Friday, January 23, 2009

EARS volunteer prepares puppy mill dogs for a better future

In September and October of 2008, UAN deployed 18 Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers to care for 270 dogs removed from two puppy mills in Qu├Ębec, Canada. Volunteer Terry Kelley of Litchfield, New Hampshire (pictured) shared her experience.

It was a beautiful, crisp, autumn day, when we arrived at the temporary shelter. One by one, volunteers began removing dogs from the van. In a heartbeat, the beauty of the day vanished. The first dog placed in my arms was a small poodle or Maltese. Severely matted, her overgrown coat was filthy from urine and feces. Her face was covered in dirt and discharge and her body reeked. But even more heartbreaking was, as I held her, she did not react to my presence. No wiggles, no tail wag, no licking, nothing. Her life in a puppy mill had caused her to physically and emotionally shut down.

Females outnumbered males, as they produce the puppies and selling puppies is what a puppy mill is all about. Puppy mill females have litter after litter from the time they are six months old and almost never leave their filthy, cramped cages.

But in a few short days, the dogs began to respond to us. After having little to no positive interactions with humans in their entire lives, they now sought out attention. They wanted to be held and touched and spoken to with kind words. I told them life would be better now, as it was a new beginning for all of them … for all of us.

If I had not witnessed this first hand, I would have found it hard to believe these dogs could begin the road to recovery in such a short time. We always say dogs love unconditionally, and it is true.

You can help shut puppy mills down. Resist the urge to buy that “puppy in the window” at the pet store or from the Internet. Instead, take a trip to and adopt a homeless animal from your local shelter or rescue group.

Read Terry’s full article.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The war on puppy mills has begun

Submitted by Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteer June Towler of Bradford, Ontario on December 18, 2008

Another positive day for the puppy mill dogs today -- four more went out to good foster homes! Woo hoo! One of them was the 12-year-old poodle cross, whom we were worried nobody would want because of her age. However, get a load of this: A lady was here to visit her mother, who really needed to see her. She drove past the SPCA and felt the need to turn around and go in; fostering a dog was not at all on her agenda. When the woman came in, she found the poodle cross, and she felt the dog really needed her, too! She is calling the poodle Yaka, which in her native African tongue means "Good Omen." It was one of those things that was just meant to be and we are all so happy that she listened to her instinct to turn around and come inside the SPCA.

We were down to six EARS volunteers today, which is not a lot to cover all the work to be done, but ironically it went very well! We are a good team and work very well together -- everyone just knows what needs to be done and does it. We still had lots of time to give half an hour of cuddle and playtime to each and every dog. They are improving each day, and you would not recognize most of them from the sad, scared dogs they were when they came in.

Tomorrow my rescue partner and I return to the Toronto area, taking four dogs back with us where they will go into good, loving foster homes. The SPCA is seeking local volunteers to take over and help, and after the amazing response we have seen from the citizens of Montreal, I am sure there will be new, local volunteers stepping up to the plate. It's such rewarding work that I encourage anyone in Montreal who has the inclination to contact the SPCA and look into volunteering. You won't regret the wonderful experience.

Since UAN's deployment on this puppy mill seizure is coming to an end, we volunteers would like to take this opportunity to thank the Canadian SPCA's Maggie, Jen, Christina, Turle, Alana and Veronique (sorry if we spelled your name wrong "Ronnie"), all support staff at the main branch of the CSPCA, and of course, our own Fearless Leader, EARS Regional Director Marcel Marcotte. You guys ABSOLUTELY ROCK! I wish there was a way the general public could know just how hard you all work for the animals, and the care and professionalism you all have. It has truly been a pleasure working under your guidance and I know that each and every one of us UAN volunteers would do everything in our power to come to your aid when you need us again. The CSPCA is taking a stand against puppy mill animal abuse, even though poor legislation makes success seem to be an insurmountable feat. But against all odds, they are DOING it and we are all so proud of their efforts and that we were able to be a part of it.

But just as important is the unbelievable support of the Montreal general public. We are in awe of the amount of donations people still continue to bring in. You are setting such a fantastic example to the rest of Canada and the United States -- that we are no longer going to put up with puppy mills and animal abuse.

So I will close with a bittersweet goodbye to great new friends and to strangers met briefly who have left such a strong and positive impression on us. We will see you all next time, wherever it may be -- and there WILL be a next time -- the war on puppy mills has begun!