April 12, 2013
A few years ago my friend Ava opened my eyes to the sad fact of “puppy mills.” I could have spent my whole life not knowing that term or about the greedy people who keep dogs in cages for the sole purpose of breeding and making a profit. I was content believing that when a dog was in the care of a pet store, the store owner handled the animal with the utmost care until a family came in, picked out the dog, they took it home and everybody – dog and owner — lived happily ever after.
I would soon learn I’d been living a fairy tale. Still, even though I now knew the sad fact existed, this horror didn’t touch me personally, until I met the amazing people who adopted these animals and unselfishly dealt with their traumas.
And they are traumatized. What’s more, they remember and relive the abuse. My friend Sheley has three dogs: A Boston terrier, a Labrador retriever and a pug. All three of the dogs were adopted from shelters, but until recently I didn’t know the pug, Bishie, suffered from mistreatment. Sheley told me the heartbreaking story of how Bishie had recurring nightmares. And it took a very long time for the little guy to trust again. Sheley’s pretty trustworthy, however, and Bishie was in very good hands. So much so that when Bishie needed surgery and the vet said just leave him and pick him up after surgery, Sheley couldn’t bring herself to do it. The nightmares had become less frequent and this little dog had come to trust her.
Sheley stayed with her pug (in its kennel) until it was time for surgery, and then the vet granted her permission to observe the surgery. When Bishie opened his eyes, his mistress was there waiting.
My other friend Pam is another generous creature. All three of her pets come from puppy mills. And as I mentioned they do not adapt or trust easily. All they’ve ever known is the inside of a cage or being grabbed when it’s time to be bred. As a result, if you try to pick up these dogs, they scramble, run outdoors, or hide under a desk or behind a couch. [pictured below are Abby, Trixie, Daisy and Mo.] She lost Abby (pictured left) to cancer not long after she adopted her.
The good news is they’ve found a loving home and an incredibly patient caretaker. Pam’s making progress. Little by little they’ve come to trust her. She never grabs them. She lets them come to her. And finally, they know a world where they’re loved and not exploited.
A puppy mill is a large breeding operation where profit is given priority over the humane treatment of animals. Want to help? Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store, or a dog on line. Fight animal cruelty http://www.aspca.org/PUPPYMILLS