Since I was a child, my family has always rescued puppies. There is just such great pleasure that comes out of being able to know in your heart that you saved a dog and gave them a forever home. When people think of rescuing, they usually just think of rescuing from a farm, or a shelter, or finding an ad in the newspaper for a litter of puppies. Nobody usually thinks of dogs that come from puppy mills when they think of rescue puppies.
Recently my family decided to rescue another puppy from the same rescue group that we got our other dog from just a little over a year ago. When we rescued our first from that group, Harley, he was just 8 weeks old and very healthy and happy. Just a few weeks ago, we rescued Cooper, who was already 13 weeks old at the time. We noticed that there was something off with him from the start. He had calluses on his back legs from what they call “kennel rub” when the dog tends to scratch up against a cage that is too small for them, he smelled as if he came from a dirty place with very little cleanliness, and he looked as if he had never walked on his feet a day in his life! The people from the rescue group don’t really tell you where the dogs come from, they just say most come from farms and shelters, and only 2% come from puppy mills. I was convinced my dog was part of that 2% that came from a puppy mill by the shape he was in when we picked him up.
Currently, there are about 10,000 puppy mills in the US. Over 2 million dogs are bred in these mills each year, and the sad truth is that over 1.2 million do not survive making it out of these mills. Not many people know really what puppy mills are. All we really know is that the dogs from the pet stores come from them. Puppy mills are a place where dogs are kept in cages all day and night, get a minimal amount of food, and are very dirty and gross because you know the people at those places are probably not spending their time and money to make it a “dog hotel.”
The thought that my dog probably lived that life at one point is heartbreaking to me. But I want to bring awareness to the fact that no matter what the rumors are about puppy mills and that, “all dogs there have diseases”, (which some may) and, “you should not buy a dog that comes from there from there,” those rumors are wrong for the most part. Rescuing my puppy from a horrifying life is one of the greatest things I have ever done. Being able to look at pictures of him when we went to pick him up (below) versus when he was on his way home with us (above) is so satisfying for me. I am here to break the stigma that people should avoid rescuing from pet stores and rescue groups that get puppies from puppy mills because those dogs need rescues just as much as any other pup does!
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