When a 14-year-old Chihuahua mix was surrendered by her owners in October 2017 to Baldwin Park Animal Shelter in Baldwin Park, California, it was clear that she had been suffering neglect for some time. Fortunately, Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue saved Blanche, named after a character from “The Golden Girls,” on the day she was set to be euthanized and began nursing her back to health before finding her the perfect forever home — and some very special fans began donating sweaters to keep the hairless little pup warm.
Blanche’s surrender story was a heartbreaking one. She was taken to Baldwin Park Animal Shelter by her adult owner’s father out of spite over an undisclosed argument, according to Amy Klein, a volunteer for Marley’s Mutts who fostered Blanche. The pup was underweight, missing most of her fur, had severe dental problems and her nails were overgrown.
“Her rotted teeth were so bad that if she licked anything, you had to throw it in the washer immediately,” Klein told The Dodo. “The smell was not to be believed. They ended up pulling six teeth — I think she has about three left.”
It’s unknown if the public shelter alerted Blanche’s family that her time was up, but the owner returned to claim her again nine days later — on the very day that she was set to be euthanized. When informed that they would be legally responsible for taking care of her extensive medical issues or risk being fined, as well as charged a $15 boarding fee for each day she had been at the shelter, the owner decided to leave Blanche there and applied to adopt another dog (the application was denied).
The shelter had already reached out to Shannon Paris, the foster and volunteer coordinator for Marley’s Mutts, about Blanche, and she and Klein picked the dog up and took her to the vet that very day. It was then that they discovered she had Cushing’s disease and mammary tumors that couldn’t be removed — possibly because she had never been spayed, according to Paris.
In the middle of taking care of Blanche’s health problems, Marley’s Mutts had mentioned in a Facebook post that she could really use some sweaters to keep warm. The rescue’s fans, referred to as the “Mutt Militia,” immediately began sending in clothing for Blanche. One woman even hand-knitted some sweaters specially for the senior pup.
As Blanche’s personality started to come out more, it turned out that her extensive new wardrobe perfectly suited the prima donna. “Blanche is a diva,” said Klein, who fostered Blanche along with her own dogs: Molly, a 14-year-old terrier mix, and Gracie, a 9-year-old Dachshund. “She demands to be the alpha, steals the other dogs’ food and always wants to curl up with someone on a lap.”
Even as the Cushing’s disease stabilized with medication and her hair began growing back, Blanche still found comfort in blankets and warm spots. “I find her all the time hiding under spare blankets in the closet or deep under the covers,” Klein said. “She loves her crate, where she has a beautiful afghan, and she and Molly love curling up to the space heater together.”
Of course, that’s not to say that Blanche wasn’t curious about some recent snow at her foster home in the mountains — even if she didn’t stay out in it for long.
While in foster care, Blanche learned to share and even occasionally play, thanks to Molly and Gracie.
She also found herself a cute, younger boyfriend named Luca. He’s a 4-month-old yellow Labrador whose owner, a friend of Klein’s, is training him to become a therapy dog.
One of Klein’s favorite stories about Blanche was when she caught her climbing out of her pen so that she could get to the free-roaming Luca.