Chihuahuas rescued from a puppy farm reunited in Tallinn

Some of the dogs which had been freed from a puppy farm in Sillamäe and are now being properly looked after.
Some of the dogs which had been freed from a puppy farm in Sillamäe and are now being properly looked after. Source: ERR

Chihuahuas rescued from a so-called puppy farm in Sillamäe back in 2021 were reunited, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Sunday. Once malnourished, sick and wary of humans, the dogs are now flourishing in the care of good owners.

It was just before Christmas in 2021 when 94 chihuahua-type dogs were rescued from an apartment in Sillamäe

An NGO, Varjupaikade MTÜ, carried out the operation.

Dogs of all different ages tried to hide, shook with fear – while a few ventured to look at their liberators. But this was already a step in the right direction. 

The animal rescue operation lasted through the night, however. The dogs were hungry, and had been kept in appalling conditions of filth, in some cases, in cages.

This being the first meeting almost two years later, the dogs' adoptive owners wanted to find out whether the dogs recognized each other. 

The start of live in a new home had been difficult for everyone, they added.

Marina, who took on one of the animals, said that in the beginning, the pet bit ate a lot. "In the first month, he gained a lot of weight, grew bigger, but of course, he was afraid of everything. But now we sleep in a hug and can't do without each other,"

For other owners, Anna-Maria ja Rasmus, the issue was the dog biting everyone in sight, early on, they said.

The new owners and their timid new pets were helped out by trainer Krista Laanet, via online training which lasted seven months – a much longer time scale than initially expected.

Laanet told AK that the dogs: "Were all afraid, which is the most disturbing thing, as they had never had anyone they could trust. This winning of trust was the hardest thing.

"Here we have Eimi," Laanet said, gesturing to one of the pets in question.

"She was at almost all of my Sunday training sessions, there on screen, and ae every one of them made little steps of progress made during the week, and this made me happy to the point of tears," Laanet went on.

The shelter staff recognized many of those gathered. Although the stick figures in the shelter had turned into happily wagging tail characters.

Despite the transformation the dogs had made since being rescued, the animal shelter staff of Varjupaikade MTÜ, on whose premises the reunion took place, still recognized many of them.

Anni Annete Mõisamaa, Varjupaikade MTÜ communications manager, said: "Sometimes this type of work, in the field of animal protection, can be quite challenging, but that's what motivates us to do that work - when you see that people care, and they offer the dogs such a good home and are ready to deal even with a difficult dog, and devote time to them."

These same animals, who, two years ago had not even once been outside, were able to demonstrate that they remain not only loyal and grateful friends, but had also learned, through training, much more complex activities and tricks.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera'

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