The Dog The Ruined And Saved My Life

By Paulette Mahurin

The first time I saw Tazzie, she was resting on a blanket in the front office of a kill shelter I went to visit. All seventy-eight pounds or her rottie self were confined to a small corner in the room, where the staff had taken pity on her. She immediately caught my attention, her eyes dug into mine, come here, come to me. So I did, while her little stub of a tail wagged, the only part of her body moving.

Tazzie was from a puppy mill in Arkansas, a Rottweiler money-making-farm that shipped puppies to pet shops all over the United States, to be sold, quite a lucrative business for all concerned, except the dogs. Tazzie landed in a store in Santa Monica, California, all the papers were still in her Humane Society file.

A couple bought her, along with another dog, a black lab, and brought her to her new home, a stay that lasted a few weeks, until she ran out the front door and was hit by a truck. Her family didn’t even take her to a vet; instead they dumped her in a kill shelter, in the city where I live to be put down. By the absolute Grace of the inexplicable she was seen by a vet, who diagnosed her with a straight fracture of the thighbone, and if they could keep her quiet it would heal. That’s exactly what they did. God bless them.

Photo on 2010-12-23 at 19.53

I had moved to Ojai, California a couple months earlier and once settled in, I made my way to the local animal shelter, to do what I do when I live anywhere, walk the dogs to get them out of their cages. My husband and I had been involved in Rottweiler rescue for the past 28 years and while tending to our own family fury kids, we also do what we can to help out with walking, holding and socializing scared fury friends who had been dumped off in shelters.Rottweilers, a breed that are high on kill lists, should have surely deemed Tazzie a death sentence, but on the day she arrived there, a sequences of miracles occurred, culminating in my bringing her home with me. It was complete love at first sight.

I’m a nurse by profession and have tended to many ill dogs, abused dogs, scared dogs, you name it, so this was really no big challenge for me, in fact it filled me that I got to be a part of something so magnificent as helping to give my new girl, Tazzie, a better life than the torment she had thus far lived through. It took her two months to mend but in that time, she brought a tick to the house that latched onto my side. I knew right away that the big bulls-eye rash singled Lyme disease, that I needed protective antibiotic treatment. After six months, I discovered I had a treatment failure and my body had advanced into late stage Lyme disease, meningitis and crippling arthritis. During these six months, Tazzie had fully recovered from her fracture.

The Infectious Disease doctor read me the riot act, quit work or it could be dangerous. That was the day I phoned the emergency room physician team I was working with, in the second busiest ER in Los Angeles County, and quit abruptly.
My life as I knew it ended and I took to bed, actually a comfortable chair, Tazzie at my side. During this time, my body was incapable of doing much other than eating, sleeping, reading and writing. There were days when my energy was so low it was hard to talk and so I wrote; writing became my refuge, my sanctuary, my sanity. It allowed me to go to places that were dark, life-threatening contemplations, all the while Tazzie would not leave me. There were days when looking at her was all that kept me alive, a bond I don’t have words to explain. As the days, weeks, months and years evolved, I continued to write and in this time I started to gain strength, in this time I wrote a book, The Persecution of Milded Dunlap. As I approached the end of the novel writing, close to fourteen years after rescuing Tazzie, my health was about 95% returned, I was also back to work as a Nurse Practitioner part-time, specializing in Women’s Health. As the book went to print, Tazzie’s health took a serious turn for the worse, she had to be hand fed and couldn’t move well without assist, and also had something growing in her left eye, which was later diagnosed as ocular cancer.

My husband and I have had many dogs throughout our relationship and I’ve loved them all deeply, as family, but in all my years, I have never know the depth of bond with another animal as with my girl Tazzie, whose portrait hangs on our bedroom wall. That tick bite she transferred to me bought me to face myself, every dark submerged ugly place I held in a tight denial, and in sitting at the seat of everything I’d resisted, I learned what it was to be free, mentally free, of fear. This experience continues to grow and show me a way of living that this moment offers, miracle upon miracle, gratitude, and sensory experiences in abundance. My beautiful Tazzie and that tick, filled with spirochete bacteria, helped me unburden thoughts, beliefs, conditioning, programming that enslaved me into living a life of “shoulds” instead of a life I wanted to live.

A close friend once came to visit and asked me, “Do you have a teacher?” (He meant a Guru) to which I instantly said, “No.” Upon rethinking it, and noticing Tazzie’s leash still hanging in our entrance hall (still there today) I said, “Yes, my dog.” Never has there been a greater teacher, a greater love, a greater expression of tolerance, than this dog, this girl, this fury child, who taught me so much. I found it quite amazing that she came to me ill and while she regained her health I succumbed in mine to a serious physical illness and while I recovered she lay dying. She died at home, in my arms, at the age of fifteen years and two weeks. She wasn’t in pain. She did not suffer. She just quietly went to sleep.

In the fashion as we have with all our dogs when they pass, my husband and I went to a kill shelter to rescue another dog, to give another a chance at life. This time it was painful for me, too raw, because of the depth of loss of Tazzie, and I felt utterly devastated at all the sad faces in cages on death row, at no fault of their own. I wanted to do more than bring home one or two dogs. This was around the time the first and only no-kill shelter opened in Ventura County, CA. (a large county with close to a million residents). This was also around the time when I finished my novel. It was a no-brainer for me to decide to use the profits from my book to help them. To this day, all profits from sales of my book are going to Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, (SPARC); an homage to my girl Tazzie.

Author Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

Facebook Page: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap


About Davy Greene
SEO analyst by profession, in addition to working with Search Engine Optimization(SEO) for more than 4 years.

68 Responses to The Dog The Ruined And Saved My Life

  1. What a beautiful and noble thing you did. If I could, I would save every animal from every shelter–and from factory farms, too. I am so glad Tazzie had such love and a life with you. God bless you!

  2. sofiasiberia says:

    It is a dear post! God bless all the people who love and care for animals! ❤

  3. Beautiful. Dogs are such miracles.

  4. Awwww this is an amazing story. Hugs

  5. Thank you so much for featuring my article here. I’m so grateful. You have a wonderful site and it’s so generous of your to share it with others. My gratitude also to all here who liked and commented. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year & Peace on Earth. Paulette

  6. Teju says:

    So beautiful! God bless you, dear friend. This is exactly what the world is desperately in need of right now!

  7. taymecanencia says:

    Hi! Lovely post… I’ve nominated you in The Versatile Blogger Award  check it here: … Happy Blogging 

  8. This is an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing it here Sandeep, and for providing the links to buy her book, and support the no-kill shelter. Lovely work you are doing here on your blog. Many thanks. Namaste. ~Gina

  9. James says:

    I have learned so much about dog behaviors and how to respond accordingly without yelling or intimidating using this guide

    • That’s really great, James. Dogs, like all other living creatures (including us humans) don’t like being yelled at our intimidated. That’s such an important point you brought up and I’m grateful for it. Wouldn’t the world be a much more wonderful place if we could all demonstrate more kindness? 🙂

  10. Such a beautiful but sad story. I know what you mean about the bond. I had it with my previous Dalmatian. I truly did mourn for her terribly. Such an incredible post

    • Hello there my friend. What we open to with our fury kids really does show us what’s possible. I know that all of us animal lovers wouldn’t trade the pain for a minute to forgo the joy. This is a heartbreak I will continue to endure over and over. My bond with all of them is incredible but with Tazzie, it’s just hard to find the words. Big cyber hug to you. Paulette 🙂

  11. cindy knoke says:

    This made me cry Paulette. What a remarkable person you are! There is a young girl who is following me who is having a seriously hard go with Lyme Disease. It has placed her life on hold, in a very lonely way and she is quite young. I haven’t heard from her in awhile. I will send her this post.
    Toss a stone into the water and you can never tell where the ripples will go……..Cheers to you my dear~

    • Hi Cindy. For some reason I’m just seeing this now and my apologies. If you do hear from her tell her to feel free to contact me via my blog site. If there’s anything I can do to help another I certainly will try. Hugs to you, friend. Paulete

  12. coastalmom says:

    I just re-read this story and love it!

  13. Thank you, Carla, for your very kind words. 🙂 Paulette

  14. It’s remarkable in favor of me to have a website, which is useful for my know-how. thanks admin

  15. What an awesome story! Thank you for sharing this. I am such an animal lover…it is amazing how they heal and love us unconditionally.

  16. Hello,
    I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
    Check it out

  17. Sue Vincent says:

    Paulette, you and Tazzie have me in tears, lass.

    • Hi Sue, Tazzie was one of the great loves of my life. I have two portraits of her in my bedroom, the one I painted above and another oil I had done when she was much older. It’s been close to two years since her passing and there are still days I get emotional over her not being around, that’s how deep the bond was. She was my greatest teacher. But you, a dog mom, know. Hugs to you.

  18. Lada Ray says:

    Beautiful post, Paulette! Thank you for sharing the story behind Mildred Dunlap. I cried. Tazzie is a very special girl, and you are very special too. I am privileged to know you. 🙂
    And the portrait it lovely – truly.

  19. gita4elamats says:

    Hi Paulette, it is nice to Tassie again. 🙂

  20. moonierh says:

    What an amazing story, I’d wish all people were like you!

    • That’s very kind of you to say. Thank you. I think there are a lot of really great people out there, helping animals: two and four legged, just wish we’d hear about more of them in the news. 🙂 Paulette

      • moonierh says:

        Oh yes, I totally agree with you. And of some reason I think a lot of people are a bit embarassed to show their “affection” for animals, unfortunately. But it’s great to find some people like you 🙂

  21. well worth a re-read. Just such a great story.

  22. Reblogged this on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and commented:
    The inspiration behind all my profits going to the first and only no kill animal shelter in Ventura County, CA.

  23. Paulette, you are amazing. God bless Tazzie. And you.

  24. How can people throw out broken animals out with the trash. What a story!

  25. Angeline M says:

    This post is so profound, and it made me cry!
    I was taking care of my granddog, a Boston Terrier, that I just love, while my son and daughter in law were away, and she had a seizure one evening as she lay by my side while I was reading. She has been healthy all along, and this really has scared me. She recovered quickly, but the thought of anything happening to her makes me sad.
    Thank you again for all that you do for our little four legged friends.

  26. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Beautifully written.

  27. Brittany says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!:)

    I’m running a giveaway on my blog at the moment if you want to check it out..

    Hugs, Brittany, xx

  28. Denise Hisey says:

    Ah Paulette… I’m typing through tears. You and your Tazzie saved each other.
    It was similar for my Pepper and me.
    Dogs are without question the best teachers in the world.

  29. There’s nothing in the world that compares to the wonder of a ‘doctor dog.’

  30. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    Blessed, beautiful dog. I hate, hate those puppy farms. God, what is WRONG with us? I wish I could just make them stop.

    As for not even taking her to a vet… Thank mercy you came along.

    • Thank mercy indeed. And, boy am I with you on puppy mills. We have one now from a rottie puppy mill, the sweetest little guy, Max. He was born missing a paw and thrown into a kill shelter because the the backyard breeder couldn’t sell him. With all that’s done to them they rebound full of love and loyalty. I can’t stomach the abuse. And, bless all the good hearts out their making a difference to help them and others, humans included, in need to help. The angels that live on earth. xoxo

  31. kurleelocks says:

    Dearest Paulette,

    This is such an inspiring story in so many ways! Having met and shared a bit of time with Tazzie during her final years, I know just how precious she was to you and Terry (and her spirit still is).

    Your book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap — — is inspiring in itself for the lessons it teaches, but to see how its effects are spreading around the world, while also helping not only your local animal shelter, but other shelters as more people become aware and contribute to their animal shelters as well.

    Huge heartfelt hugs,
    ~ Holly

  32. Pingback: The Dog That Ruined And Saved My Life | Kurleelocks's Blog

  33. What a moving post. I hope the lymes is gone with no lingering side effects – such a rotten disease!
    As for our furry four legged pals, it never ceases to surprise me what an impact they have on us!

    • Hello and thank you reversecommuter! My Lyme Disease is about 90% resolved now and if I pay close attention to things that trigger it I stay in pretty good shape. A great relief to have my health returned to this extent. We now have two new four legged kids, Max & Bella, and I attribute a lot of my joy to them and the work I’m continuing to do to help other furry friends. Really appreciate your comment here and wishing you peaceful holidays. Paulette

  34. What a beautiful story! It’s sad to hear people taking helpless animals for granted and as money making machines. It’s such a great thing you did and hopefully I would do something like that one day too.

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