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Kyra’s Legacy

November 19, 2012

Some of you know that I have an etsy shop where I sell items I crochet. This is not an advertisement for my shop. However, I do want to share why my shop is named Kyra’s Cabin.

This time of year, many people are considering getting a puppy or kitten for a Christmas present. There are so many things to think about in making this decision. Before you rush out to the pet store or answer an ad in the newspaper, please read this all the way through.

In spite of what they will tell you in the pet stores, almost all of those sweet puppies DO come from puppy mills. No responsible breeder would let their pups go to anyone who just walked in and laid down the cash on the counter. They would want to know what kind of home that pup (or kitten) was going to.

There has been a lot of news lately about puppy mills being closed down, but many people don’t know what a puppy mill is. I don’t want to depress you, and you can google puppy mills and select images to see what they are really like, to see where those cute puppies come from and where their parents are held captive. In a few sentences, puppy mills are commercial breeders who keep the dogs in small cages and provide poor care and poor food. They don’t get to go out in the sunshine to run on the grass in the summer, or to lie on a rug in a warm house in the winter.

That brings us back to Kyra, for whom Kyra’s Cabin is named. Kyra was a prisoner of greed in a Missouri puppy mill from her birth. She spent twelve—yes, twelve—years living in a tiny cage with at least one more Maltese. Every time she came into heat, she would be bred. Her babies would be taken from her too early, often at four to six weeks, and sold to a broker, who would transport them to a pet store. Often these puppies have congenital heart defects, or bad hips or knees because of indiscriminate breeding, or even inbreeding.

Kyra was rescued by a friend of mine who had a Maltese rescue in Missouri. Kyra came with four other Maltese. Kyra was very afraid, and emotionally shut down. My friend Jean took the five dogs to her vet, as is routine. Kyra, who was named on her AKC papers Jala Tinker but was known to her owner as Number 19, had a lump in her abdomen. Jean and the vet both thought she might be pregnant, but since neither could feel any pups, they took an x-ray. The x-ray showed no puppies, but a mass. Kyra was scheduled for her spay and the mass was removed, along with her spleen. The mass was a blood clot the size of a grapefruit! Kyra weighed about seven pounds! At some point, she had been dropped, kicked, or hit hard enough to injure her spleen and cause internal bleeding. It was a miracle that she was even alive because dogs in puppy mills get no veterinary care.

Kyra, aka Tinker, lived with Jean for the next six months, getting all the love and care she could possible get. It was then that I saw her on my friend’s website. I asked Jean about her and soon Tinker was to come live with my two daughters and me. We changed her name as soon as we knew she was ours. Her new name was BelleKyra Joy. Belle because she was a beauty, Kyra means little girl, and Joy was our hope for her. We decided we would call her Kyra.

Kyra was mostly blind and deaf, and my other Maltese, Max, became her constant companion and helper. They were inseperable.

In just a few months, Kyra went from being like a severely autistic child, living in her own world to being a beautiful, funny, loving little girl. She lived with us for almost two years before she had several seizures and went to Rainbow Bridge. She left her mark on many lives during her time with us.

It is in honor of her that Kyra’s Cabin is named, and a portion of the profits from sales there goes to rescues.

So, before you rush out to the pet store to choose a cute puppy, please remember Kyra, and where the parents of those pups are. Go to a shelter or contact a rescue group. Those dogs have so much to offer, and give back so much!

I wrote this poem the first Christmas Kyra was with us, 2000. I share it every year, in hopes that it will touch someone’s heart and another mill dog will find a forever home.

Kyra’s First Christmas

 My family’s getting ready

For a very special day.

I think that it’s called Christmas,

At least that’s what they say.

The house is dressed in pretty things,

A tree has pretty lights.

I just don’t understand it,

But Mom says it’s all right.

I’ve never known what Christmas was,

Although I’ve known the cold–

A prisoner of someone’s greed

Till I was twelve years old.

My wire cage was filthy,

And my food was often bad.

” More puppies!” they demanded,

Though more than thirty I had had.

Just before this day last year,

In a small Missouri town,

The gift of freedom came to me,

And love was what I found.

I was too scared to know it then,

But soon I’d have a home

And family who would love me–

A soft bed to call my own.

Now I am beginning to see

Though my eyes are growing dim,

That Christmas is a birthday–

A day to honor Him.

A King who came to earth one night

He left His heavenly throne

To save the people here on earth,

A gift like I have known.

He came to save all people

Who were in prisons such as I

He knows their pain and suffering

And for them He came to die.

There were some others staying there

Who brayed and mooed and crowed.

I know He loves the animals,

For that’s the place He chose.

And so, because of them

This little prayer is said:

Lord, send someone to save my friends,

The ones still in the sheds.

They’re cold and lonely, scared and starved,

And they have no family

To love and feed and cuddle them–

They need them desperately.

So they may know next Christmas

The joy of running free,

That hands were made for loving–

A gift like You gave me.

–DeEtte Anderton 9 December 2000

This was the day Kyra, known then as Tinker, was rescued. Her eyes show sadness and fear. She didn’t know what was happening to her.

This was just a year later! Max (left) and Kyra (right) in their first Christmas photo. Look at the difference in Kyra’s eyes! By this time, she was a funny, silly little girl who played games with us.

Kyra was playing outside in the sunshine in January 2001.

In case you are interested,


From → Pets

  1. She was so precious and cute.

    • She was, Barbara! She loved to play the “chase me” game, but it was very ordered. She never tried to get away from us, but she wanted us to follow her around the circle from the living room to the kitchen and back into the living room. She was blind, and she knew the route. If we didn’t follow her, she would stop and wait for us to come. She was known for her smile. People who knew her still comment on that. After so long in the horrors of the puppy mills, when she found home, she smiled.

      I have the chain with her name, number, and the USDA registration number for the puppy mill she was at.

  2. I can safely say that all of our dogs are rescued. Our Fudge died earlier this year, and Chewie joined us. With so many loving animals in need of a home, we cannot possibly justify anything else. And our hearts belong to them utterly.

    • It always makes me happy to know others who adopt rescues. After Kyra, I have had two other former mill mamas, plus cats that were rescued. I have also fostered. My Max that I mentioned in the blog was my special buddy. He left me in February of this year at the age of 14. It’s never easy. I am sorry for your loss of Fudge, but I am glad that Chewie is with you now. Thanks for reading my blog.

  3. Boy did I come to the right site today. Bless you for this! All the profits from my book are going to help rescue dogs. The inspiration for this was Tazzie, a rottie (lived to be 15+ years=ancient for a big dog), who came from a puppy mill and was sold in a pet shop in L.A. Once freed, she was so traumatized that she ran away from her owners and was hit by a truck, broke her femur, and they threw her away to be put down. Lucky for us, we found this amazing girl and adopted her. I learned more and with Tazzie than any other living friend I’ve ever had. Her portrait hangs in our bedroom and because of my love for her (and my husband’s) we are tirelessly working to do what we can to get dogs out of cages and into forever homes. And, there is a silver lining to Tazzie’s sad beginnings: pet shops in Los Angeles can no longer sell dogs from puppy mills.


    • I am so glad you came by! Yes, these dogs are so special. What some people consider throw-aways, are some of the best friends! There was a time, not long after Kyra came to live with us, that a friend looked at her and said, “You didn’t pay anything for her, did you?” I thought, “Hmm, I had to pay for my round trip airfare, her one-way airfare, motel room for the night, food, and other transportation costs, but that was only money. She is the one who paid the price, with twelve years of her life! No, I didn’t pay anything.” I, too, am very happy about LA not allowing the sales. It is a step in the right direction, for sure! Thank you for sharing your Tazzie’s story!

  4. My pleasure. There’s never enough I can say about my Tazzie. And, please feel free to friend me on facebook and you’ll see top of my page our boy Max & our girl Bella, another two off death row and the sweetest… Big cyber hug to you!

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