Every Dog Deserves A Chance – Even Puppy Mill Dogs

22 11 2010


Unless one is living under a stone in a remote village on another continent, it’s impossible to not be aware of the puppy mill problem plaguing our nation today.

In case someone reading this isn’t fully aware of what a puppy mill is – let me enlighten you. Puppy mills, puppy farms, backyard breeding – take your pick – they all mean the same thing: breeding dogs in squalid conditions with an emphasis on profits over the lives and welfare of the dogs. Puppy mills are NOT meccas for dogs where they lounge around all day being fed from silver-lined dog dishes. The dogs who are subjected to these living conditions are piled into kennels – often two or three per kennel – in puddles of urine and piles of their own feces, have never been to a groomer and likely have spent very little, if any, time in a veterinarian’s office.

The sanitary conditions, or lack thereof, are just one of the problems the dogs stuck in these environments endure. In most cases, females are bred during every heat cycle and puppies are more times than not, weaned from the mother well before the eight to ten week recommended weaning time.

Because of the constant breeding and the poor breeding conditions, puppies who are sold from these backyard hell holes often suffer from serious health issues and/or socialization issues. Before the puppies are sold off to pet stores or unsuspecting owners over the Internet who have no idea what the true living conditions for these dogs are, they are cramped in kennels with little to no human contact, no vet care and then transported over long distances, sometimes in poor condition, all of which lead to animal stress and even death.

Those who survive are left to face a different kind of hell – life after the puppy mill, likely stuck in an animal shelter because no one wants to take a chance on “damaged goods.”

We posted a poll recently on whether or not puppy mill dogs could be rehabilitated and discovered that those who read are blog believe unanimously that puppy mill dogs CAN indeed be rehabilitated. With so many who agree that there is hope for these dogs, why are the shelters still full of them?

It’s true, puppy mill dogs are a special breed fraught with special needs thanks to the environment in which they were brought into and ultimately rescued from. Along with the socialization issues, many dogs, as they grow older are subjected to respiratory problems and hereditary problems like hip dysplasia. Many have temperament issues.

So does all of this mean they are doomed to a shortened life in an animal shelter, which we all know presents its own set of problems, only to have their lives ended when their “number comes up?” Why should they be cast off as damaged and unloveable when they didn’t ask to be put in their situation?

Puppy mill dogs, if handled with the right touch, are no different than any other adoptable animal. They simply need a patient touch from someone who can love them for what they are and give them the life of love they desperately want and deserve.

Dogs are natural pleasers and want only to be loved unconditionally – in the same manner they love their families. As the title of this post says: every dog deserves a chance – even those from the puppy mills. They don’t deserve a death sentence simply because of where they were born.

As always, we welcome your comments. This is an important issue and one that needs not to be swept under the rug or for anyone to pretend it doesn’t exist. Please share this post with others. The more dialogue we participate in and the more awareness we raise, the better off these dogs are and the more likely they are to have a chance at a happy and normal life.



7 responses

22 11 2010
Marty Clifton

A few months ago I had the pleasure and test of rehabilitating a backyard breeder dog who had been seperated from one of her babies (about a year old) who had been with her since birth. She was not house broken, crate trained, leash trained, etc. She didn’t know how to jump up on a couch or human bed and was afraid to cross the threshhold at the back door to go outside. She would not go up or down steps (on my deck) since she had never experienced those, nor would she get off the patio onto the grass in order to potty. After a ton of love, encouragement and patience, she learned it all! She was absolutely one of the most loving fosters I have had the sheer pleasure and joy of taking care of. She learned to walk on a leash, stay in a crate when I was gone, jump up and down on the couch, go up and down stairs, potty in the grass, go thru all doorways, loved my kids and loved everyone (kids too ) that came into my home. I have kept in touch with her new adoptive mommy and she couldn’t be more pleased, stating that she was without a doubt the most loving dog she had ever been around in her life and all her friends agreed.

Breeder dogs and puppy mill dogs are definitely deserving of loving homes and are ABSOLUTELY rehabilitative. It just takes lots of love, time, patience, affection and encouragement. I found my foster to be so devoted and eager to learn and please. You cannot go wrong with one of these babies, especially if he/she has been in the care of a foster or rescue that has worked with them, as I did. I miss her to this day but I know once she was adopted, it made a place for yet another abused dog.

Marty Clifton

22 11 2010

Marty, thank you for such a wonderful success story for puppy mill dogs – I was in happy tears by the end of your story. I hope you will consider becoming a subscriber to our blog and regular contributor. Thank you again for your comment!

23 11 2010
Robin Dunbar

Puppy mill dogs are not perfect. So if one is looking for a dog without issues, please don’t adopt. However, perfect dogs are like perfect people; they may be fun to be around, but teach you very little about life. Unperfect people, like unperfect dogs, show you a will and hope far greater than the human imagination. I have only had one puppy-mill dog, Stella, and we continue to work together to “close” the issues of her past. The grass at her feet, the sun on her face, water and food bowls, and toys all made her tremble in fear. Even though she had the run of the house, she stayed in one spot, about the size of a small kennel, all day long for over 8 months. We had to stay outside with her for 45 minutes to an hour each time to teach her it was safe to do her business outside. Stella had the soul of a weary, frightened, and tired spirit. Now, on her good days, she dances on this Earth. Her rehab is on her watch, not mine; one day, one minute, sometimes one second at a time. One must be patient, PRESENT, and watchful of the needs and fears of these wonderful but severely neglected/abused creatures. But I am a better person because of Stella. They are a gift. What human hands have worked to destory, human hands can work to heal. Even if a puppy-mill dog is set physicially free from its cage, it may take a lifetime for their spirit to truly find freedom.

23 11 2010

Robin thank you for sharing and thank you for saving yet another!

26 11 2010
Tanya Jordan

Puppy-mill dogs can most assuredly be turned into wonderful pets. We work tirelessly with the ones brought in to our rescue and have re-homed many. They take time, patience, and lots of love. Many have never been touched in a kind manner or given a treat so it is all unfamiliar territory for them.
While I would not suggest them as a first dog, due to the patience it will take to bring them out of their fear, any one with some dog knowledge should think about opening their hearts to these lost souls.
It has been nothing but a joy for us at the Sanctuary to be able to give these little ones a better life. Some will never leave because their wounds both physical and mental are too deep. But most are just needing the right touch and the right person to bring them to a point where they experience joy and kindness.
But the ideal thing will be when there are no more who need to make this transition and ALL puppy-mills and pet stores who supply the market for these dogs are no longer in existance. We at His Hands Extended Sanctuary thank and bless all of you who are helping turn the lives of puppy-mill and shelter dogs from tragedy to joy. Keep up the goodwork and lets help each other with this fight.

26 11 2010

Tanya – thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. I agree completely with your statement of not having a puppy mill dog as a first pet. It is true, their physical and psychological wounds run deep and the patience level needed for these babies is extremely high. But for those who can and do take them in – God bless you. It is a true act of compassion and love. Thank you again for taking the time to comment and I hope to read more of your thoughts in the future.

23 11 2010
‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly – But Not To Give Pets As Gifts « Animal Rescue Superhighway

[…] Why “mistakenly popular” you may ask? A pet – no matter what time of year you decide your family is ready for one – is a commitment of at least 10-15 years. It should not be an impulse decision or purchase. There are many factors to consider when adopting a pet. And yes, I said, adopt. We at Animal Rescue Superhighway stand firmly behind the idea of “don’t shop, adopt” and will never tell anyone to buy a puppy or kitten from a pet store or breeder. […]

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