Friday, March 27, 2009

What if Daisy were the last one?

My thanks goes to Hope Schultz at WebVet for alerting me to a story about puppy mills that aired tonight on Nightline.  

You can watch the video for yourself. But, don't be fooled by the guy who claims to be running a "cutting-edge facility" that is based on "humane" animal treatment. His breeding facility is every bit as bad as any other puppy mill facility. The dogs are in wire cages without room to move (just look at the size of the kennels the Blue Merle Sheltie is in) and they have no social interaction or room to run. The guy claims that the hamster wheel he's got a dog running on is more humane than letting the dog run outside in the mud. Forgive my frustration, but OH PLEASE! Really? Even the hamster wheel is made out of wire and is probably hurting the dogs feet just as much as the cage he just came from. 

I guess what made me the most sad was seeing the Golden Retriever rescued by Main Line Animal Rescue (the same rescue group featured on Oprah Winfrey). She had been given up because she could no longer breed. Lucky for her Main Line was there to pick her up because many dogs are just shot and killed since they are no use to the breeder anymore. Looking at that Retriever was like looking at Daisy. 

The dog's belly hung down really low, as a result of the numerous litters she had had litters throughout her life. And,  it was clear that her puppies had been weened recently. Daisy's belly is also symbol of the number of litters she has had in her young life. As I have mentioned before, her vet said she was kept pregnant as often as was possible. She even said that if it were available, Daisy could have had a tummy tuck with all the stretched skin hanging down from her belly.

The Retriever also had scars on her head and snout  - the Main Line caregivers surmised that she had received these scars from dog fights - probably over food. I have long thought that Daisy's scars were received from other dogs, possibly in fights over a resource like food. No wonder she's so cautious about having me watch her eat.

The guy from Main Line Animal Rescue also said that many of these breeding dogs walk in a crouch (low to the ground) because of all the years spent living in a wire cage. Now I sit here wondering...Was the way Daisy walked (when I first got her) due to fear? Or, was it due to the living conditions at the puppy mill? Or, was it both? It had never occurred to me until today that her crouched walk could have been due to a wire floor. How sad. It makes me want to cry.

So I ask you..
What if instead of buying a dog from a pet store everyone went out and rescued a dog instead?
What if the laws in every state were stronger and we could do inspections of these facilities on a regular basis and shut don the ones that are inhumane?
What if we cared enough to NOT buy a dog from the back of a van or from a stall in sombody's barn?
What if we educated people on puppy mills and what happens there and where the puppies go?
What if we stopped giving these people a source of income?

What if....


  1. I so agree with you, rescue dogs, rescue dogs, rescue dogs. Enchantrezz, Glad you have this blog,too.

  2. Hi Mel,

    I too have often wondered what the black marks/scars are on Gracie's legs, mostly around her hocks,(if you can use that term in reference to a dog!) I think that her back legs had been forced into some contraption for mating to take place as I could not see her willingly stand for any dog! I hate to think about it. I also think that her keepers would have 'hobbled' the dogs in order to catch them, again targeting their legs.
    Gracie too walked in a crouched fashion, very low, slinking along. She has gotten better with that, but reverts to it the moment she feels scared or threatened. It's at this point, when out with her, that people think I must be cruel to her, as she cowers so much in the presence of humans. She can't help it, it's all she's known... I don't think it's because she was kept in a cage though. Over here these dogs are more likely to be kept like cattle or sheep in pens inside a barn or large shed, mostly in the dark and on concrete. Gracie did not use her eyes as other dogs do, in fact I thought at one point that she was blind, thankfully she's not. She relied on her nose to 'see' her world, and still does. When you're kept in the dark you have no use for sight, matter of fact I've read that dogs can and do go blind when kept in these conditions.
    At least I should be grateful that her vocal chords were not severed, nor does she have a tatoo in her ear.
    The whole puppy farm business is a nightmare, and I can only wish that one day the government will see it for what it is and legislate against them. I may have a long wait!

    Jasper looks like a fine dog, I hope he's doing well. I wish Gracie could have a pal like him. As it is we don't have 'dog parks' over here but even if we did, I couldn't take Gracie to one. Dogs mean people to her and she would not cope at all.

    However she has made so much progress since she came to live with me that I don't worry about whether she'll ever be able to form relationships with others. So long as she's happy, I'm happy! ;o)


  3. Thanks for your comments Lizzie.

    I am so glad to hear that Gracie is getting better (slowly but surely). I know what you mean about her reverting back to that crouching position when she is afraid. Daisy does it less often now, but when she is afraid she still reverts back to it. I guess that part of her personality may always with her. It may never go away totally, but it brings me great joy to know that she no longer does it all of the time. I completely understand what you mean about not caring as long as Gracie is happy. I feel the exact same way!

    I have often wondered (as you an tell) about Daisy's marks. I don't doubt that some of them did come from being forced to mate (she has marks on her legs too), but I also think that she may have had to fight for her food and had altercations with other dogs as a result. It's hard to know for sure I guess.

    You know I used to worry about people thinking I abused Daisy too. It really bother me. So, I started educating people by telling her story. It's funny, but now that so many people know her story they are starting to educate others about puppy mills by telling them about Daisy. I think it's a great way to help people understand what happens to these dogs and to help them understand that when they buy a puppy in a pet store they are perpetuating puppy mills and the horrible conditions that these dogs live in every day. I am hopeful that someday our state and our country will outlaw this type of animal abuse, but until then I try to do what I can to educate and influence.

    Jasper is a character for sure! I don't know how Daisy puts up with his puppy antics, but she does AND she seems not to mind it most of the time. She lets him know when he's getting to be a bit too much. I'm glad she does or I think I would have had to let someone else adopt him. Instead, he has made her more confident and calm. Can you imagine a puppy would be able to do that?

    I am so glad you found Gracie. She is VERY lucky to have you! Thank you so much for sharing her story.

  4. Thanks for your kind words of support Mel.

    I think I am the lucky one to have found Gracie. She is the most adorable dog. She is just so gentle and pure somehow, I think because she knew nothing of the world, so I have been able to start from scratch. She is eager to learn and bright as a button, which makes it so sad that she has this extreme fear of people. It's such a shame as she would otherwise have had the potential to be a great ambassador for her breed.

    I feel that she has entrusted me with her life, a big responsibility. She does not relate to any other human, not even my husband, and he's been around her as much as I have but she will have nothing to do with him, merely tolerates him! She is quite able to make choices.

    Therefore I cannot fail her. I will continue to do my very best for Gracie. You never know, she too, may even find her 'inner Lab' one day. I live in hope.

    Lizzie & Gracie