P. O. Box 1791
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
(888) 873-5443
Last Updated:
9/1/2023 3:16 PM

Lucy Blue ~~ A Puppy Mill Survivor's Story

What to expect when you adopt a puppy mill dog.   

Puppy Mill Rescue Yahoo Group (network with others for support and guidance with your puppymill dog.

Prisoners of Greed (info on puppymills)

Guidelines to Help an Unsocialized Sheltie


arrivalThis picture was taken of Lucy the day she arrived at my house for foster care 12/98. She was scared to death of anything and everything. She never raised her head or made eye contact. 

Mom1Lucy Blue's first visit with my Mom (for whom Lucy was named) 122 days after she first arrived. You can tell by Lucy Blue's body language that she is extremely frightened. This was taken when my Mom was still living in her own home.

        October 2001

Mom 2A very confident Lucy Blue has her Grandma Lucy wrapped around that little paw! Grandma Lucy has moved to a retirement apartment after recovering from a fall and a broken hip!

granny Lucy    Granny Lucy's surprise 90th Birthday Party! That's my twin, Anita, handling the wheelchair!  Mom's health had deteriorated to the point she could no longer live alone. She now resides in a Skilled Nursing Facility. Anita supplies Grandma Lucy with hundreds of kitchen towels which she crochets and donates to Sheltie Rescue every year for our fundraisers. This is all she is able to do now to occupy her time. Andy and Lucy Blue visit their Granny Lucy frequently for lots of love, playing ball, doing tricks, and sneaking bites of ice cream.

 THERAPY DOG Lucy Blue Certified Therapy Dog!

Momlucy/momSadly, on March 16, 2007, Lucy Blue's Granny Lucy passed away at the age of 93. Little Lucy Blue visited her twice a day for two weeks while Mom steadily declined.  Little Lucy was such a joy to my Mom, and my Mom's eyes would light up when I placed Lucy up on Mom's bed.   I could always get her to at least eat ice cream because she would share it with Lucy Blue. The last day Mom was on this earth, she was unresponsive.  I placed Lucy on Mom's bed and Lucy immediately lay down by Mom's kees instead if her usual animated welcome And snuggling by Mom's arms.  The sunlight streaming in was such a beautiful picture, and I knew by Lucy's actions that my Mom was leaving for a better place very soon.   



3rd printing!
"The Diary of Lucy Blue: A Puppy Mill Survivor's Story"        

"Nominated by Dog Writers Association of American for Best General Interest Book in 2002"       
        (back cover)
Lucy Blue arrived at Second Chance as a survivor of a “puppy mill”, a filthy facility where the “business philosophy”. is to give breeding dogs as little care as possible in order to make as much profit as possible from their puppies. Puppy mill dogs often live out their lives in tiny cages, suffering from disease, injury, and near-starvation. Those who survive physically are often psychologically scarred: fearful, suspicious, frightened, stressed animals who alternately hide from, or lash out at, a world that they can’t understand.

When Sheltie Rescue took Lucy in, the obvious question was, “Who would ever want a dog like this?” The answer: Janice Mitchell. As Lucy began the long process of healing in body and spirit, Janice started a diary to record Lucy’s progress, to note information that might be helpful to other rescuers, and sometimes, by her own admission, “to keep from pulling my hair out!” This is the story of Lucy, the dog no one would ever want, and of Janice, the woman who never gave up on her.

Second Chance Sheltie Rescue, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book goes to the medical care of the Shelties in our program.

To Order:
$10.00 + $2.50 shipping for orders within the United States

If you would like your copy autographed, just ask!
Use our on-line ordering system by clicking here and checking out via Paypal: PURCHASE THE BOOK
Make check payable to Second Chance Sheltie Rescue and mail to:

Second Chance Sheltie Rescue
P. O. Box 1791
Maryland Heights, MO 63043


PLEASE NOTE:  Several places in the early edition of the book mention not comforting Lucy when she was afraid.  Back then, trainers/behaviorists considered petting or giving attention to a dog that is showing fear to be reinforcing that fear.  This is no longer correct.  Comforting does not reinforce fear.  This has been changed in the third printing of the book.

Reducing Fear in Your Dog by Patricia McConnell

 Saving Lucy Blue  Please scroll down to Volume 2, Issue 1 to read the article.
Rally to rescue
Lucy Blue -- March 2006 cover photo and feature story in Purina's Rally to Rescue Magazine
Update Spring 2006
Lucy Blue turned 10 January 5, 2006, and has lived with us for 7 years. She is spoiled rotten, flirts shamelessly with everyone she meets for attention, and absolutely loves life! When I ask her if she is a pretty girl, she will give her beauty queen wave. She loves wrestling with Luke and Katie every morning, follows me around the house, and loves belly rubs and butt skritches.

She is still cautious around Scary Gary, but is doing much better. Any other man she is fine with -- we’ve come to the conclusion Gary must remind her of someone in her past who treated her badly. She will come and sit with the other dogs when he is eating something, watches him from the dining room when he is fixing morning dog bowls for breakfast and races to her crate with the other dogs when he starts setting bowls down. He has even given her baths for which she forgives him for a cookie afterwards. Most of the time, she just ignores him.

Lucy wants to go with me anywhere I go, and runs to the front door hoping she will be the one chosen to go with me and do dog stuff. She still gets car sick, but I’ve learned to manage the car sickness with Bonine and no food before a ride. She enjoys walks around the neighborhood or the park, strolling through PetsMart sniffing the merchandise, and chasing squirrels or bunnies in the back yard.

Lucy has found her niche in Rally Obedience, earning her Rally Novice title in three shows in 2005. The next level of Rally is off-leash. Beautiful, off-lead heeling is what Lucy does best, and she is anxious to participate in the next level in 2006. We gave traditional Obedience another shot at the Sheltie National in the spring of 2005. I’d shown Lucy in the obedience ring only one other time, and she got up from her down-stay and walked out of the ring. My fear of losing her kept me from trying again. Once again, she did beautifully right up until the 3 minute down-stay -- she stood up half way through. I held my breath -- would she walk out of the ring like the last time? No! She very calmly started walking to me and sat by my side! That meant more to me than any title she could ever earn -- she chose to come to me! My eyes teared up, and everyone thought it was because Lucy broke her stay when she was so close to qualifying. The tears were because Lucy came to me! As we walked out of the ring together, Lucy received a hearty round of applause from all the people who had read her book and had gathered around the ring to watch her performance. I was so focused on Lucy while in the ring, I did not notice the crowd that had gathered in support of Lucy. What a heartwarming experience it was to look up and see so many people who knew her and read of her long, bumpy road to recovery from life in a puppy mill, cheering for her as we left the ring! All stopped by our Sheltie Rescue booth to meet Lucy, shake paws with her, skritch her ears, give her treats, and have pictures taken with her. Lucy was a very happy little Sheltie girl with all the treats and attention she was getting!

Lucy also earned her Certified Therapy Dog title with Love On A Leash ( since the book was first published. My mother, the original Lucy, for whom Lucy Blue was named, is now in a nursing home and not doing well. Lucy , along with my other two certified therapy Shelties, visit my Mom regularly to cheer her up. She loves seeing her furry grandkids, and they always bring a smile to her face!

Lucy Blue received the honor of being chosen by Purina’s Rally to Rescue Magazine ( to be the cover girl and feature story in their March 2006 issue! A professional photographer came to my house and took some beautiful pictures of her and my other Shelties.

When I come home, she gives me the cutest greeting. She has this little happy dance she does around me with a swishy-swishy tail (more than just a wag, her whole body goes into it), and an adorable Sheltie smile. She won't stop until I bend down, touch foreheads with her, and give her a kiss between the ears -- the Sheltie Mind Meld. Lucy has trained me quite well hasn’t she!

I never in my wildest dreams would have believed the little catatonic puppy mill rescue I reluctantly agreed to foster could or would ever progress as far as she has. Lucy has taught me patience, and to never give up on the shy/unsocialized Shelties-- they can progress if someone has the time and is willing to help them. They might not progress as far as Lucy, or they may go farther and surpass expectations -- there is always hope. The road to rehabilitation is a long, slow journey, but the joy in your heart to be able to watch your dog play and learn to love life is priceless. Lucy Blue inspired me to educate myself as much as possible on canine body language by reading, attending seminars, and helping other people with fearful rescued Shelties like Lucy. It never ceases to amaze me that one little pitiful bundle of fur not only changed my life but my direction in life.
 Update January 5, 2009
 So hard to believe, but my sweet Lucy Blue turned 13 today!  She is still spunky, but totally deaf now.  Whenever I leave the house, she is right at the door wanting to go with me, and still dances around me for a kiss between her ears when I get home.
Updated Summer 2009
I am  heart-broken.  My beautiful Lucy Blue is in renal failure and has only about 3 months left of her life.  I am giving her sub-Q fluids to help flush the toxins out of her kidneys every 2-3 days.  She just had bloodwork and urine tests done 3 months earlier and counts were slightly elevated.  I put her on my senior Sheltie boy's renal diet (he's 15), but in only 3 short months her values skyrocketed into the danger zone.  I've been preparing myself to lose Andy (he's the Sheltie on our home page), but not Lucy -- I am totally stunned.  Please keep my baby girl in your prayers in the months ahead.
Short video clip of Lucy Blue doing her best flirting to get food from Scary Gary
Lucy tent2
Katie & Lucy
Lucy felt well enough to attend the Sheltie Rescue picnic for a couple of hours on Saturday, October 3, 2009!
Update January 5, 2010
Lucy has made it to her 14th Birthday!!!!  Happy Birthday Baby Blue!!  She is getting fluids every other day, and still feels the need to be the peacekeeper at times, but now sleeps quite a bit more.  There are times now when she does throw up, but she mostly has a very hearty appetite.  She isn't quite ready to throw in the towel and check out yet!
steal1"I know I shouldn't steal." steal2"but . . ."steal3"I just can't help myself!"steal4"yummmmm"
Lucy Lounge
Favorite place to nap is by me on my lounge chair.
April 15 -- Lucy has had another health blow -- she has a huge tumor on her right hip bone near the ball of the femur and it is cancerous.  I'm still in shock over this added health problem for my spunky little girl.   All that can be done is to keep her comfortable.
She's definitely comfy!
Lucy Blue took a tragic turn for the worse July 4th -- she woke up not being able to use her back legs.  The cancer had spread to her spine.  The next day I held her in my arms as she went on to the Rainbow Bridge.
Silver Streak's Lucy Blue
January 5, 1996 - July 5, 2010
 All for the love of a Sheltie!
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