Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue 2019 Moves Forward to an Exciting New Year

  • January 17, 2020
  • by Mary Elizabeth Dugmore and Patricia Kushnir

From the January 2020 Issue Of Top Notch Toys. Click To Subscribe.

Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, Inc., is heading toward its 23rd year as a National Rescue for Yorkies and other small little dogs. Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue (YTNR) is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization that is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The purpose of YTNR is to rescue abandoned, lost abused or unwanted Yorkshire Terriers. This includes getting appropriate medical evaluations and treatment, providing foster care and placement evaluations of all Yorkies taken into our rescue, and finding suitable screened and evaluated homes for our rescued Yorkies. YTNR also works to provide public education about its rescue work and to raise funds to pay for care of rescued Yorkshire Terriers taken in by YTNR.

Because YTNR is a national organization, our volunteer database is nationwide. Our leadership team is an accomplished and multi-faceted diverse group of committed people from many different walks of life that range in fields from education to technology to healthcare. There are several distinctive qualities about the organization. We are well established and sustainable. We were founded in 1997 by Mary Elizabeth Dugmore who has lead the organization for 22 years. Under her auspicious leadership, we have rescued and rehomed over 4,000 dogs since our founding.

At our annual board meeting, in 2014, several board members mentioned that it appeared that rescues with more medical complex conditions were being rescued into our rescue. Dr.Linda Connor, PHD recommended we develop an acuity scoring tool to track the medical complexity of rescues coming to YTNR. Corrine Ellison, Vice President of Rescue Operations and Dr. Linda Connor developed a tool.

Corrine retrospectively scored rescues from 2012 through 2014 using the new tool. All rescues, starting in 2015 were assigned an acuity score.

Over the past 6 years, the number of 1-acuity scored rescues has increased. Meaning, we are rescuing more Yorkies that are healthy requiring minimal costs. The number of 2-acuity scored rescues has significantly decreased. Meaning the rescues that require minimal medical attention had decreased. The number of rescues rated as 3-acuity has remained consistent. There has been no change over the past 6-years. The number of rescues rated 4-acuity score has significantly increased. This indicated that we are caring for rescues needing more medical attention. The number of rescues rated at a score of 5-acuity has remained stable. There has been no change over the past six years.

We were able to implement this program and it is now part of our operational workings. This in turn allows YTNR to operate more efficiently and quantify the impact of the work we do.

We continue to take in non healthy and healthy little dogs and provide the necessary care to ensure these little rescues find a loving forever home. The most important thing we give them is Hope! Hope as defined in the dictionary is “What one believes and wishes for will happen”.

YTNR relies solely on donations and we are so grateful for all of our supporters. Without them, we could not accomplish the work we do for these rescues. We sincerely thank them for their generosity and support. 


Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue also honors our rescues by giving the Smoky Award to the Rescues of the Year. Every year YTNR sends letters to our adopters and ask them to nominate their little rescue.

Smoky was a four-pound Yorkie that was found in an abandoned jungle foxhole in New Guinea in early 1944 by a soldier whose jeep had stalled in the jungle. The next day the Yorkie was sold for two Australian pounds ($6.44) to a 20 year old PFC Bill Wynne. Bill and Smoky flew combat missions and went through many air raids together. She lived on typical rugged army food including at that time C and K rations, while serving 18 months straight together in combat. When Bill went home, Smoky went home with him, back to the United States.

When YTNR was planning its very first Rescue Ball in 1999 the first thing that came to mind was creating a special award for the Yorkie Rescue of the Year. It seemed logical to name this prestigious award after Bill Wynne’s world famous little Yorkie. After nominations came in, it quickly became clear that each story was special and touching. Each successful rescue is wonderful and heartwarming, just as Smoky was. She started a movement in rescue, in therapy, in obedience that showed people what a four-pound dynamo could do.


As told to Lisa Stoddard

Dear YTNR,

Its Beatrice and Violet here! We know you are all very busy helping other dogs find forever homes! We are so glad to hear you want to celebrate your adoptees by honoring Smokey and William Wynne again this year! We seem to have similarities to Mr. Wynne as well as Smokey. We understand Mr. Wynne was in an orphanage just like we were! We have certainly had our share loneliness! We also understand that Smokey was purchased by Mr. Wynne from a soldier to pay for his entry into a poker game! Lots of people gambled on us but we never seemed to win! We wanted to remind you about our story and thank everyone who was committed to keeping us together! I (Violet) am going to type our nomination since Beatrice is taking a nap! She’s a bit older than me and likes to sleep.

Our history of adoption from the puppy mill is a bit unclear. Our records indicate that I was adopted in July of 2014 and Beatrice joined me in June of 2015. Collectively, we have agreed to not remember how what appeared to be so good turned into tragedy at that home. We thought the worse thing possible was the puppy mill. Little did we know! The only thing keeping us alive at that house was that we had each other. Luckily, the police became involved when circumstances at the house involved people not caring for humans and we were confiscated and taken to the Animal Hospital in Monticello. As we recovered for our horrible living situation, the vet helped us with our health and contacted YTNR for assistance. They all had one goal in mind. KEEPING US TOGETHER FOREVER! The vet was sure Beatrice would not have survived if I had not taken her morsels of food to her when she was too weak to eat? I kept telling her, come on Beatrice! We have to be strong for each other! There is a family out there that wants and needs us! I knew it would not be easy to find our forever family but I stayed hopeful.

That is when we met Nicole and Carson Durham. Oh, how we loved them! They cared for us and continued the promise that we were bonded and would stay together. We settled into their home and enjoyed being there. We did not understand the foster part rescue but we got to fly to another home. I thought YEA! this part of our journey is to get to our forever home. When we arrived I told Beatrice to be quiet and be a good girl! You see we have both figured out how to survive. Sadly, it did not work out. We never seemed to understand why but there we were! Beatrice wanted to know if it was something she had done? I told her no SIS! It just wasn’t the right home for us. Then I reminded her as long as we are together we will be OK! We settled back in with Nicole and Carson not bothering anything and sitting in our basket watching Nicole and Carson live life!

A few months later the strangest thing happened. Carson got a new car! A BMW in fact! We thought he just wanted to take us on a drive but WOW! It was a LONG drive. We had many potty stops! Our travel took us from Illinois all the way to Tennessee. We arrived to meet a nice man who was headed to work. Not knowing, with Nicole and Carson’s blessing that he would soon be our forever Dad, Greg. We drove up the steep driveway to a house on a nice hill. A lady came down to meet us. She would soon be our forever Mom, Lisa. After meeting us we all went upstairs to meet two other dogs. You see, Greg and Lisa have adopted dogs in the past. Two from YTNR (Lulu and Jasper). DogDog and Bear were from a shelter and another rescue. We have even seen a framed award for Jasper who won the YTNR runner up Smokey award in 2012. They had never adopted two dogs at the same time so we were on our best behavior. We introduced ourselves to DogDog and Bear. We got along quickly other than me trying to be the alpha dog. I was a bit rough with DogDog. I learned quickly that we were all equal and our new Mom and Dad had enough time and love for each of us.

Time has marched on and we are more than settled in. Our Mom and Dad have strange work hours. Mom stays home when Dad works. Two nights a week Mom leaves and says she is going to make dog food money and our Dad stays home. They work opposite schedules to give us better lives! We like it when they are both home together but understand, we like our food! Every corner of our forever home has a water bowl or a comfy bed! We never have to worry about food or water again! We do remind or Mom and Dad that it is 5:00 TIME TO EAT! I don’t have to remind Beatrice to be good. They never mind that we make a mess with our meals. They never complain about our potty accidents. They understand that it was our way of life for many years. We don’t even have to fight for food! There is always plenty.

Beatrice and I have both had a few medical issues since we found our forever home. You see Beatrice yelped one night and had trouble walking on her good leg in May. Mom took her to our new vet and she had a pinched nerve in her back. It was difficult to watch her struggle since her other back leg already had a luxating patella. She has been a good girl and rested, took her medication and she is so much better. She can now roll in the grass in the back yard and even walks down stairs. It makes our Mom very nervous for her to walk down stairs but Dad says “let her try and do what she can and wants to do!” I think they argue a little about that!

Then, I had to have surgery. Nicole and Carson had been keeping a close eye on a bump that I had. It started bothering me so, the same vet that fixed Beatrice has done the same for me. I don’t have the bump anymore. I did not want to know what the bump was for a very special reason. It could be cancer. I can’t worry about that! I have to take care of Beatrice. Part of my promise to be together forever has been eased. You see we are both safe and well bonded to DogDog, Bear and our forever family.

So, this is our forever story! We are the happiest “Survival Sisters” you could meet! We sit on the front deck on beds in the morning and evening watching the hummingbirds and deer. We can see the driveway that brought us to our forever home. We use our backyard for exploring, rolling in the grass and other personal reasons. We get to travel to our Gran’s in Murfreesboro for overnight visits. We have never had a grandmother and WOW, have we missed out. She has special cookies and meals for us and we get to sleep in her bedroom in our TOGETHER BED! She has arthritis like Beatrice so her rubs are so gentle. We have an Aunt and Uncle as well as two cousins that spend time with us. Our other grandmother lives in New Mexico and we have not met her yet. She heard about our thunder fear and we got thunder shirts from her with essential oils in the mail just TODAY! She must be a nice lady!

We have, like Smokey earned our combat mission metals and are safe and cared for forever. Thank you to Animal Clinic of Monticello, Nicole, Carson and YTNR for being so patient with us. It took a long time but your timing was perfect. We were certainly in a “FOX HOLE” like Smokey! Please continue your mission “to find the best possible homes for Yorkshire Terriers”. You certainly did for us!


by Hannelie Vermeulen

It was late spring 2018—new life had sprung all around us. Our family had just grown by a new doggie that stole our hearts, and we were celebrating the joy. Meantime, somewhere in southwest Washington, a little lost soul was wandering around; matted, with patches of hair loss, a bad little back, rotten little mouth full of painful teeth, and a slew of other issues too long to list. Finally she was saved by the area Humane Society, who evaluated and diagnosed her, and started comfort care. She didn’t seem to have much of a future. They sent out requests for Pawspice care to local rescues. YTNR received a request as well. “Stray dog, no history... severe periodontal disease, mobile teeth with severe calculus... cloudy eyes, unstable on back legs... bilateral patella luxations, 2/4, and angular limb deformities of hind legs... slightly dazed... greasy, slightly sparse hair coat throughout with generalized crusting... incipient cataracts... enlarged heart”, accompanied by a sad grainy picture. Mary Elizabeth thought we just could not leave her behind. Our friends all agreed.

Initially worried about bringing in another Pawspice doggie in our household of two terminally ill Yorkies, all doubts disappeared when we picked up a small bundle with soulful eyes, a list of diagnoses and concerns, and copies of care that had already been provided. A little boy walked by, asked to pet her, and told his parents he wanted one just like her. He smiled, we smiled, and we drove off into the sunset with her on my lap. She lifted her little head high, and the bits of hair blew in the wind. She sniffed the air filled with promise. She was noticed, saved, and safe again.

Never microchipped, and never claimed, we don’t know her story. We do know there was a time she was loved—since she’s trusting, sweet, and never afraid to fend for herself, or to reach out. We also know there was at least a period of her life she wasn’t well cared for, medically neglected, and in discomfort and pain. We’ll never know why—only that it’s the same neglect faced by so many animals, for no fault of their own. But this little girl we could save.

They called her Mae at the Humane Society, but when she came home, she bloomed into Suzanne. The veterinarians and care providers at our local clinic healed what was possible. They pulled her bad teeth, treated infections, treated her skin, and discussed how to handle the non treatable issues. Mommy’s shampoo, once wrongly prescribed, seemed to work miracles on her little skin, and soon her hair started growing back. A healthy diet and regular brushing transformed our little Suzanne into a beauty that everyone wanted. Initially up for adoption, we just weren’t able to part with her, feeling bad about the emotional and financial cost that will await an adopter, and too sad to let our little miracle go. She had crawled too deep into our hearts, too deep into the heart of her babysitter-person Suzanne, and the hearts of our friends—and everyone else who came to meet her. We became foster failures for the second time in a year. And she became our little girl.

Today little Suzanne Vermeulen has a comfy life. She sleeps a lot, loves walks when she goes to the city, (but hates a leash), often misses the corner of the potty pad (but feels proud of the part she hit), and cheerleads loudly when dinner is being prepared, or late. She hates to be brushed, but loves to look pretty. She listens when she wants to, and sometimes really can’t hear. She’s always ready for a car ride, but never for her X-pen. As noted, not all her qualities are those of a poster child, but we are so happy that she feels safe enough to express herself any which way she wants, that she feels happy enough that her little tail cannot stop wagging when she’s excited, and that she feels loved enough that she knows if she gets to a pillow on the bed first, it’s her’s for the night, and you have to make do!

Suzanne, and doggies like her, are the reason we support rescue, and adopt. Nothing like witnessing the joy of a little dog receiving a second chance, and nothing like experiencing the love of a saved life. Above all, there is nothing like knowing a little life once at risk due to being lost, then deemed shortened.


By Lisa Hanson

I nominate Petey: His owner was unexpectedly and quickly put into a nursing home and a few big-hearted friends of the family thought they could take care of Pete. On day 10 YTNR was called because he was in his 3rd home where two other doggies were beating up on him and he needed to be surrendered and picked up ASAP. Hannelie from YTNR in Oregon called me for quick assistance because he was so close to my home in Washington and she asked if I could foster him and I agreed. Within a half an hour, Petey was in his 4th (and final) home in ten days. He was thin, scared, confused and very upset. I was told by the last home he was in; they did not think he barked because they hadn’t heard a peep out of him. He had been crated for his own safety from the other dogs, which did not please him at all. Someone had attempted to cut matted hair from his coat, and he had his own waste and vomit dried in his fur, he was in dire need of a bath, dental work, vaccinations, stability and love.

On his second day, after trying to maul my mild-mannered cat, Petey’s first lessons was “be nice to the cats” which took a couple weeks to get through to him. Pete struggled cohabitating with two Cats, but in time, he agreed to be nice. Within three days he’d received all his medical care and much needed grooming complete with Mani & Pedi and began to settle in and eat.

My heart quickly softened to him and I became a foster failure as Pete settled in and became a faithful farm dog, following closely behind me everywhere I went on our little
4-acre farm.

That voice of his that was missing in the beginning didn’t take long to emerge when he met 28 chickens through the fence. Pete had a voice!! The chickens did not fear him, and he found that unbelievably frustrating because he was such a ferocious 4lb Yorkie (LOL).

He now looks forward to his morning run each day with me, out to fetch the paper at the road, the daily farm chores multiple times a day around the horses, while the cats sneak attack and pounce on him now, all in fun, which he takes in stride as he quickly runs back and forth along the fence line. He gardens daily & rides in the John Deere Gator with me during the day and gives my husband Ron (who has Parkinson’s and is not very mobile) complete comfort and consistent love as his faithful companion at night. Pete has forever changed & enriched our lives and we are eternally grateful to have him with us. We think Petey would make a perfect Smoky Award recipient. Thank you for your consideration.

As we move forward into our 23rd year of rescue we thank our very generous supporters and look forward to a fantastic year of saving, rehabilitating and finding homes for those that were left or abandoned. We have HOPE!