Second Chance: The Story of Maizie, Puppy Mill Survivor!

Second Chance: The Story of Maizie, Puppy Mill Survivor!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the emergency response, community medical, spay/neuter, volunteer, or other services.

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Second Chance veterinary clinic is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Call (970) 626-9713 or email

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Cheyenne first met Maizie in 2019. The Pomeranian mix was, as all puppy mill survivors are, terrified of people. Working as a dog trainer for Second Chance, Cheyenne had seen her fair share of dogs like Maizie.

While Cheyenne was working at Second Chance, transfers from National Mill Dog Rescue were very common. These dogs, who had been subject to abuse their whole lives had a number of different problems the shelter had to tackle.

A puppy mill’s goal is to make as much money as possible and spend as little as possible. Dogs pass the time in tiny cages that are rarely cleaned and diseases run rampant. What’s more veterinary care is a rare gift.

The dogs have little to no human interaction, which is incredibly harmful to the health of such social animals. Adult dogs are subject to constant breeding, and when they are too old or no longer of use to the mill, they are abandoned or killed.

There are an estimated ten thousand puppy mills currently operating in the United States, with five hundred thousand dogs still living in these conditions.

Maizie struggled especially with human interaction. As a fear response, she bit her caretakers a few different times. She would stand and bark at any people she wasn’t familiar with until they went away. She was adopted and returned twice.

At Shelter

“It’s sad because she’s a really friendly dog… Once you get to know her, she’s super friendly and she loves attention and she does love people,” Cheyenne said. “But it’s sad [that] she’s afraid to meet new people because of what happened to her. I know that if she let that barrier down, she would be everyone’s favorite dog.”

It wasn’t until her second return to the shelter that Maizie really began bonding with Cheyenne. She wouldn’t let anyone else pick her up and wasn’t nearly as cooperative with the other trainers. Cheyenne decided to take Maizie home with her for the weekend to meet her other dogs and test out the house. Needless to say, Maizie never went back to Second Chance.

There was still work to do once Maizie was home. Seemingly simple things, such as potty training, took extra time. It took longer for her to warm up to people than other dogs would.

“[The experience with Maizie] made me think about knowing what you’re getting into when you adopt a shelter dog. They are going to have permanent trauma, and that’s going to affect them forever,” Cheyenne said.

But every day is a step forward. Maizie sleeps on a puppy pad at night. She no longer barks at strangers. She’s grown friendly with Cheyenne’s husband Aaron and their dog sitter.

When adopting a shelter animal, Cheyenne recommends taking your time:

“[Second Chance] has a lot of information to tell you about the dog, and it’s really important to listen to that and not just adopt a dog just because it’s cute, but actually see if it’s going to be a good fit for you. Because if you take that time, it’s so worth it.”


My name is Hope. I got that name from the staff at Second Chance because they hope I will find the perfect person to take me home. I’m in foster care now, which has allowed me to start to trust people and learn how wonderful belly rubs can be. Whoever adopts me will need to be patient, calm, and understanding. I would love to have another dog in the home to help with my confidence.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

Have You Met Dr. Shari?

“Amazing!” “A Godsend!” “The level of care she provides is outstanding.”

“She truly cares.” “Shari is delightful.” 

Those are just a few of the enthusiastic reviews we’ve received about our wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Shari DePauw. She joined our team in November, 2020, and has quickly become a valued and respected member of Second Chance and the communities we serve.

Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Shari graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine from Cornell University in 2003. After an internship in Atlanta and a job in New York City, she volunteered at a spay/neuter clinic in India. That experience ignited her passion for shelter medicine.

After returning to the United States, Dr. Shari worked at a Humane Society in Washington D.C. and a Humane Society and low-cost clinic on the Front Range before joining us at Second Chance.

Dr. Shari truly believes in our affordable vet care for everyone, mission-treating shelter pets, low income customers, and the community at large. Every month or so, the team also visits the underserved community of Nucla to provide low-cost wellness and vaccines.

The Second Chance Veterinary Services clinic is a hub of activity. Dr. Shari, Tabby (veterinary technician), and Tina (veterinary assistant) are taking calls, scheduling procedures, seeing patients, performing surgeries, and helping our shelter pets. Dr. Shari’s typical day consists of about 8-15 surgeries in the morning (spays, neuters, dentals, mass removals, etc), followed by entering information into the database, then seeing appointments in the afternoon. Although, typical may be the wrong word. On one recent day, Dr. Shari and her team spayed/neutered 30 feral cats!

Shari says:

“My favorite part of the job is seeing all of the pets find forever homes. Also, it makes me happy to provide care to those who wouldn’t get it otherwise.”

Her wish list includes being able to do more for more pets and people: “Our clinic is growing and getting busier, so we need more help and more space to keep things flowing and help as many animals as we can.”

Kelly Goodin, SCHS Executive Director adds:

“Dr. Shari is so passionate and devoted to shelter medicine and community veterinary care she easily wins the hearts of the pets and people she serves. Our community is so unbelievably fortunate to have her strong skill set, experience and commitment level. I am so grateful for all that Shari does and how she has expanded our mission.”

Dr. Shari on a break

When she’s not at the clinic, you’ll find Dr. Shari mountain biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, dancing, or traveling.


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