and family helping if we would at least drive halfway there.  I fell in love with Jeff all over again after he said that- and was reminded why we are together- we make a great team and both have the same heart for animals- he really is the one for me.  So facebook blasting I did, I pressured everyone to post her picture and story on their status thinking the more we reached the more likely it would be that we could find help.  My sister in law gave up a day of work talking to everyone she knew and found us a few options, as did my father- but what we kept coming up against was that someone still needed to drive from Seattle to the boarder of Oregon/CA to pick her up and that was a problem.  Then my mother proved why she is my hero once again and said her and dad would do it- they would drive that far to pick up this pup and deliver it to her new home!  I cried, Jeff cried, and we quickly started planning our trip.
  Within 24 hrs we had booked a rental car big enough for all 3 dogs,  booked a hotel in Yreka CA that would allow the dogs, and were on our way up to meet my parents.  I hadn't seen them in over a year so the icing on the cake was getting to spend an evening and morning with them in Yreka before they left to take Cinnamon to her forever home and we returned back to life as normal.  It took 15 hrs to drive the 700 miles- the weather was sketchy and the puppy needed to pee every 1.5 hrs.  She was a beautiful road companion though, slept in my lap the whole way up- never complained or got fussy- just a perfect little dog.  We met my parents and had a great night talking, eating, laughing, and playing with the dogs.  I was hoping Cinnamon would sleep with my parents so I didn't have to sleep on the floor, but alas- she wanted no part of that, I was her mom as she saw it and she was with me!  I was dreading saying goodbye, and again I had a night of almost no sleep at all.  We woke up and decided to have breakfast and walk through the local quilt shop- and also take a few pictures under the Yreka sign before getting on our way.  I picked up a charm pack at the quilt shop and cried my eyes out when I had to hand her over- It took me a few hours to stop sobbing- I was so happy I had found her a great forever home with 2 very loving people who had owned pits in the past and were very excited to get this little dog, but so very sad to say goodbye to the puppy who had forever changed my heart about this misunderstood breed- and who thought of me as her mom.  When my mom told Cinnamon to say good bye to me she put her paws on my shoulders and licked the tears off my face.  I still choke up thinking about it.  I found through this experience that I was stronger and more capable then I had ever imagined, and when faced with a tough decision- would do the right thing.  The self confidence that comes from something like this is priceless- but the heartache is still, a week later very palpable. 

saying goodbye

trying to stop crying long enough to get a few pictures

my Dad telling me he was proud of me and it would all be okay
 It took 12 hrs to drive home, and for the most part those were 12 sad hours- then I walked in the door and saw reminders of her all over the place and the tears flowed again- I am not a cryer typically, though you wouldn't know it from this story- but this little girl had a piece of my heart and I was so sad not to have her with me.  My Juki however was elated and kept snuggling me to let me know she was so glad I had done the right thing and remembered that she was my first responsibility- and there was no room in my busy life for that puppy.  Jeff hugged me and suggested that when I wake up the next morning I begin work on a special dog bed for Cinnamon- I made my dogs quilted dog beds and they love them- and Cinnamon loved their beds too- he thought it would be a good way to heal and the charm pack I picked up in Yreka would be the perfect fabric to use.  I agreed with him and was already working on it when I got a video text from my parents that next morning of the hand off to the new owners- where they squealed with excitement and Cinnamon jumped into her new Mommy's arms and licked her face- I was still a bit sad, but at peace- she had her new forever home.  I have been working on and have finished her dog bed this week and it is on it's way up to her new forever home along with a bunch of new toys and bones- I have been getting daily reports from her new Mommy and she is doing great, already learned 3 new tricks and really getting the hang of the potty training thing- she also has been to the vet and had all her shots and will be getting fixed very soon.  Life is basically back to normal, and though I still miss that little girl I feel better and better every day.  It was an adventure to say the least and I sure learned not to judge a book by it's cover, or a dog by it's breed- I hope this story helps everyone who reads it come to the same conclusion.
Cinnamon's new dog bed

it is really puffy now but will compress with use

quilted in a meandering stipple

Juki had to test it out to make sure it was just right!

I am linking to Freshly Pieced's WIP WEDNESDAY


  1. I loved your story....she is a sweet little thing. We used to have a male pit bull..He was born deaf and my son; who had raised a litter of them; didn't want to sell him in case he would be abused. He was quite a handful; stuck very close....but he loved us to death....he was deaf and albino....think I spelled it

  2. Miss Molly - you are truly amazing. And this adventure was truly meant for you and Cinnamon. There was so much love and healing and hope in such a short amount of time. The tears make total sense! How else can one ride such a roller coaster of emotions so successfully without the tears following?

    You did right by Cinnamon and you did better than any shelter by placing her in her forever home within days. Not weeks, not months, no dead-ends. This sweet girl's puppy life is wonderful because of you and yours got an extra shot of love thanks to her.

    Love, love, love the twist with the charm pack and doggie bed. Beautiful work! Oliver and Zoe request a kitty version right quick. ;)

  3. I am so proud to be your mom. You are an amazing person and I love you very much, the dog bed turned out wonderful. I love you.

  4. Always good to know there are people out there that love dogs almost better than they love people! I just spent 3 weeks helping a couple in Milwaukee bomb Facebook trying to find their 4 month old Pit Bull that was physically stolen from his mom on Christmas Eve while they were on a walk. He was eventually returned, but it was gut wrenching seeing them go through this.

    And speaking of having a female dog who's intolerant, I have lived with having to keep my female Ridgeback separated from my 2 male labs going on 6 years now, sucks that I can't have all 3 together, but when they came to my home, they come forever. She is an old lady now, and we've managed for so long, we will continue in this manner for the rest of her life.

    Thank you for saving a dog who just happens to be a breed that people would rather blame the breed than blame the breeders and irresponsible owners.

  5. xoxoxoxo to you and your awesome BF.

  6. awww what a story. you did such a wonderful thing for this puppy and she's lucky to get a quilt bed to boot! this is one of my favorite WIP posts ever!

  7. I am terrified of pit bulls. One of my customers was attacked, bitten very severely and spent six months in rehab learning to rewalk again. I have two that are chained that live next door to me (they manage to get off the chains every once in a while) so they have made it impossible for me to work in my yard anymore. I have had throat surgery and cannot yell for help so I don't go outside anymore. Having said that...I loved your story and your kind heart. Cinnamon is beautiful and I am so glad she has a forever home, thanks to you and your wonderful family. I agree with you that it is not the animal, but the humans who make them mean. She reminds of the sweet puppy who now visits my store with her owners who are wonderful people. She always sits between them on the console and she has such a sweet face. Thank you for being the sweet, kind-hearted person you are....I wish there were more of you. Have a wonderful, blessed day.

  8. You sould send this story to Wil Wheaton (yes, Wesley Crusher) he has two Pit Rescues and is a constant advocate for Pits. He would LOVE this story, and he likes to publicize things about pits showing how sweet and good natured they really are.

    I also love the fabric from the charm pack, but I'm a sucker for a soft chocolatey brown mixed with vibrant colors.

  9. aawww what a sweetie--and so is Cinnamon.
    We've been using our scraps in sewing club and stuffing pillowcases for dog beds, then donating them to the animal shelter.

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