Mhysa the $1000 Dog
We are so thrilled to introduce Mhysa to you all, mother to our adopted puppies Panda and Amanda (now known as Peaches). We are now able to explain her whole story to answer a lot of questions we have been asked.
If you have no interest in reading a long post, we get it :) but all you need to know is: This dog is incredible.
She has spent the entirety of her surprisingly young life guarding a trap house for the owner. She was kept on a chain and kept in the yard to deter thieves and squatters that were not friends of the home owner.
In 2017 she gave birth to a litter of puppies, but rejected them, attacking her puppy Panda and breaking her leg.
Just a week later the trap house was raided by the police. The people there were brought to jail and she was brought to animal control. All of her puppies were taken in by neighbors, family or friends of her owner when they were only one week old. A week later she and her owner were released from their separate jails and allowed to return home.
One week later we were tagged in a Facebook post where one of her puppies, Panda, was being sold for $450-500 by one of the neighbors that had taken her in. We emailed these people as a rescue offering to help, and were ignored. Then we proceeded to text, presenting ourselves as individuals that wanted to buy the puppy because they had rejected the thought of a rescue taking her in. We heard back from them that they had received so many attacking phone calls and emails (because they were selling a 2-3 week old puppy) they had almost decided not to sell her, but they were open to working with us (again as individuals not as a rescue) if we bought the puppy for $100. We agreed and drove to meet them. We saw Panda and she was so tiny and so malnourished. The people who had her were drug addicts that did not know how to care for a puppy her age at all. All they had been feeding her was condensed milk. They told us she was attacked by her mother (Mhysa) and they had only been treating this severely infected leg wound with vaseline. We bought Panda and as we were leaving the woman asked us to breed her and give her one of the puppies so we promised to stay in touch, never thinking we would follow up with her. We took Panda to get emergency medical care and to an experienced foster home which saved her life.
Two weeks later the woman we purchased Panda from texted us to ask if we had any friends that would want to buy Panda's sister. Originally all of the puppies were taken, but the son of their mother's owner had decided to bring back the puppy he had taken. We jumped at the chance to rescue another puppy from these same conditions and said we had a “friend” who would buy the other puppy. We met at the same woman’s house and she walked us down the block to where Mhysa and her owner lived and the other puppy, Amanda, was being kept. When we walked in, the owner put Mhysa out on her chain in the yard, leaving only Amanda in the house. He told us Mhysa was so aggressive that when he had gone to separate her from her puppy, she attempted to attack him as well. Amanda was splayed out on the floor and didn’t want to move. We paid him for her and began to talk to him about his plans. He let us take a peak at Mhysa through the window in the back door and as soon as we made eye contact with her she showed us all of her teeth and charged the door. She was there to guard his property, not to be a pet. She had a job to do and she was very good at this job. After talking for a while he explained he had realized it was time to turn a new leaf and had begun construction on the property and sold it to a developer to turn into apartments. I asked him what his plan was for Mhysa now that he was moving. He said he hadn’t decided yet but that he couldn’t take her with him and he couldn’t sell her because she was dangerous. He had bought her to guard his trap house and he didn’t think she would ever be safe to give away or sell. He was concerned he would be legally destroyed by someone if he sold her and she hurt them. We explained to him that we are trainers who regularly work with dogs with aggression and may have a “client” interested in buying her. He said he wasn’t ready to make that decision so we left telling him to keep us in mind for her. We left with Amanda, who was so malnourished from lack of care she could not walk. After two days in foster care with proper nutrition she snapped back to being the active and energetic puppy she was meant to be!
For three weeks we communicated with this man exclusively through the woman who had sold us Panda originally (neither of them would give us his direct number). She eventually told us he had decided not to sell because of the risks and that he would “take care of her himself,” implying he would rather cut her loose to be run over or shoot her himself. At this point we began to do our legal research and contact local authorities. These authorities had taken her from her home and returned her, thinking her life on a chain did not constitute abuse. We were lost as to how we could help this dog that no one else wanted to help or even knew existed. We gave up hope when the woman we were communicating with told us he decided he would not sell the dog, and authorities were unable to help us.
We decided we had to move on and focus on her puppies. Weeks went by until we received another call. The man was willing to part with Mhysa, but asked for a price of $1000 to do so. We were thrilled that we may actually be able to save her but discouraged by the price. In the grand scheme of things, this is a fairly reasonable price for a dog like her in the eyes of a man like him, as many people sell their pit bulls and mixes on Craigslist or Facebook for even more, especially when they are unspayed females. They promote them as being worth the money because with one litter you can “make it all back.” We decided not to negotiate with him as we normally would because he was so insecure about selling her at all. As a last ditch effort we put out our posts on social media and began a gofundme campaign. We knew this would be a polarizing issue for many people: to spend so much money to save one dog who may be too aggressive to ever be adopted out. We knew many people would not understand this journey we had been on with Panda and Amanda’s rescues and would make assumptions about this man and his motives that were not accurate. We also knew we had to take the chance to try to raise the funds necessary to save her. We have said since the day we founded that we would run a transparent rescue on social media and this was honestly what we aim to do: to save the dogs others either can’t or choose not to. We are so lucky that we have a support system because in two days we raised all of the funding necessary and we went to go get Mhysa.
The night before we saved her, both of Mhysa’s puppies Amanda and Panda found a loving home together forever (view above gallery of them enjoying life over the past year!
The next night we pulled up to the house where she was living. Her owner came out to meet us and asked us to back all the way into his drive way. He was very concerned that the neighbors would realize he no longer had the dog and would steal from his property, so he wanted to make sure no one saw her leave with us. She was aggressive so he had us wait around the corner while he put her in the crate in the back of our car. When we heard the car doors close we knew she was finally, finally safe! We went to meet him in the driveway and paid him. He thanked us. He said again he was at a loss for what to do with her. He had tenants moving in in three weeks and would not be able to have her or any other dog at that time, but he knew she was too big of a risk to give to anyone else. He didn’t want to hurt her, but we have come to understand in his warped view of the world it would have been a kinder option for him to kill her himself quickly than have anything bad happen to her. We disagree of course, or we wouldn’t be here right now.
On the drive to her new foster home, Mhysa was silent. She didn’t move or shift as the car turned or stopped. Occasionally we would hear one sniff as she would smell the wind coming into the car, trying to figure out where she was being taken. When we arrived at her foster home we opened up the back of the car to get our first good look at this “vicious monster” of a dog. What we saw was a tiny little girl, white with adorably placed brown spots that made her almost identical to her daughter Amanda. She wasn’t showing her teeth or growling. She was sitting calmly and quietly in the back corner of the crate and when she saw us putting on bite gloves and bringing out the heavy duty slip leave to walk her, she actually wagged her tail. This vicious, scary, attack dog actually wagged her tail at us! Dogs are so incredibly resilient, and Mhysa is the epitome of this. She settled into her foster home for the night, and just 12 hours later she was forever bonded to us! Since that day, she has continued to improve and prove everyone wrong about her!
It has now been years since we first got involved in her life and Mhysa is completely unrecognizable from the dog we first saw, trying to attack us from the end of her chain (view above gallery of her over the past few years). She now loves her forever foster family (who live at the Ranch with Mhysa and their four dogs) with all her heart. Turns out she is actually a great dog, she just needed a loving home to give her a chance!
Mhysa went through a great deal of training while in her foster home, but we made the difficult decision that she would never be a candidate for adoption. Given her history, she was able to bond closely to a handful of people, but did not want anyone else in her life. We have decided to follow her lead and keep her as a permanent member of the Wayward Ranch family! She will have a wonderful home with us for the rest of her life and we are so happy to have her. She is treasured and loved every day of her life!