Founder Jean Stelten-Beuning 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 can be 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 in her outlook. 

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 other Shelties in the house, 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 active love.

Mary Gustafson

***Top Dog Sanctuary is meant to 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 happy. Should you wish to support this endeavor—perhaps to honor the Haileys of an imperfect world and the Ziggys who restore them—you can donate on another page of this website. Thank you!***


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