In April 2003, I heard on the English Mastiff list
about a poor girl from a MO puppymill that had got "stuck"
in NE with no place to go. She was considered unadoptable because
of the horrible condition she was in and my heart went out to
her. I commented on the list that I wish I were closer because
I would have liked to help her. Steph Stollings replied back and
asked if I were serious. I said yes, I was. This was my first
time of "meeting" Steph and ultimately, turned out to
be my very first interstate rescue transport coordinating When
Steph was having difficulty finding time to try to put together
a transport, I asked her if I could give it a try. She said "sure"
with some disbelief in her voice, but a week later with most of
the legs filled she exclaimed "I think you're going to do
it!". I did do it and within two weeks of initial contact,
I had filled all of the legs and met all sorts of people in many
states that were willing to take on the transport of April, the
unadoptable girl from MO. With the help of MCOA volunteers from
RMMF and volunteers from other breeds I met through the net, we
brought this 80# skinny little girl to WA. I picked her up for
her last leg in Kellogg ID and when I stopped at a rest stop for
her potty break I watched her try to warm up to children who shrunk
back from her in horror. I gently explained what happened to her
and they came forward to gingerly to pet her head.
She had had untreated mastitis that left her back teats so badly
swollen she looked like she had an udder that was literally 1"
from the ground. Every time she went potty, it would slide down
the back of her "udder" and leave her a mess. Her tail
was only 3/4 of its normal length due to happy tail. Her ribs
were prominent as was her backbone and she was small by being
bred before she was full grown herself. The day after she made
it to my house, I took her straight to my vet and she assessed
her for much needed surgery. She had a double mastectomy the next
day and the vet said she could not do any more until a later date
because of the risk of her circulatory system being too compromised
and not healing properly. I told her we're not doing this for
aesthetics, but to prevent further problems since she was not
able to even walk without kicking mammary tissue. She came home
to heal and put on weight and the biggest issue we had was with
her hatred of being crated. We worked through it, though, and
we got her healed and she started learning life as its supposed
On 4th of July weekend, my best friend and her family
came camping at our park and I witnessed a miracle. As soon as
my friend's hubby walked in the door, April came alive for the
first time. She went to his side, looked at him like she'd been
waiting her entire life for him, and never left it again. I asked
Steph if I had permission to rehome her when it was so obvious
that he is where she wanted to be. She said "Of Course!"
and that was the start of Ms Pretty's forever home and forever
life. She was reported to be 5 yr old although we suspected she
may have been a little older.
Randy and Ms Pretty
April was a funny girl that LOVED to be outside.
She would stay outside sunbathing while all the other dogs would
be inside in the A/C. She would hold off winter as long as possible
just wanting to have the freedom to be outdoors and her parents
allowed her until the temperature would drop and then coax her
in. She always slept indoors, but for a dog that had come from
cages too small into a yard of her own, that freedom was just
too sweet to leave for a house. She always had the choice --they
felt she needed that. When PRA made her night blind, they installed
flood lights in the front yard so she could do her business and
find her way back to the door. They rearranged their home and
their lives to make it easier for her to live as a blind dog for
the time she had left. She walked proudly in the town parades
with her girl, Chyanne, and she was known throughout the town
and she LOVED going camping with the family where she'd think
she was the watchdog (see photo below).
Well, after 5.5 years of moving to her real home,
Ms Pretty made her final goodbye. She is now at rest on a knoll
in our park where she began her journey to happiness. The years
of abuse had not robbed her enthusiasm or her love, but her legs
could not support her anymore and her body was just giving out.
Through gentle coaxing and support, Regina and Randy made the
most loving decision to let her go with dignity. She went back
to Jacqueline who helped her when she arrived here and Jacqueline
helped her once again --this time with her family all around her
surrounding her with love and tears. She was a wonderful Mastiff
with a heart of pure gold that never saw the show ring and never
earned a title other than Ms Pretty. Our prayer is that the puppies
she birthed with PRA found homes that were willing to go the extra
mile for them as Regina and Randy had done for her.
Godspeed April, our Ms Pretty. You will be sorely missed.
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