Dressing the Dog-Chapter 1, Part One


Chapter 1 (Part One)


“I don’t know where we come from, and I don’t know where we go.

But my arms were made to hold you, so I will never let you go.  Cuz you were born…”

– Cloud Cult (You Were Born)

I’m going to tell you a story.  It’s a story about a little dog… an extraordinary little dog, who did extraordinary little things.  It’s a story about ME, Millie LaRue… an extraordinary little Yorkshire Terrier.  Some people believe that our lives are already decided for us… that everything is fated to happen… we are just living it all out.  I’m not so sure.  There were lots of times I made the decision to turn left or right… to sit or stay…to sleep or get up.  Were my choices already pre-destined… or at those times, did I control my own future?  I think we take what we are given, and make a life out of it.  If you had told me that I would end up here, from where I started, I would never have believed it.  How did this even happen?  To me?  A little dog?  You know how you sometimes wonder how your life would be different if you had gone for your walk just 5 minutes sooner… or if you hadn’t stopped to smell the dead squirrel for that extra 10 seconds?  Well, that’s what happened to me, when years ago, Mummy and Daddy made the decision to buy me instead of one of two other Yorkies. WHEW!  Lucky little me.  I still can’t believe it myself.  To tell this the way it needs to be told I need to start at the beginning… but how do I follow this life-thread of mine all the way back to where it began?  It’s hard to find the REAL BEGINNING of something.  Everything touches something else.  But I think I need to start before I was even born… with Bella.


I’ve heard the story about my sister Bella many times, mainly because every time I travel anywhere with Mummy she carries a little framed picture of Bella with her, and she will hold me close in her arms, cradling me like a real baby, and say to me, “Millie, if it wasn’t for little Bella, I wouldn’t have you!  What do you think you would be doing right now if you weren’t mine?”  Now honestly… how can I know that?  I just blink, and look back at her, and she always cries… then she covers me in little puppy kisses.  So yes, I certainly know the story of Bella and it sort-of makes ME cry, too.


The story began many years ago, on Mummy’s birthday.  It was a chilly, rainy winter so Mummy and Daddy decided on the spur of the moment to drive down to Miami, Florida for some sun.  Their little doggie clan, the “Yorkshire terrorists,” were left in the hands of my two human brothers.  They would take turns staying at the house and keep an eye on everything.  On their first morning away, Mummy and Daddy were having a gourmet, pool-side breakfast, just reading the paper and planning their day, when Mummy ran across the “classifieds” and saw some Yorkie puppies for sale.  If I had been there with her at the time, even I could have told you that before the weekend was over, the family would be ONE YORKIE BIGGER!  Daddy saw a “look” on Mummy’s face and asked what her concentrated expression was all about, so she showed him the Yorkie ads.  NO!  That was his reply.  He said there were already 3 Yorkies at home: Bebe, Elvis and Sophie… and they didn’t need another one.  Mummy took the paper back, folded it up and pulled her straw hat down over her eyes.  Ohhhhh, Daddy should have known then it was already over… he was gonna lose this one.  For the next hour his questions were answered with one-word responses: yes, no, maybe, whatever.  “I just thought you would want to get me something REALLY SPECIAL for my birthday tomorrow.”  That’s what Mummy said… real soft-like… with her eyes still closed and her hat still pulled down over her eyes.  “That’s all.”  Daddy let out a groan and then laughed.


The story about Bella is short and long at the same time.  Mummy DID convince Daddy to get her a puppy for her birthday.  They spent two days looking at every single listing in that paper, but Mummy said she just didn’t see what she wanted.  OH SURE, all puppies are adorable, but she would know the right one when she saw it.  When the time came to head back home, they still hadn’t found a puppy.  Now Daddy, who hadn’t wanted to buy a puppy in the first place, was upset because this was going to be his birthday present to Mummy.  The day they were driving back was Mummy’s ACTUAL BIRTHDAY and he wanted to find a puppy on THAT DAY.  When they were 3 hours from home, they stopped in Jacksonville, Florida to fill up with gas and Daddy bought a local newspaper.  It was getting late and Mummy really wanted to get home… but there were two ads for puppies so Daddy called one of them.  The people said, “SURE, come on by… we have one puppy.  She is a tiny little thing and you’ll just fall in love with her!!!”  And sure enough, Mummy fell in love right away.  She was very tiny, barely 1 pound.  The “breeder” said that she was eating pretty good but just give her some baby food if they had any problems getting her to eat.  THAT should have been the first sign of trouble.  There were actually signs everywhere…big red danger signs, but Mummy only saw that sweet little puppy.  Ohhhhh man, she learned so much from that experience, but it’s all hindsight now.  A lot of pain.  A lot of tears.  A lot of money.  A lot of pain… oh I said that already, well that’s because there was a LOT OF PAIN!!!  She named the puppy Bella on the drive home.


The next morning, Bella wouldn’t eat.  She wouldn’t drink either.  In fact, Bella NEVER took one single lap of water or bite of food on her own for her entire life, which wasn’t very long.  Mummy called the “breeder” the next day and let him know that there was a problem.  He told her that the puppy was just “getting used to her new home” and just give her a chance to settle into her surroundings.  He said that he would “pray” for Bella.  Mummy and Daddy took Bella to the vet for her health check-up and he said she was REALLY TINY!!!  They told him she was not eating and he instructed them to continue with the syringe feedings like they had been doing.  Day two brought more of the same.  Honestly, it was worse than a human baby at this point!!!  She couldn’t keep herself warm so they had to keep her on a heating pad or walk around with her inside their shirt, snuggled up against their own skin for warmth. –SIGH- In the hopes of uncovering any past issues, Mummy called the “breeder” again but the call went unanswered… in fact, he refused to answer all further calls.  They were on their own.


Every other day Mummy was back at the vet but they couldn’t find anything wrong.  Bella just wasn’t getting any better.  Finally, in frustration, Mummy told the vet she wanted a full-body x-ray done, and BAM… there it was.  Her little body was filling up with fluids for some unknown reason.  An ultrasound was needed to see if she had a genetic liver shunt and the closest facility with a machine was 3-hours away, so Mummy bundled up Bella and made the trip.  Sadly, Bella was just too tiny for a shunt to show up on the machine and Mummy was told to bring her back when she weighed about three pounds and they could try again.  THREE POUNDS!!!  After one month, she still only weighed ONE POUND!  Mummy started crying and told them she would never be able to get her up to 3 pounds!!!  Bella died at home the next day.  Mummy said that she had failed Bella.  She should have been able to nurse her back to health and now she was gone.  For a solid month she barely left that little puppy.  She carried her around next to her heart to keep her warm, fed her every hour on the hour, and it was all for nothing.  A tiny little life that came and went and Mummy was devastated.  She went to bed and refused to get up, saying that she never wanted another dog, EVER AGAIN!!!


After several weeks had passed, Daddy said that he wanted to get another puppy and had found a HEALTHY litter that he was going to see, but Mummy refused to go with him.  Daddy went without her and emailed her pictures of 3 fat, little puppies… 4 months old.  The age that puppies SHOULD BE when a breeder sells a puppy!!!  Mummy cocked her head to one side as one of the puppy pictures caught her eye. Hmmm, maybe she should have gone to see them.  When Daddy got home she asked him if he would take her back the next day to see the puppies, and he did.  As soon as she walked in, she saw the three puppies in their little playpen.  She recognized the one that caught her eye in the email and scooped her up right away.  She started to cry just a little and said, “This is the one that I want.”  The breeder said that the other two girls were really cute too… maybe she should look at those just to be sure.  But Mummy said, “NO, I’m sure that THIS IS THE ONE!”  That little puppy was ME.  And so it was, that my extraordinary life began on that day, and I would begin to do extraordinary things in the arms of someone who would love me in the most extraordinary way.  On the drive home, she would name me Millie LaRue.


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  • Barb Pesola

    02.05.2018 at 19:05 Reply

    Oh my gosh I’m crying! ❤️❤️

  • Dolarosa

    02.05.2018 at 19:16 Reply

    Tears for Bella. How devastating! I ❤️ yorkies!

  • Joan Evans

    02.05.2018 at 19:44 Reply

    Millie you should of issued a tissue warning
    Going to love reading the rest. xoxox.

  • Denise La Peter

    02.05.2018 at 19:48 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. So sad. It would be great if you posted your experience with Bella on your FB page. Too many people experience what you went through because someone is looking to make money at the expense of others by breeding these small, unhealthy puppies. It is heartbreaking for the family, the puppies and the dogs they breed often too young and kept in terrible conditions. There are still so many people that don’t know who to contact or what to ask / look for when buying a puppy and it leaves them vulnerable to breeders like the one in your story. If someone reads your story hopefully they can learn from your experience and not experience the heartache that you did with sweet Bella.

  • Carol Amick

    02.05.2018 at 19:57 Reply

    Millie, Bella’s story made me cry too. But I am glad that you came into Mummy’s life to “rescue” her.

  • Jan Mellon

    02.05.2018 at 20:17 Reply

    You have all of the feels in the story! I love it, oh and Yorkies as well

  • Sandi Ginac

    02.05.2018 at 20:30 Reply

    Your story touched my heart because I also ended up with a liver shunt puppy named Bailey. We were lucky enough to have little Bailey for a year before loosing him. I like you had a piece of me die that day and knew that love could never be replaced. Then little CJ came into my life and began to heal my broken heart. I had him for 13 years before he joined Bailey at the Rainbow Bridge. Now my heart belongs to a little girl named Mia. I am so grateful that I allowed my heart to love again and I’m glad you did too because Millie brings so much joy to all those who know her. Thank you for telling your story so I don’t feel like I was the only one this ever happened to.

  • Janet Shiels

    02.05.2018 at 21:02 Reply

    Sweet Millie you truly are mommy’s blessing.

  • Susan Thomas

    02.05.2018 at 22:22 Reply

    awwwwwwwww Millie I certainly believe in fate. I’m sure it was fate that brought your Mummy to you. I was so very honored to get to meet you, your sisters, your Mummy and Daddy last summer! it will soon be a year can you imagine? love you pretty girl!

  • Denise Clark

    02.05.2018 at 22:42 Reply

    Poor little Bella…think of the life she would’ve had if mummy and daddy hadn’t loved her for that month. Mummy and daddy gave her everything they had especially love.

  • Sharon Terrel

    02.05.2018 at 22:44 Reply

    I enjoyed reading this very very touching story. Such a sad story on Bella.

    I know my Rock carried our little one around in a cut off wool military sock inside his bibs for a full year. . That was before doggy clothes. As they told him the little one wouldn’t survive the weekly chemical treatments she was being given some 24 yrs ago. She was 2#. She lived a bother 12 years.

    I’m so glad mommy saw something special in that pic your daddy sent her. Mommy knew who she wanted before she got to the new breeder. I would say you , and mommy are so blessed to have each other. It was meant to be. Thanks to daddy for taking those pics. God bless you all.

  • Susan

    02.05.2018 at 22:54 Reply

    Sweet Millie, you’re such a bundle of joy, coming into your Mummy’s life at the perfect time! I enjoy reading about all your adventures with your family and it was so much fun meeting you last summer. Wishing you and Mummy a safe and fun-filled trip to Paris. We’ll be looking forward to seeing lots of selfies in your tres chic fashion! Pink is jealous, but sends lots of hugs and kisses!

  • Leslie Corbell

    02.05.2018 at 22:57 Reply

    I loved resding your story and can’t wait for more. I’m sorry Bella didn’t make it, but so glad mummy got you.

  • Laurie Piazza-howard

    02.05.2018 at 23:15 Reply

    Dear Ms. Millie
    This is a story that really needed to told, by you. This mummy had a lump in her throat, and tears in her eyes during this chapter. I am thrilled that you, and your mummy have decided to share this personal. loving story with us. Izzy, Bella Rose, and myself, will be sitting right here at our computer anxiously waiting for the next chapter.

  • Laura Seavers

    02.05.2018 at 23:25 Reply

    I got leaky eyes reading this story. Your momma has a huge heart and sure did her best for little Bella. I’m glad your daddy knew what would heal her broken heart when Bella went to the Bridge, and that was you! You and your sisters are the sweetest girls I’ve ever met! I love your page here!

  • Sherilynn Admire

    03.05.2018 at 00:08 Reply

    Sweet Millie and Mummy;
    My mommy read this story to me… I had to keep supplying her with tissues… so many tears…
    Such a sweet story. My mommy tells me , “she and I were meant to meet.. after someone stole her precious 3 pound Yorkie.”
    She picked me out when I was a little sprout and ever since (6 years now) we have been great buddies…
    She tells me the Lord puts people and animals together at special moments destined to become beautiful stories…
    We can’t wait for next chapter…
    You know what else… we got to meet your precious self and sisters when you stopped in OK on your great adventures trip!!!
    Mommy told me then you were a very special puppy meant to make many people happy with your story!!!

  • Linda Caster

    03.05.2018 at 00:09 Reply

    Such a beautiful way to honor Bella’s memory and share the beginning of Millie LaRue’s story! My first yorkie, Maxwell, had an inoperable liver shunt and he’s still in my thoughts often. I blamed myself for a long time after his passing that I couldn’t do more for him.

    I look forward to more chapters!

  • Judy Winters

    03.05.2018 at 03:26 Reply

    Oh Millie I am so glad daddy found the ad and went to look at you and sent mommy your picture. Mommy knew at first glance it was YOU she had to have, Love at First Glance♥️ I too was in tears as I read about Bella. Can not wait for next chapter?

  • Janna Tucker

    03.05.2018 at 03:49 Reply

    Oh, Millie. Your story touched my heart! I felt the heartbreak your mommy felt, as her words just kept off of the page and into my mind. I am SO glad that you were there to help her through that hard time! You are such a blessing to her! Much love from Dixie and her mom, Janna❤️

  • Roxann Brousseau

    03.05.2018 at 12:01 Reply

    Beautiful story of your beginning. So sorry mommy had to lose a baby to get you, but if she hadn’t there is no telling what kind of life you would have. Maybe no trips to Paris.
    Looking forward to more.

  • Linda hasha

    04.05.2018 at 19:22 Reply

    With tears in my eyes I’m so sorry for Bella. Millie you are such a blessing for mommy and daddy. I am looking forward to reading about your trip to Paris again, you will have so much fun….
    Safe travels❤️?

  • Linda Silvester

    04.05.2018 at 21:36 Reply

    Oh my what a heart melting story. I’m so glad you were there to help mend Mommy’s shattered heart. ?

  • Tammy Braun

    05.05.2018 at 02:25 Reply

    Oh what a story! I am crying! I am so glad your Mummy got you Millie. Lacy and I are looking forward to the next chapter. We are subscribing!
    Tammy ❤️

  • Jackie Bolin

    05.05.2018 at 23:38 Reply

    Tears. Mummy didn’t fail Bella. She gave Bella a better life than she would have had with that “breeder”.

  • Carol morrison

    06.05.2018 at 23:57 Reply

    What a great story looking forward to more, ???

  • Nancy Carroll

    09.05.2018 at 18:04 Reply

    We are in the car driving to Charleston, SC for a short vacation and my husband is asking why I’m crying ?. What a touching story. And both of your baby pictures are just precious. I have a new 8 month old tiny puppy named Emmi. I have followed your Mommie on FB quite some time and hope we get to meet you someday. Hugs and Puppy kisses ????

    • Darsey Mitchell

      09.05.2018 at 18:08 Reply

      Ohhhh I amso glad that you are enjoying our story! We will add to it every Wednesday morning. Travel safely and I hope that we can meet up one day. ❤️

  • Lisa de Bidaph

    25.05.2018 at 07:21 Reply


  • Elfi Abe

    30.05.2018 at 20:46 Reply

    OMgosh, who could read this without crying.

    • Darsey Mitchell

      30.05.2018 at 20:56 Reply

      We lived through the experience but it was difficult. ???

  • Elizabeth

    30.05.2018 at 21:09 Reply

    Beautiful story, I could not read without crying. Poor little Bella mommy did all she could she did not fail her she did far better than with that breeder. I can’t wait to read more Millie

    • Darsey Mitchell

      30.05.2018 at 21:13 Reply

      Thank you very much! That was a hard chapter to write because despite all of the years that have gone by, I still cry to re-live that time. But Millie came out of it all… We still keep pictures of Bella in our house. ???

  • Sandra Phelps-Slowik

    30.05.2018 at 23:09 Reply

    The beginning of your story reminded me of Winston & Zoe. When they were born , they were part of six puppies that day. After the last puppy, their Mummy died. Luckily her sister was pregnant & had her puppies two days later. Only two puppies remained from the original six . The sister fed them. I traveled down to Florida to get the two puppies. Winston & Zoe.?

  • Jeanine Wright

    31.05.2018 at 01:15 Reply

    Oh my gosh, such a sad, sweet story….poor little Bella…..she was just too tiny! But look what a wonderful mommy you have! And sisters and daddy! You are a special little girl! Hu*s and kisses! ?????????

  • Phyllis Singler

    31.05.2018 at 13:38 Reply

    I’m crying! Wow Mom you can write!!

    • Darsey Mitchell

      31.05.2018 at 13:59 Reply

      Ohhhh… the first part is sort of sad but things get better. We couldn’t leave out Bella because without her, nothing would be what it is now. ???❤️?

  • Vicki Lynn Barkley

    13.06.2018 at 16:56 Reply

    omgosh I am crying reading this…….rip sweet Bella!!!

  • ronda ellman

    28.06.2018 at 00:39 Reply

    Millie, it took me forever to find your story. ! I love it. So glad daddy ask mommy to go again the next day and mommy picked you. I am very story about Bella. It is so hard to lose someone you love so much. I know you AND MOMMY ARE HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME IN Paris. I sure need a vacation. I love you all be safe !!!!!!

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