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Of more than 10,000 dogs whose owners entered People Magazine’s World’s Cutest Rescue Dog competition, little Lamb Chop came out on top.
After nearly two weeks of voting, the 12-pound Maltese, adopted by Christin Schubert of Milwaukee in December 2014, was declared the winner of the annual competition, in partnership with Pedigree Petfoods, according to People.
Lamb Chop was born in a puppy mill, along with around 2.4 million other dogs in the United States, where she lived for six years and likely gave birth to multiple litters, the outlet reported.
“When she was rescued, the local vets had to remove all of her teeth because they were rotten,” Schubert told People. She was also treated for a cauliflower ear and several tumors were removed.
“I couldn’t get her home right away, as she had to have all of these surgeries, and Washington County (Humane Society) used a significant portion of their medical funds to take care of her.” , Schubert continued. “I’m really thankful for that. It’s a little, little shelter that I think does a really good job with the animals.”
Like many rescue dogs, Lamb Chop struggled with socialization after being adopted. She was afraid of people and didn’t know how to play with other dogs, according to the magazine. But she has since adjusted, thanks to shy dog lessons and a trainer who helped her relearn to trust humans.
“I can go shopping and come home, and she’s just sitting there happy and waiting, unlike the first time I left her,” Schubert said.
Schubert has since become an advocate for pet adoption.
“We always say that for puppy mills to close, the public has to stop funding them through their purchases,” she told People. “Lamb Chop is a super cute face for an ugly industry.”
These days, Lamb Chop only carries a few signs of the neglect and abuse she has faced. Her tongue hangs out, especially when she’s tired, because she has no teeth and is “always shy,” Schubert explained. “We’re working on this, and I think with the treats and the patience of the people, she’ll be anyone’s best friend.”
“I always tell people that I think she’s super brave and resilient, given what she’s been through,” she added. “She has an incredible joy for life.”
The second and third place winners in this year’s contest were Lunas, 6, found covered in chips in Jackson, Mississippi, and Diana, 3, who was previously abandoned with a broken back in Oklahoma.