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.

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