She had been brought to our shelter by a local service organization, who had rescued her, pregnant and scared, from a puppy mill. They cared for her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her puppies, but she was so damaged emotionally that they had considered euthanizing her thinking that she would never be able to be anything but a scared unsocialized dog, afraid of everything and everyone. Her foster mom wanted to give her a chance and asked our shelter manager if he would take her. He agreed.
When I first met her on that day at the shelter, she was sitting at the back of her kennel – terrified and alone. She cowered in my presence and avoided direct eye contact. When I raised my hand to unlock the kennel door, she went straight to the ground and curled into a little ball with feet curled under her body, frozen in fear. It was easy to get the leash on her, but getting her to walk to the door to go outside was a slow process and required slow movements.
I walked her around the shelter property so she could go to the bathroom, but it was more of a crawl than a walk. She moved slowly, her body slunk low to the ground, and she would freeze at any sudden movement or loud noise. I avoided talking to her, hoping it would calm her. It didn’t. After a short walk, I sat down on the parking lot curb and waited to see what she would do. Her whole body language conveyed fear and distrust – averted eyes, lowered head and body, frozen body posture. She kept her back towards me the whole time. She did not trust me, and I didn’t blame her at all.
I let her be while I remained seated. I hoped that giving her some time to adjust to my presence would help. It didn’t. She allowed me to pet her, but I think that was only because she was too scared to move. My heart broke for her. It was at that moment that I knew that this dog and I were somehow going to be connected. I just didn’t know then how much.
It would be much later before I would learn that she had a tattoo in her ear. The number 201. Dog number 201 in a puppy mill of how many? How many breeding dogs in dog number 201’s puppy mill were left behind? How many were not rescued?
Dog #201 is also known as Daisy. My dog Daisy. She was breeding dog in a puppy mill for four years. I can’t say how many litters she had, but my vet surmised that it had been many since her skin hangs down as if it had been stretched often by pregnancy. I can’t even begin to guess where all her puppies went, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could have ended up at a Petland store since Petland USA gets 95% of their puppies from puppy mills.
That’s why I am joining Be the Change for Animals today to blog about puppy mills and Petland. All week Be the Change for Animals has been asking people to sign our petition (started by my friend Mary Haight over at Dancing Dog Blog) to ask Petland USA to stop selling puppy mill puppies. We need 50,000 signatures and we only have 750 signatures. Hardly enough to convince Petland USA to stop selling puppy mill puppies like Petland Canada decided to do earlier this year is it?
Daisy and I are asking for your help. We are asking you to join this cause and ask Petland USA to stop selling puppy mill puppies. It took me less than a minute to add my name to the petition. Will you join us? Change doesn’t happen unless people speak up. We need you.
Sign and Share the Petition at Change.org
Write to Petland USA on Facebook and Twitter
Paste the following across your social media outlets:
Tell @Petland USA to Stop Selling Pets! Sign the Petition: http://chn.ge/qT2HNs #BTC4A #Change
10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PUPPY MILLS
1. 99% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.
2. Nearly 100% of all puppies in pet stores have parasites when they are purchased.
3. 48% of puppies being sold in pet stores were ill or incubating an illness at the time of purchase, according to a recent California study.
4. 500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills and sold in pet stores every year in the United States.
5. There are 35,000 pet stores in America
6. Puppy millers can make more than $300,000 growing puppies every year.
7. Puppy mills have been around since the early 1960s.
8. Almost every Puppy sold in a pet store has a mother who will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being petted, never being walked, never being treated like a dog.
9. Female dogs are usually bred 2x a year. At that rate, they usually burn out by age 5, at which time they are put to death.
10. About 1 million breeder dogs are confined in puppy mills throughout the country.
This data can also be found at Madonna of the Mills.
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