Wednesday, March 29, 2023





From the time she arrived from Missouri, three year old Sissy was the social butterfly and the "girly girl" of the Missouri 11. With her cheery disposition, sweet temperament and “happy dance,” this darling girl charmed both of her foster homes and then her forever family.  When she arrived on her Pet Airways flight, it was clear that life in a puppy mill didn’t snuff out her joy or curiosity. Despite bearing litters for profit, Sissy was never afraid of people and thought that everyone she met would love her … and we do!

Sissy was fostered with Franklin for the first month after she arrived in Baltimore.  She made excellent progress in her leash manners, ability to get along with other dogs, and being comfortable riding in a car and visits to the vet and pet supply stores.  Like many puppy mill dogs who’d lived in a crate or outdoor pen, Sissy struggled a bit with housebreaking so when Pretty Boy Floyd got comfortable enough to start challenging the senior male it was quickly decided that Sissy would move to Ilonka and Mike’s home to keep their resident dogs safe and springboard Sissy into a new situation that would give her more consistent reinforcement on her housebreaking (i.e. a working from home foster Mom).Snow_playHappy_face

Sissy’s sweet personality and ability to love life made her an adored member of her second American Fox Terrier Rescue foster home.  As her housebreaking skills become rock solid, it was clear this little lady was ready for her forever home.

On a very (!!!) rainy day, Sissy’s two foster Moms met at Marilee and Martha’s home for a home visit and introduction. Both of these fine women were charmed with Sissy’s easy going temperament and sweet personality. Sissy loved their calm demeanor and good energy and it was soon apparent this was a perfect match.

We are so happy with Marilee’s update below! It tells us that Sissy (now Ruby) is loved beyond measure which is EXACTLY what this sweet girl and every foster dog in American Fox Terrier Rescue ’s care deserves!

Ruby’s World

My partner Martha and I shared life and time with a wire-haired fox terrier, Roxie, for nearly 16 delightful years until her death on the second to the last day of 2009. (Parts of the story of that life are shared on the blog I started writing in Roxie’s voice in 2006, Roxie’s World. You can find that here:

Our grief when Roxie passed was profound, but a little more than a year later we felt ready to be part of a pack again and so began researching our options online. We had never had a rescue dog before, but the story of the Missouri 11 caught our eye and tugged at our hearts as we explored the possibilities. We knew and loved the breed and agreed that we didn’t mind bypassing puppyhood this time around, so late one Saturday night at the tail end of February, I filled out an adoption application through American Fox Terrier Rescue . The next day Debi Drake called and declared she thought she had a little girl who would be a great match for us. A week later, “Sissy” of the Missouri 11, a small but adorable 3-year-old, came for a home visit along with Debi and foster mom, Ilonka Welda. An hour or so later, the two human visitors left, but Sissy/Ruby stayed with us. (Like Roxie, Ruby is named after one of my and Martha’s grandmothers. In this case, the grandmother was a 5’11” part-Cherokee woman who drove around West Texas in a white Falcon taking orders for the family produce business. Martha’s family is much more colorful than mine is.)


Here are some highlights of Ruby’s brief but happy history in her new home:


Ruby loves people. She greets everyone by getting up on her hind legs and gazing up longingly, hoping that the human will bend down for a kiss or an ear rub. She is usually successful in getting one or the other (or both!), because those foxy brown eyes of hers are darn near irresistible. She is also very friendly with other dogs. We took her to dinner at the home of some friends of ours recently, and their two-year-old dachshund spent much of the evening barking hysterically at Ruby, right up in her face. Ruby was absolutely placid. She never barked back. She never even moved! She was as serene as a Buddha on the brink of enlightenment. On walks, she hangs back from other dogs until she knows they are friendly, and then she engages, eagerly and playfully. She does well on the leash, never tugging, as her predecessor was so fond of doing.



She is wonderful to have around the house. She has become Martha’s official research assistant, a job that requires epic amounts of napping on the floor of Martha’s study. She is also an accomplished snuggler, content to spend hours on the big couch in the great room pressed up close to one mom or another. (She thoroughly enjoyed both the NCAA basketball tournament and HBO’s remake of Mildred Pierce, despite its rather too slavish fidelity to the novel on which it is based.) She loves her crate and will sometimes take herself upstairs and climb in for a break, though as she has settled into the household she is doing that less. She rarely barks, but she seems to be figuring out that a well-timed whine can come in handy. We call her a girlie-girl, because she is so much less dominating than Roxie was and because her default pose is to sit with her paws daintily crossed in front of her.


We recently discovered that Ruby also loves riding in the car and visiting human and canine members of her new extended family. She accompanied us on a road trip to Michigan and Indiana over Fourth of July and loved everything except fireworks (of course!). She was calm and quiet in the car, got along beautifully with her cousin Scooter, a beagle/basset mix (and also a rescue), and charmed everyone she met, including my 80-year-old mother, who is in somewhat fragile condition after enduring several months of chemo and radiation for lung cancer. Ruby was attentive yet gentle with Mom, proving again that dogs have great instincts and empathy when it comes to humans. I cherish the photos I took of my bald mother giving her new grand-dog’s wiry coat a light brushing while Ruby sat patiently on the floor in front of her chair. The smile on Mom’s face says all you need to know about the joy dogs bring to human lives.


Ruby shows no signs of having been permanently harmed by the awful conditions of her first three years of life. She has had a problem with hookworm, but our wonderful vet, Dr. JoAnne Carey of the Takoma Park Animal Clinic, is helping us knock that out. (We closely followed the saga of Doug, another of the Missouri 11 who had a terrible health scare because of intestinal parasites.) She has quickly adjusted to life among humans who are eager to play with her and wait on her hand and, um, paw. It’s been interesting to watch her learn what it means to play, as that was something that was clearly missing from her life in the puppy-mill. She took to toys right away and has now learned that tug is a fun way to hold the attention of the humans. We’ve been delighted to watch her take possession of what we describe as our home’s ridiculously large back yard. She seemed a little intimidated by all that space at first, but now she races from one end of it to the other in a mad, happy blur. She loves to chase after a tossed ball. We are hoping she’ll soon realize the game is even more entertaining if she brings the ball back to the person who threw it.

In_dog_bed Sleepy

As is probably clear, we are totally smitten with little Ruby and pleased as punch to be dog people who finally have a dog again. One beautiful evening in May, a neighbor driving by saw us the three of us out in the front yard admiring the big azalea bush in its spring glory and stopped to say, “You all just look happier these days. And Ruby looks pretty happy, too!” We are, and we have a hunch she is, too. We are grateful as we can be to all the good folks at American Fox Terrier Rescue who helped bring this sweet critter into our lives. Thanks for all you do for dogs and people.



This couldn't happen without your ongoing support.  Help us give all these wonderful dogs the gift of health.  Just click the "Donate" button below to make your tax deductible donation via PayPal.  Or mail your tax deductible donation toKathy Lauer, American Fox Terrier Rescue Treasurer, 8738 Prestwick Parkway, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443




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