ISSUE: Puppy Mills
Lucy Writes:

Puppy Mills

     My puppy days were spent out of doors with little human contact.  I lived in the dirt with dogs of all sizes.  When the humans decided to feed the dogs, the food was thrown out the back door into the dirt.  Hesitation however momentary would result in another day of hunger.  I quickly learned to fight the big dogs for food.  Išm only ten pounds but very quick.

     In my next home there were fewer dogs but instead of neglect I was badly beaten and kicked.  My survivor spirit and quick spunk was severely punished.  I had two more homes similar to this before I came forever home.

     In my last home I was housemates with a breed bitch.  She was a Boston who was able to free whelp, for this she was valued.  My mama tried to rescue her as well but they would not give her up because she was a valued source of income.  I was given up because I could not have babies.  (The puppies were being sold for $1,000.00 per puppy)

    At the age of four I came to my forever home.  It would be great to say I have never looked back and my life is perfect, sadly that is not the case.  When I came home my head had never grown; over time it has resolved and is now the proper size.  I have been forever home for four years, sadly there are times when noises are too loud or too many people are around or someone moves too quickly and the old fears come back.  I sometimes fear bite and often snap.  Due to malnutrition as a puppy I have some health problems:  I have a bad heart and my fur is thin and patchy and I have bad allergies.

     I am very happy in my forever home.  The vet says dogs like me can never be thought of in the same category as ŗpet dogs˛ because wešre not.  We are rescue dogs.  With all the emotional trauma and health problems that last a lifetime.

     As a rescue dog I stay right by my mamašs side.  I never leave her side because I truly believe that she will protect me.  She tells me bad things are not happening any more.  I want to believe this.  I have seen many doctors and my mama even had the doggy psychologist come talk with me.  This is apparently as good as I will ever be.

     For those of you who have had nothing but love and kindness- thank God!

     For those of you who would take in and nurture a rescue dog- God bless you!

     For those of you who have been rescued- God be with you!

     Lucille

I just wanted to share a couple of my paintings with you.  The first is rather graphic and upsetting:  best not to let your little sisters see it.  It is called "Abuse".

 

 

 

This painting is a contrast of the first.  It is called "Forever Home".  I hope you enjoy these paintings.  I really do enjoy painting.  I am well paid in cookies and I enjoy the feeling of the paint on my paws.

RESPONSES FROM THE BOARD
Winston
     I am torn. In my head, I realize that if you take away the demand, and the profit, puppy millers will move to something else. So you shouldn't buy puppy mills dogs. In my heart, I want all the wonderful dogs to be rescued.
Here is a story about puppy mills that was sent to me. I'd like to share it with you.

"I don't remember much from the place I was born. It was cramped and dark, and we were never played with by the humans. I remember Mom and her soft fur, but she was often sick, and very thin. She had hardly any milk for me and my brothers and sisters. I remember many of them dying, and I missed them so.

I do remember the day I was taken from Mom. I was so sad and scared, my milk teeth had only just come in, and I really should have been with Mom still, but she was so sick, and the Humans kept saying that they wanted money and were sick of the "mess" that me and my sister made. So we were crated up and taken to a strange place. Just the two of us. We huddled together and were scared, still no human hands came to pet or love us.

So many sights and sounds, and smells! We are in a store where there are many different animals! Some that squawk! some that meow! Some that Peep! My sister and I are jammed into a small cage, I hear other puppies here. I see humans look at me, I like the 'little humans', the kids. they look so sweet, and fun, like they would play with me! All day we stay in the small cage, sometimes mean people will hit the glass and frighten us, every once in a while we are taken out to be held or shown to humans. Some are gentle, some hurt us, we always hear "Aw they are So cute! I want one!" but we never get to go with any.

My sister died last night, when the store was dark. I lay my head on her soft fur and felt the life leave her small thin body. I had heard them say she was sick, and that I should be sold at a "discount price" so that I would quickly leave the store. I think my soft whine was the only one that mourned for her as her body was taken out of the cage in the morning and dumped.

Today, a family came and bought me! Oh happy day! They are a nice family, they really, really wanted me! They had bought a dish and food and the little girl held me so tenderly in her arms. I love her so much! The mom and dad say what a sweet and good puppy I am! I am named Angel. I love to lick my new humans!

The family takes such good care of me, they are loving and tender and sweet. They gently teach me right and wrong, give me good food, and lots of love! I want only to please these wonderful people! I love the little girl and I enjoy running and playing with her.

Today I went to the veterinarian. it was a strange place and I was frightened. I got some shots, but my best friend the little girl held me softly and said it would be OK. So I relaxed. The Vet must have said sad words to my beloved family, because they looked awfully sad. I heard severe hip dysplasia, and something about my heart... I heard the vet say something about, back yard breeders and my parents not being tested. I know not what any of that means, just that it hurts me to see my family so sad. But they still love me, and I still love them very much!

I am 6 months old now. Where most other puppies are robust and rowdy, it hurts me terribly just to move. The pain never lets up. It hurts to run and play with my beloved little girl, and I find it hard to breath. I keep trying my best to be the strong pup I know I am supposed to be, but it is so hard. It breaks my heart to see the little girl so sad, and to hear the Mom and Dad talk about "it might now be the time". Several times I have went to that veterinarians place, and the news is never good. Always talk  about Congenital Problems. I just want to feel the warm sunshine and run, and play and nuzzle with my family.

Last night was the worst, pain has been my constant companion now, it hurts even to get up and get a drink. I try to get up but can only whine in pain. I am taken in the car one last time. Everyone is so sad, and I don't know why. Have I been bad? I try to be good and loving, what have I done wrong? Oh if only this pain would be gone! If only I could soothe the tears of the little girl. I reach out my muzzle to lick her hand, but can only whine in pain.

The veterinarians table is so cold. I am so frightened. The humans all hug and love me, they cry into my soft fur. I can feel their love and sadness. I manage to lick softly their hands. Even the vet doesn't seem so scary today. he is gentle and I sense some kind of relief for my pain. The little girl holds me softly and I thank her, for giving me all her love. I feel a soft pinch in my foreleg. The pain is beginning to lift, I am beginning to feel a peace descend upon me. I can now softly lick her hand. My vision is becoming dreamlike now, and I see my Mother and my brothers and sisters, in a far off green place. They tell me there is no pain there, only peace and happiness. I tell the family, good-bye in the only way I know how, a soft wag of my tail and a nuzzle of my nose. I had hoped to spend many, many moons with them, but it was not meant to be. "You see," said the veterinarian, "Pet shop puppies do not come from ethical breeders."

The pain ends now, and I know it will be many years until I see my beloved family again. If only things could have been different. "

(This story may be published or reprinted in the hopes that it will stop unethical breeders and those who breed only for money and not for the betterment of the breed. Copyright 1999 J. Ellis)

Winnie
I don't know what to say about puppy mills--and Winnie is in the  same boat.  Of course, we are both opposed to them because we've heard they  are awful places where people don't care about the welfare of the dogs  being bred, where they don't take care of them or love them, and where they  breed too frequently just for the sake of getting puppies to sell. 

But I  can't figure out for the life of me how you would go about shutting them  down.  Who would do it and how would you know for sure they were just  breeding for the money and not paying attention to the health of the  dogs?  We are really at a disadvantage looking at both sides of the  question because we don't actually know what it would be like NOT to be  appreciated and NOT to be respected--because we've always been loved and  appreciated and respected.

Mayu and Kiri
Hi again to the Think Tank.

Although we have not had a personal experience with puppy mills our friend Chaloopa has.

Loopie, as he is called by his new mom, is a cute Chihuahua who was supposed to be living at a rescue shelter in Georgia. His new mom, Jen, saw his picture on the internet. When they went to Georgia to pick him up they found the most atrocious place with lots of different breeds of dogs and some cats. Loopie's home was a pen of mud and his pillow a dead rat. He had lost most of his hair from poor nutrition, his teeth were very bad and he weighed only 4 lbs. Jen got him out of there as fast as she could. The vet put him on antibiotics for a couple of weeks before he pulled all but 2 of his teeth. Now he is gaining some weight and his hair is coming back. He travels everywhere with Jen in her big straw bag.

Jen is sure that the "rescue" place is really a puppy mill and they no longer had any use for Loopie so they advertised him on the internet.

We wish there was some way to shut down these breeding places but any regulations have to be very carefully thought out or the good, well caring breeders will be hurt too.

Kiri and I both came from small but caring breeders. When my first home didn't work out because the person who took me became abusive, my breeder got me back because it was in her contract that the
puppies have to come back if it doesn't work out. One reason our Mom and Dad had all of us neutered when we were no longer showing is because of the lack of good loving homes for puppies. Our hearts go out to all of those puppies and kittens that are mistreated in anyway.

From your country cousins, Mayu and Kiri

Vita
I have included this informative document that outlines the AKC's findings on their puppy mill study.
You can download an Adobe version of the report if you'd like to learn more. Click here for the report.

 

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