Homage to Rosie and Cinnamon

One of the events that most moved me over the past year was the tragic and joyful life and death of Rosie the Chihuahua.

RosieRosie was the victim of a backyard breeder/hoarder who made money selling puppies, including from fashionable “designer” breeds. In their quest to create “teacups,” “merles,” and other designer dogs, many such breeders wind up with deformed and chronically ill dogs in their litters, and Rose was one of those. Along with her shockingly deformed muzzle, she also suffered from mange-induced fur loss, immune suppression, scoliosis, and fused leg bones. (Some of these conditions were from lack of care rather than genetics.) Looking at her picture, you can’t even recognize her as a chihuahua.

Rosie grew up in a crowded, chaotic house with more than 40 dogs, where, despite her serious health problems, she never once saw a veterinarian. Who knows what successes of intelligence, insight, perseverance, resourcefulness, and plain old toughness she had to accrue just to survive?

Eventually, Rosie was rescued, and a wonderful woman named Cinnamon Muhlbauer adopted her.

She cherished Rosie, bought her toys, dressed her in fancy clothes, and took her outside to experience sunshine and breezes. She also told Rosie’s story, again and again, so that others would learn never to shop from a “backyard breeder,” “CraigsList breeder,” or pet shop (many of whom acquire their puppies and kittens from backyard breeders). In the process, Rosie acquired a spectacular website and a Facebook page with more than 189,000 Friends.

You probably already know that I’m a crazy-passionate dog lover who would gladly adopt every dog in the world if she could, but I have to confess that adopting such a weird looking, unhealthy little dog as Rosie, not to mention being so public about having done so, would have given me pause. I credit Cinnamon with enormous successes of individuality, compassion, love, vision, and effectiveness.

In October, Rosie’s many health problems finally caught up with her, and she died suddenly and unexpectedly of pneumonia, at less than three years of age.

Cinnamon is grieving, and many people who don’t know her and Rosie, myself included, have grieved with her.

Part of me is reluctant to share Rosie’s story and my feelings about her.

Is she really so important in the wide scheme of things? Are Cinnamon, I, and the hundreds of thousands of other Rosie fans out there merely “crazy animal people?” Aren’t there plenty of humans out there more deserving of caring and compassion?

These are valid questions, and here are my thoughts on them:

Whatever the world suffers from, it is not too much compassion and caring. And whatever it is that allows hundreds of thousands of strangers to rally around a helpless and abused little dog must be part of the solution.

Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and so surely he would have approved. (And perhaps at least partly for that reason his widow Coretta Scott King went vegan in the last decade of her life.)

I hope everyone reading this works to increase their compassion and consideration for the humans and nonhumans in the world around them. I hope more people open their hearts to worthy souls like Rosie, and more animal lovers (and we are legion) open their hearts to the many “non-pet” farmed animals who lead lives far more miserable even than Rosie’s early life.


 I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes. 

First, James Herriot, author of the All Creatures Great and Small:

“I had often thought when I encountered cruelty and neglect that there was a whole army of people who did these unspeakable things, a great, unheeding horde who never spared a thought for the feelings of the helpless creatures who depended on them. It was frightening in a way, but thank heavens there was another army ranged on the other side, an army who fought for the animals with everything they had – with their energy, their time, their money.”

Then, George Eliot, from Middlemarch:

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Here’s to a successful, and more compassionate, 2014 for us all.


  1. Denise Heric says:

    You said everything that needed to be said about Rosie and Cinnamon. Thank you!!!
    I hope many read your words and think about how it really is

  2. So beautifully said. Cinnamon and Rosie are an inspiration. We must end puppy mills and other types of animal abuse because if you would abuse a helpless animal you would abuse a human as well. Abusers abuse. That’s what they do. It doesn’t matter who.

  3. Liz Harvey says:

    rosie wasnt ‘weird looking’ she was beautiful. not her fault that she was inbred. these people are so wicked. i wish i had known her and Cinnamon but i live in UK


  4. Wonderfull rescue dogs are so beautifull I experienced one myself her name was Molly a sweet Chi who was senior and came from a terrible situation. She had been used for breeding a lot by the state of her when I got her. I only had her a year but she was with me 24.7 as I worked from home.

  5. I’ve been following Rosie for more than a year. Her story opened my eyes to the problem of hoarders, back yard breeding and puppy mills. I cried for days after Rosie passed away and many of us share cinnamon pain even today. Please don’t shop adopt and spay your animals.

  6. Mitzi Frank says:

    very poignant article about Rosie and Cinnamon…may we all show more empathy and compassion for others, whether human or animal…

  7. lynne karabinas says:

    From the time they were very small I taught my children to treasure all living things. They are grown with children of their own teaching them the same things. A friends mother once told me that people who don’t like animals are lacking something in their character. I have always remembered this.

  8. The tears wont stop… 🙁

  9. I was fortunate to be one of Rosie’s and Cinnamon’s facebooks friends. I watched the wonderful relationship they shared together and the love they had together. I still grieve with Rosie’s passing and know this is so hard for Cinnamon. She had donated her time, energy, funds, love and even some of Rosie’s possessions to others. They were wonderful together. She will never be without her sweet Rosie. Rosie was adored and loved by more people then she would ever have known. I am grateful for having been facebook friends with them!

  10. judith e Berger says:

    wonderful, I miss Rosie and her pictures, I too have a 3 il chic that was sold at a flea market. she could not walk and the people that bought her could not afford her surgery and on going care. They were going to put hew down, Our rescue’s Vet. and the Neurologist decided not to. I saw her huddled in the crate at the vets when I went to check up on our other dogs. She was just dropped off 1 hour ago and weighed 1.5 lbs,
    I have read her all about rosie and showed her pictures. Her name is Freidabella and she will be 3 in March and can walk after being in a full body cast and a neck brace for almost 6 months. She does not have her own FB page, she is all over mine, Judi Berger, Miami FL

  11. I have followed Rosie amd Cinnamon for just a few months but my heart immediately fell in love with them immediately. I lost my girl , a Rottie 2 weeks ago so I now shareCinnamon’s grief. This made cry. I lov. e all amimals an I don’t put up witj abuse
    I REPORT! Bless you Cinnamon and what you do.

  12. Beautifully written.

  13. nancy young says:

    What a wonderful thing to write about Our special Rosie and Cinnamon. No one knows what one goes though when they loose someone they love everyone has different feeling but all of these people are like fine Glass that can shatter at a moment notice. So Be understand be kind and give them time. Do not say you have to do this for the animal or person you have lost . You as a human being who has never suffered though death of a animal do not know what they are going through. Let them know you are their for them and give them Love .

  14. bonnie camacho says:

    Wonderful article. RIP Sweet Rosie and run free with all the fur babies in heaven <3 <3 <3

  15. Angie Bland says:

    Thank you for sharing “Rosie’s” story, We ALL love her and Cinnamon and we are all grieving still, I Thank God that he brought Rosie to Cinnamon and that at least in the little time they had together there is NO doubt Rosie KNEW her Mommy C loved her!

  16. Oh yes Cinnamon and Rosie are important. I teach Humane Education for our local shelter in Central NY and it is people like this and animals like Rosie that get through to children and adults alike. The rescue world needs more like Cinnamon who selflessly give of themselves for the betterment of society. You see, this isn’t just about animals, it is about society as a whole and the way we have stopped thinking of others and their needs. We have become “used to” seeing cruelty and harsh treatment and it has stopped phasing us. It needs to change before we destroy ourselves.

    Dee Schaefer

  17. Thanks to all who took the time to comment! I’m glad to be part of Rosie’s wonderful community.

    One of the biggest obstacles to societal progress is when we all feel we’re alone, and so one of the most wonderful things about the Internet is that it can bring us together. Thanks to everyone also who has rescued a dog or other companion animal, especially an older one. A few months ago my partner and I adopted Billy, a ten yo rescue pom. Older companions rule!

  18. I have been reading about Rosie and Cinnoman since I lost my boy Max , just reading every thing about Rosie all the funny things she did going for rides I. Read when she had her surgery I prayed hard for her and I told my other boy Ashton how neat it would be to meet her so now we have her pictures to look at and this will remind us of the dogs we have to help and save from ones that think they need a dog but end up abuseing them , that makes me sick when some one can do that . Since my little boy that I had only 2years we got a chi / it grayhound named tiny trouble short TT and he nows how much we love him and we know how much he loves us . I watch these two like a hawk I don’t want to lose them , I will always remember Rosie she was the best insperastion we had . Love you Rosie RIP and we love you so much Cinnoman. Keep up on Rosie’s work. Signed Michele weyer -Asthon the gray it grayhound and TT the chi/ it grayhoud

  19. Therese Larsen says:

    Thank you for telling about Rosie and the great work of Cinnamon – I hadn’t heard their story before. I also loved the quotes and reading your thoughts of the story. Of course you’r right: Abundance of compassion, for everyone from humans, to dogs, to piglets, to sparrows, is what this world really needs. And I love the idea that each caring, considerate act of individuals gives power to the fight for compassion – which again weakens the pull from (part of) the society towards egoism, indifference and injustice.

  20. Peggy Puig says:

    I fell in love with Rosie the first time I saw her on FB and followed her daily, looking forward to what she was up to. It was terrible sad that she died so suddenly. So many people felt like I did about this precious dog and it was amazing to see how people world-wide responded to her death. She was truly loved by so many people around the world and she and Cinnamon brought so much awareness to the horrific situation that dogs go through in puppy mills. I never have and never will purchase a pet from a breeder. Love you and miss you sweet Rosie.

  21. Proverbs 12:10
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    10 The godly care for their animals,
    but the wicked are always cruel.

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