Tragedy ends today: Touching moment 12-year-old dog who lived his whole life in an 18-inch dog cage walks on grass for the first time

A touching video has shown the moment a 12-year-old dog who spent her entire life locked in a tiny cage has felt grass beneath her paws for the first time.

The footage shows Lizzy the Maltese stepping apprehensively across the grass weeks after she was rescued from an enclosure no bigger than 18 inches by 18 inches.

Until she was saved by the National Mill Dog Rescue in March, Lizzy had spent her life locked in the cage at a puppy mill in Arkansas, never leaving the confines of its four walls to play or run.


Apprehensive: Lizzy, a 12-year-old Maltese dog who spent her entire life in a tiny cage at a puppy mill in Arkansas, is filmed trying to walk across grass for the first time in a touching video

Getting there: Lizzy looks uncertain as she stumbles across grass after being rescued in March

So it is unsurprising that the video shows how she is overwhelmed by the experience as she apprehensively sniffs the ground and wobbles from paw to paw.

But in another video taken by her new owner just weeks later, Lizzy is seen full of life and leaping across the grass as she revels in her freedom.

She has just a right eye as veterinarians were forced to remove her left one when it was found swollen and infected. She also had several tumors removed.

‘When we brought her in, she was terrified,’ the Rescue’s media officer, Michele Burchfield, said. ‘These dogs know nothing of human touch.

Saved: An image shows Lizzy shortly after she was found. She went on to have her infected left eye removed

‘The video is very cute and sweet but it’s also very poignant because it reveals what these dogs have been through.’

She added that after Lizzy received medical care, she was put into a foster home in Colorado.

In what the Rescue jokingly call a ‘foster failure’, the foster parents adored her so much that they decided to adopt her, and she is now going from strength to strength.

‘She’s actually doing really well and looking much healthier,’ Burchfield said. ‘She’s running about and is used to the grass. She’s a lovely dog.’

Burchfield added that puppy mills are entirely legal and the dogs’ treatment and cage sizes follow strict U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.

On the mend: Lizzy, who is going from strength to strength, is pictured at bedtime at her new home


Happier times: In another video taken weeks later, Lizzy is seen hopping across the grass with ease


But while it may be above board, she added that many pet owners are unaware that their puppies have been born to mothers living in such heart-wrenching conditions.

‘People don’t understand the puppies in some pet stores are coming from these places,’ she said. ‘If you can’t see the homes and see a loving environment then look elsewhere.

‘Twenty-five per cent of all dogs in shelters are pure breeds, so even though it might take a bit of time, I would tell people to look around shelters instead of going to pet stores that sell puppies.’

Puppy mills contact the Rescue when they have dogs which are no longer of breeding age, and the group will rescue them. Burchfield added that other mills simply euthanize the dogs.

The Rescue takes in around 60 to 100 dogs a month and takes them to their shelter in Peyton, Colorado, where they stay until they are adopted or put into foster homes.

Locked up: The rescue center saves as many as 100 dogs from puppy mills every month (file picture)