When I was little, I remember in just about every mall that my family and I went into, there was a pet store selling dogs. I remember a little chihuahua very specifically. My Mom had always wanted a chihuahua. Apparently, when she was growing up, she had one named Oly. You could see the desire in her eyes, as her clutched hands held that puppy so tight, we thought she would never let go. Lining the walls of that pet store, were tiny glass houses and tiny puppies curled up in each little house. They had food and water in their bowls, and their coats shined in the florescent lights that adorned their miniature glass homes. On the outside, it looked as though those animals were very well taken care of, getting constant attention, and I’m sure they were. The pet store was asking $2,500 for that dog! If my Dad had the money in his pocket, he would have given his wife her biggest dream, to have another pocket buddy to take to the grocery store, and accompany her wherever she went. It was extremely hard to walk out of that store without that little girl…
What we didn’t know were the bigger truths behind the scenes, and where that precious little puppy came from. We didn’t know that this puppy most likely came from a puppy mill. Here is how the Humane Society of the United States defines a puppy mill:
“Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce purebred puppies in large numbers. The puppies are sold either directly to the public via the Internet, newspaper ads, at the mill itself, or are sold to brokers and pet shops across the country.
The documented problems of puppy mills include over breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of socialization with humans, overcrowded cages, and the killing of unwanted animals. To the unwitting consumer, this situation frequently means buying a puppy facing an array of immediate veterinary problems or harboring genetically borne diseases that do not appear until years later.
Sadly, some dogs are forced to live in puppy mills their entire lives. They are kept there for one reason only: to produce more puppies. Repeatedly bred, many of these “brood bitches” are killed once their reproductive capacity wanes. Thousands of these breeding operations currently exist in the United States.”
I don’t really feel like I need to write a long blog to describe why I adopt from shelters, rescues, or humane societies. It’s pretty clear that by supporting puppy mills, you are supporting the profiting of these groups, who disregard the health of these animals. I recently watched a video of a sweet girl named “Lizzy” that lived 12 years in a small cage in a puppy mill. Her only purpose in life was to breed. When rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue, she immediately went to a loving home. But Lizzy had NEVER touched the ground. She was placed on the grass, and literally could not figure out what the fluffy green stuff under her feet was all about! That is insane to me!
The most heartbreaking part of this story, is that I’m about to say “do not support facilities that are linked to puppy mills.” The hardest thing to do is to turn your back and not save some of those sometimes neglected, abused, babies. But that’s another topic for next time, the long term effects of puppy mills. If we don’t support them, they won’t survive.
If you have $2,500 burning a hole in your pocket, next time you want to purchase the perfect breed, search out a breed rescue. There is a rescue for just about every breed out there. Rescue your soul mate, and spend the rest of that money saving another animals life, by donating to a local animal shelter. Now, you have saved two or more animals. hmmm.