Founder Jean Stelten rescued Hailey some years ago but it was a 10-pound Sheltie named Ziggy who brought Hailey back to life. And it is that “Ziggy Effect” that underscores why building Top Dog Sanctuary is so important: Sometimes it takes a dog village to restore a petrified soul to wholeness.

Hailey was pulled from an extremely abusive puppy mill. She “lived” in a crate stacked upon other crates, only allowed out to be bred or have puppies. A small girl, she had small litters. She was punished for that, with food withheld by placing it outside her crate instead of feeding her. She suffered many other abuses that produced complete terror.

Rescued, Hailey recovered her health and learned to allow a bit of human touch. But only a bit. Her eyes remained black, so dilated with fear that the hazel color underneath could not be seen. Enter Ziggy, a crazy player who for months danced, cajoled, and finally persuaded Hailey to play with him. Gradually engaging with Ziggy and the rest of Jean’s pack of Shelties, Hailey began to see some safety—and perhaps even joy—in the world. She lived for several more years, playing when she wished and surrounded by a lot of love.

Mary Gustafson

***Top Dog Sanctuary will be a haven for the Haileys of the world, offering senior dogs great nutrition, restorative care, and no pressure to do anything other than heal and be themselves. The Sanctuary’s goal is that each dog’s second act of life is the best it can be. We are raising the funds needed to begin construction. Should you wish to support us in this endeavor—perhaps to honor the Haileys of our imperfect world, and the Ziggys who restore them—you can donate in honor Hailey, Ziggy, or an ElderPup in your own life. Thank you!***


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