By Janet McAffee

A tiny dog passed over the Rainbow Bridge today, leaving behind many tearful humans who were inspired by her story to help other dogs in need. The tributes to Baby are pouring in, lending support to Baby’s heartbroken human mom, Cindy Sorensen.

Life started out for Baby as a grim struggle of suffering. The tiny Chihuahua may have been used for breeding purposes until it took a huge toll on her little body. It is more likely her deformities are the result of inbreeding, a practice of profit driven back yard breeders who carelessly breed related dogs and provide no medical treatment or loving care. Inbreeding can produce birth defects such as missing limbs, blindness, deafness, and deformities like Baby’s. Discarded on a busy street in Moreno Valley, Baby somehow managed to survive the traffic but ended up at that City’s public shelter. Her toenails were curled up like ribbons, and she could barely walk. It’s possible she was kept confined to a wire cage and may never have known the soft feel of grass beneath her feet.

Someone posted the shelter intake photo of the Chihuahua on dog rescuer Cindy Sorensen’s Facebook page. Cindy had a Chihuahua who has a deformed mouth similar to this pup, and she had experience with the special feeding technique she might require. Dogs with disabilities have a harder time getting out alive from a public shelter. Wanting to ensure the dog got out safely, Cindy went to Moreno Valley to check on her. When the staff set Baby in front of Cindy, the dog fell over. Her little legs were so deformed that she learned how to walk with them bent. Her tail wagged so hard when Cindy picked her up, and this smart move won Cindy’s heart. There was no returning her to the shelter kennel.


Cindy took Baby to many veterinarians but there was nothing they could do for her condition. Eventually she learned to walk on her deformed and bent legs, each step a milestone of joy. Baby had a narrow esophagus and had to be hand fed. The bond between Baby and Cindy was special, and the pup accompanied Cindy on dog rescue transports. Baby was often featured on Facebook, and others followed her progress and her joy in experiencing the simple pleasures of being a dog. Baby helped Cindy develop a large number of Facebook friends who helped her find homes for hundreds of the Coachella Valley Animal Campus dogs.

Today Cindy posted on Facebook, “Baby was my dear friend, my companion, and my reason to rush home. I loved her with all that I am. She went with me on so many dog rescue transports, and got to see others make it out of shelters and go on to new lives. She has been part of my family, and slept by my side every night. Her handicap and deformities were the product of inbreeding, and then she was dumped like trash on a busy street. I will also hold close to me the memory of her extreme will to live and her simple happiness to be part of a family. God bless you Baby, I will forever love and miss you.”

Baby inspired many people to adopt and rescue shelter dogs, and caused some to consider pups with physical limitations. Special needs dogs touch your heart with their optimism and enthusiasm to live life to the fullest every day, focusing on the good things of the moment, oblivious to abilities they may not have. Baby’s legacy is the love she brought to so many humans, and the lives of so many rescue dogs she saved.