Monday, May 14, 2012

Tails: Mother’s Day might be over but keep in mind…

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and as many children and husbands frantically searched for the right bouquet of flowers or a sparkly jewel to give mom in appreciation for all that she does that no one ever thinks about – other Mothers weren’t so fortunate.

Ever wonder where all those puppies in the window of a pet store come from?  For every puppy that is sold in a pet store there is a mother dog wasting away in a wire cage.  Each time a puppy is bought – a mother dog is forced to make more cute puppies.

Many organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, have begun marketing awareness of puppy mills with Mothers Day.  It makes sense.

While the message to rescue, adopt, and save dogs from shelters is growing and people are listening – not enough word gets spread about the dogs sitting in puppy mills across the country who are chained to a lifetime of breeding.

I will be descript because I think the topic deserves some uncomfortable realizations.  I believe that people need to really visualize the life these poor dogs lead.

My most horrible story is that of a mother dog in Kathy Bauks care (I use that term loosely as she did anything BUT care for dogs) – a woman in Minnesota who ran one of the biggest mills in the US.  There was a video taken by an undercover investigator detailing the plight of a mother dog, I believe a Shih Tzu or other small “popular” breed whose leg was broke while giving birth because Kathy yanked the puppy out herself and then left the mother dog to die in wincing pain.  No one checked on the mother dog again until she lay dead in the crate she lived in her whole miserable life.

That story will haunt me until I die.

And, if there are still disbelievers out there – here is one that should make you think twice about supporting any part of a pet store who sells puppies…  My little Penelope, a Shih Tzu I rescued at an Amish mill auction – whose claim to fame that day was that “she’s a good mother about to go into heat.”  I cannot lie – I put too much money in a miller’s pocket that day to get her out – but any dog who is treated like a machine needs a second chance at life.

And treated like a machine, she was.  She was 4 years old when I got her and took her to the vet to be spayed.  My vet said that he had never seen anything like it – her little uterus just flopped out it was so overused.  Saying she was overbred would be an understatement.

Penelope and the poor dog who died at Kathy Bauk’s hell hole are only two dogs out of thousands who suffer every year – all in the name of a dollar.  All in the name of the next designer dog toted around by someone like Paris Hilton.

Mother’s day might be over – but the plight of mill dogs is not.

Not everyone can physically rescue a mill dog but there are things anyone can do –spread the word: share what they know about puppy mills, stop spending money in stores that sell dogs, donate to rescues who help mill dogs, volunteer at shelters, write to legislators asking them to support stronger regulation and enforcement of breeding facilities.

My Mother’s Day is over – but my wish for the next one is that thousands of mothers in the mills are freed this year and adopted into homes full of love.

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