One Year Later: Puppy mill rescue is enjoying her forever family and a cage-free life

February 2023

Blind and separated from her puppies, Ellie was found shivering in fear last year when she was rescued from a puppy mill along with more than 150 other dogs. Through the joint rescue efforts of the Pickens County Animal Shelter, Pickens County Building Maintenance, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office/Animal Control, Anderson County PAWS and several rescue organizations throughout North and South Carolina, she and the other rescued pets have since found their forever homes. Ellie joined the Benshoff family, who say she brings joy into their home and knows she’s a permanent part of their pack. Below is a heartwarming update from Ellie (which we suspect was written with some help from her family) just in time for Valentine’s Day:



You may or may not remember me, but thanks to you my life has been forever changed. One year ago, you raided the largest puppy mill in South Carolina. I was there, and you took me away from that awful place! I was scared, I knew nothing other than captivity, and I had just had puppies that were taken from me. I didn’t know what was going on and I never imagined my life would end up the way it has!

You see, when you brought me to the shelter, I was blind. I was scared and in an unfamiliar place with many things happening around me. You didn’t know that I couldn’t see anything but shadows. There were new noises that scared me, that’s why I cowered, shivered, and always had my ears up.  I am a good dog, and I think you knew that too because when a rescue group didn’t show up for me you found me another rescue who would take the best care of me.

Next thing I knew, I was in a van with some ladies from Southeastern Virginia Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training (SEVAGRREAT) and on my way to what would be the start of my best life! They took me in, named me Ellie, and got me all the medical attention I needed. They even took me to an eye specialist and paid to have my juvenile cataracts removed. For the first time in my life, I could see the beautiful things around me and all the magnificent colors. I am not going to lie, it is scary sometimes, seeing things I have never seen. But wow, it is amazing to be able to see! I lived with my foster Mom and my foster sister Summer, another dog from the puppy mill, until I was ready to be adopted. Seven months ago, my forever family came and picked me up. I have a Golden Retriever sister, Rita, who also is adopted from SEVAGRREAT and an awesome Mom and Dad!

I am learning new things every day from my furever family and am getting less nervous by the day. I still have my moments when I hear a strange sound or see a large object, but I am getting used to living in my home. We go for a bunch of walks each day, I have plenty of food and treats, and plenty of stuffies which I am learning how to play with. We have a yard, a nice neighborhood with lots of friendly dogs who I am learning how to play with, and best of all no cages!

You see, you really made a difference in my life by doing what you do. Your passion for your life’s work made a difference in my life that you can’t even begin to imagine! I am happy now and can live a comfortable life thanks to you saving me. Thank you for being there when I needed you.

All my love,

Ellie Benshoff

Ellie Day of Rescue  Ellie after rescue
Left: Ellie on the day of rescue
Right: Ellie in her new home after rescue