Redemption & Rehabilitation

Puppy mills abound across the country with facilities housing as many as a thousand dogs with breeding females being forced to give birth to litter after litter of puppies throughout their lifetime. The dogs are usually crammed into wire cages that are often stacked inside dark sheds or barns. Their urine and feces drop into lower cages, where the dogs are forced to stand or lie in the excrement. Many dogs become ill, and receive nothing to alleviate their suffering, because it is cheaper to get a new breeding dog than it is to pay for veterinary care. Many of the dogs have never seen the light of day or felt grass under their feet and they have had little human contact. The conditions that these animals endure are horrific, and pet stores and on-line sources get their dogs from puppy mills, regardless of what they tell you. The story of Buttons is a typical example of a puppy mill dog who was rescued, redeemed, and rehabilitated:

Buttons was a wretched creature, a small mini poodle dumped at an area shelter with six months of matted fur, and he was terrified of everything, including feet and newspapers. He had spent his early weeks in an abominable puppy mill, and was transported to a pet store where he spent four months, up for sale at half price, and then almost two years in a “home” from which he was given up without even a collar to call his own. He was so afraid of his owners, that, when they opened their car door at the shelter, he flew out and hid for a day in the wooded area behind the shelter. He refused to leave the crate in which the shelter put him when they finally caught him.

When he heard his original name, he quivered, rolled over, and peed. He was so thin that his bones showed through, and his frightened eyes peered out of a haggard face. In short, he was a mess, and even the shelter staff doubted that he could be “rehabilitated.” However, the little guy captured me with his eyes…huge, deep, black, watching everything around him intently, and oh so sad and scared. But in there with all the sadness and fear, there seemed to be a spark of hope, almost as if he was thinking, maybe, just maybe this will be different. Why he would trust anyone at this point is beyond me, but he did.

Buttons developed into a feisty, friendly, little fellow with thick black fur, and beautiful black eyes. Only occasionally does the old worried look reappear. He was reliably house-trained within a few days, and developed awesome house manners with everyone. He has become an affectionate little companion who loves his daily walks, and dances on his once pencil legs when he sees a treat coming…A few weeks ago Buttons graduated from obedience class, and has learned the meaning of “kiss” as a greeting, instead of “flip and pee.” The process of redemption and rehabilitation had few rough spots, and he is a better dog than anyone could have ever hoped for.

What can be done to eliminate the existence of these horrible places? First of all, do NOT shop at stores or internet sites that sell dogs. The only one sure way to combat the tragedy of puppy mills is to NOT SUPPORT THEM….no matter how cute the puppy in the pet store is, please don’t buy her. She comes from a puppy mill, regardless of what the salesperson tells you. PET STORE dogs come from puppy mills. You may think you are “rescuing her,” but in reality, you are only freeing up space for another puppy mill product, while supporting an industry based on abuse. Keep informed and educate your friends and neighbors about puppy mills, and monitor legislation that involves this unethical industry. Let your legislators know your concerns, and above all, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP.

 

What’s Your Price?

There is a common saying, “Everyone has a price.” Confusion exists as to the origin of this saying, but it is recorded that Sir William Wyndham wrote in 1734, “It is an old maxim that every man has his price,” and the idea is at least as old as Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who lived AD50-135. (If you want to do a little research, the philosophy of this man is quite interesting!) Howard Hughes reportedly said, “Every man has his price, or a guy like me couldn’t exist.”

There is a price with every choice we make, even in the area of animal welfare. As Barbara Spencer points out, “It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars on an animal whom we love and have an attachment to. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: how much of our time and money are we willing to lay out for an animal to whom we have no ties and for whom we feel no personal responsibility? In other words, what is the price tag on compassion?

We agree that mistreatment and neglect of our animal companions is wrong; we claim to empathize with them because we understand our common ability to experience physical and emotional sensations, such as pleasure and pain, joy, fear, and sadness. We abhor puppy mills where animals live in squalid conditions, with dogs spending their entire lives with little or no human contact or medical attention, crammed into dirty cages where they are forced to breed until their bodies can no longer endure. We are disgusted that people “get rid” of their dog when he becomes an inconvenience. We care; we really do, but we have priorities….too many things to do and so little time. Are we paying too high a price in search of material possessions, or power, or prestige?

Epictetus discusses our ‘impulses to act and not to act’, and asserts that our pursuit of one set of objectives rather than others is in our power. It is a matter of choice, and it is in everyone’s power to do something to make a difference in the lives of needy dogs. We cannot save them all, but we can save some, and we can show compassion to all by walking the walk, not talking the talk….it is worth the price of giving up just a little for the dogs who willingly offer unconditional love, faith and trust.

  • Shelters rarely have enough volunteers to help walking, socializing, and providing basic training for shelter dogs. Writers, photographers, and graphic artists can help produce fliers, newsletters, or information packets. Staff members may also appreciate help when dealing with particularly challenging dogs. Call your local shelter to find specific ways you can help, and ask what they have on their “Wish List”….and monetary donations are always needed.
  • Familiarize yourself with local and state ordinances and legislation pertaining to dog welfare. Write a letter, or e-mail local and representatives expressing your views on puppy mills and basic dog welfare legislation.
  • Promote spaying and neutering…we have a crisis overpopulation of unwanted dogs, and this is the only way to lessen this problem. Spay or neuter your own animal, and encourage others by informing them of all the health benefits of this simple procedure.
  • Organize a fund raising event…it can be as simple as a bake sale or car wash, or as involved as a dog festival or black tie event. Have a party to help dogs!
  • Be alert for dogs that are too thin, consistently without food, water or adequate shelter, or appear sick. Call your local animal control office and continue to call authorities until the situation is resolved. Dogs can’t speak; be their voice.
  • Volunteer to foster a dog…Rescues can house only so many, so having foster homes is like having additional space, and a home environment is much less stressful to a dog in transition than a noisy shelter. Providing a calm, caring environment with basic training will increase the dog’s chances of finding a forever home, and remember: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!.

Anything you do for a needy dog will be appreciated, and the rewards are priceless.

What we allow – will continue

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, but as we make plans to honor the person who loved and supported us throughout our lives, we pause to remember the thousands of mother dogs in puppy mills who live out their lives in these inhumane places. Puppy mills are everywhere, and the US Department of Agriculture estimates that there are over 2 MILLION puppies bred in mills each year, and as long as “we the people” allow this, it will continue.

Puppy mill dog breeding operations may be large or small, but they all put profit over the health and well-being of the dogs. Breeding dogs spend their lives in dirty, unsanitary confinement and it is common to see wire cages stacked on top of each other, often without any protection from heat, cold, or inclement weather . They receive little or no veterinary care, and the bottom line is all about profits.

The two primary sales outlets for puppies bred in mills are pet stores and the internet. Almost ALL puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, and pet stores are a primary sales outlet for puppy mills, and they are shipped all over the country in conditions that often force the dogs to go up to 12 hours without food or water, and many puppies do not survive.

“We the people” are the key to stopping this cycle of cruelty, and wringing our hands and moaning that “we feel so bad” about the situation, is not enough to stop these inhumane atrocities.

Until we initiate serious intervention, the situation will continue. Pledge to end this cycle of cruelty by choosing to not buy a pet from any pet store or internet site, refusing to buy supplies from any store or site that sells puppies, and supporting federal and local laws to stop the operation of puppy mills.

“The Life Of A Puppy Mill Dog” is not pleasant reading, but it presents an accurate account of what we allow to continue in those despicable places.

“Some humans in this world have decided with the worst selfishness and greed, that my fate shall forever be in a cage, and to just stay alive, I must breed. I will never be a pet, only a breeding machine. “Please release me from this prison,” I bark in vain, but the miller does not care that we live out each day in desperate pain. The truth is that I am the miller’s property…I never get to play or become a pet, and when I am sick or injured, the miller doesn’t bother to call a vet. Again and again the miller comes to collect my pups, so tiny and sickly with eyes and nose runny. I bark, “It’s too early …they need a mother’s care, but he ignores me, knowing that younger pups bring more money. My feet are always bleeding, cut by the wire floor, and my legs are crippled from never being allowed to run. In the winter I shiver; left out in the snow and rain. In the summer, the hot rays beat down from the sun. I am missing many teeth, the rest cracked and broken. My matted fur is falling out in clumps from a terrible rash, and the world is getting dark because an untreated infection that is making me blind, but the miller does not care as I can still bring in cash. As time goes by, I feel my body grow weaker each day. Ragged and worn, I look like I’m twelve though I’m only five. My uterus is swollen and infected from too many litters, and to breed lots of puppies is the sole reason I am kept alive. I can no longer make a product for him to see, so I am now a burden and waste of money to feed. I await my fate in silence….I’ve seen it all before. Now he is yanking me by the rope he uses as a lead. He drags me, as my legs are useless, to the weeds behind the mill and ties me to a tree with a rusty old chain. He walks away without a backward glance, leaving me to face death which will offer release from a lifetime of pain. There are thousands of mill dogs out there with lives as sad as mine. Please stop the puppy mill business. You do have an option; Don’t support mills by buying puppies from pet shops or bad breeders. Instead, go to a shelter or rescue and apply for adoption.” –by Petshub.com forum

It is our choices that reveal what we truly are: what we allow, is what will continue.

Christmas Puppies For Sale!

Most of us are busy writing our lists and will soon be checking them twice. We urge you to think carefully before you give a dog as a Christmas gift. Animals come with responsibilities, and the person receiving them may not be prepared to adequately provide for the animal’s care. When the holidays end, the kids go back to school, and the adults go back to work, what happens to the puppy?

A puppy is not a stuffed toy that can be tossed on the shelf when the newness wears off; the reality is that a pet is a serious long term responsibility and the decision to include a dog into any home should come only after careful consideration.

Please don’t just “get a puppy for the kids,” unless you are prepared for a lifetime commitment! And don’t fall for all the slick marketing techniques from the pet stores, and on- line-sites. Their motivation is not your happiness or the welfare of the animal; it is financial gain, as illustrated in this poem by Shannon McClure.

Adopt Don't Shop

Adopt Don’t Shop

 

Excerpt From – Merry Christmas From Ye Olde Puppy Shoppe!

By: Shannon McClure

We love our puppy customers.
They’re our #1 bread and butter,
Especially right now at Christmas time
With their MasterCards all a-flutter.

Oh sure, they’ve heard about puppymills
They don’t live in a cave.
The tree-huggers dreamed THAT whole thing up.
They’re really quite depraved!

All OUR pups came from “Local Breeders”.
These signs around TELL you so;
We paint em up and hang em high
Cause we want you to know!

We don’t put a price on honesty,
But this pup will cost eight hundred dollars.
You don’t think that we make the big bucks
Selling fish food and martingale collars !

But back to our Christmas Greeting
And why we wish you all Good Cheer;
You see, you are $pecial folks to us
At this festive time of year.

We love you cause you just don’t care
You buy it because you want it.
You can lay your cash on OUR counter, ma’am,
If you’ve got it, you OUGHT to flaunt it !!!

We love the things you DON’T ask !!!
It makes our job so easy.
If you saw the sights behind the scene
You’d probably get quite queasy.

You’ll never see the breeding dogs
Who suffer on the wire,
Or pups die of hypothermia
When their truck gets a flat tire.

We’ll keep you from our back room too,
And put a padlock on the freezer.
Those tiny puppies stiff and cold
Would not be a crowd pleaser.

We hope you have a vet you like
That pup’s probably gonna need him.
Ivomec wears off in thirty days
That’s how long we’ve guaranteed him !!!

Who cares when you get that blue slip home
And find out that it wasn’t true.
Your Local Breeder’s way out in Kansas ?
HO! HO! HO! That joke’s on you !!!

We’ve got the carols playing
And a Santa, for good reason;
We’re all scrubbed up and lookin’ good
So you’ll make our Christmas season.