Tiny Dog Locked In Cage For 11 Years Can't Believe How Good Her Life Is Now

She looks so beautiful now ❤️

For the past 11 years, the only world Pixie knew was the inside of a tiny wire cage.

Year after year, she gave birth to and raised countless litters of puppies — and then they were torn away from her to be sold. While they went on to homes to be loved and cherished, she stayed locked away.

She was never let outside and rarely saw people.

puppy mill rescue
National Mill Dog Rescue

But last weekend, that all changed. The National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) took in Pixie and 53 other dogs who had been languishing in puppy mills across the Midwest.

Little Pixie could barely see from the horribly overgrown hair covering her eyes — but freedom had finally come. Things could only get better.

puppy mill rescue
Strader taking Pixie out of the transport truck last weekend | National Mill Dog Rescue

“Her hair was so matted that it basically felt like a coat of armor,” Theresa Strader, executive director of NMDR, told The Dodo. “Her body looked about three times the size it should have been due to all the hair. It was disturbing.”

Once they arrived at the rescue center, the first order of business was to get Pixie a haircut. The grooming team had their work cut out for them; she had years' worth of thick, matted fur encasing her tiny body.

Pixie sat as comfortably as she could while they gently cut through the fur. Luckily, her skin wasn’t infected or riddled with lesions, which sometimes happens with matted dogs. But it was still a world’s worth of relief to have all the filthy hair gone.

dog rescue puppy mill
Aspen Animal Shelter

It was clear little Pixie had nothing but love to give — but after being deprived of human interaction for so long, she didn’t exactly know how to react when caretakers first started picking her up to hold and cuddle her.

“That’s the result of when dogs live on wire their whole lives,” Strader said. “She’s rarely been picked up, so she’s unsure what to do when her feet are off the ground. We see it quite often. Sometimes people laugh because it might look cute, but it’s actually really sad.”

Pixie is quickly getting used to being loved by people, and now sits and snuggles with anyone who’s holding her. She’s become so happy in just over a week.

“She has lived the most isolated, monotonous life for so many years, and comes out with this amazing personality,” Strader said. “That just tells you the tenacious spirit she has. She’s such a great little dog.”

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Pixie cuddling outside with Strader | National Mill Dog Rescue

Since Pixie won’t require any long-term rehabilitation, she’s been transferred to Aspen Animal Shelter in Aspen, Colorado, to start going to adoption events and find her forever home. She’s already gone to one so far — and people can’t believe she’s the same dog from her ‘before’ photos.

“We brought out the before pictures and said to people, ‘This was that sweet precious dog in your arms six days ago,’” Strader said. “I can’t tell you how many people cried and were horrified to learn everything she’d been through.”

puppy mill rescue
Aspen Animal Shelter

Unfortunately, many dogs like Pixie won’t ever make it out of puppy mills. Countless mother and father dogs are bred until they’re too old, and then they’re killed when no longer deemed useful by their owners. Others fall sick with reproductive diseases or infections, and some die from preventable illnesses due to the poor conditions.

“Dogs like Pixie are our best teachers,” Strader said. “When people go to pet stores to look at puppies, they need to stop and think of how the parent dogs are living. Because that was Pixie.”

Luckily, Pixie will never know that way of life ever again. She’s now looking for the perfect family to call her own — and Strader is so excited for the day.

puppy mill rescue
Pixie checking out flowers for the first time | Aspen Animal Shelter

“She’s a great little symbol of everything that we love about dogs,” Strader said. “She is really going to brighten someone’s home.”

To help more dogs like Pixie, you can make a donation to the National Mill Dog Rescue. If you’re interested in adopting her, you can find more information here.