From Puppy Mills to Happy Homes

Puppies. Who doesn’t love little, cuddly and fluffy balls of fur? Sometimes I wish that puppies could just stay as puppies, but they never do. And, what happens to puppies who grow up in puppy mills? To understand this, it is necessary to have some brief info about puppy mills.

Picture a place where hundreds of adult dogs and puppies are crowded into wire cages that are barely big enough for them to move around. On top of that, these dogs have no available food, water, or shelter. And, in worse case scenarios, dead puppies are inside cages with ones that are still alive. Along with that, these places usually smell very bad due to the lack of cleaning dog waste out of the cages. Yes, these dogs live in their waste. This is a description of an extreme puppy mill. Sadly, these puppy mill dogs live a life full of suffering. They are treated as money-making objects. They breed and survive, and that’s about it. Some of them don’t even survive. Then, if the dog is unable to breed anymore, they are taken out and disposed of. What, then, is the behavior of a dog raised in a puppy mill?

Skittish is the best way to describe them. A YouTube video showed an adult chocolate lab who wouldn’t sit still. She spun around in circles nonstop, unsure of where to put her feet. This is because she was used to the wire floor of her cage, and the flat surface of a table or floor caused her to be fearful. Many puppy mills use those wire floors for their cages in hopes that urine and feces will fall through so the cages do not have to be cleaned. However, this doesn’t work. Anyway, could you imagine a dog being fearful of a flat surface? Along with being unsure of their surroundings, these dogs are not used to being handled by humans. When I say handling, I mean that no one handled them in a loving and caring way before. These puppy mill dogs are naturally going to be anxious as they were kept in kennels with no way to get rid of their energy. Antsy is another perfect way to describe them. But aside from behavioral issues, let’s talk about the health problems.

The chocolate lab previously talked about had two other sisters. All three of these dogs had issues with one of their eyes. Veterinarians suggested it had something to do with a birth defect due to the lack of knowledge about reputable breeding in these puppy mills. Damage can be done to a dog’s feet due to the wire flooring of the kennels. Dogs can attract flees and heartworms, parasites that are common to both dogs and cats. Truthfully, any disease can occur or be found in these dogs within such unclean, filthy environments.

However, there is hope. Rescues are pulling these dogs from these detrimental homes and rehabilitating them. Many dogs are able to be rehabilitated enough to be adopted by people who love and care for them. One employee who happened to be working at a puppy mill noticed the mistreatment of the dogs, and she wanted to see each and every dog in that place find a home where the dog would be held and petted. They should be sitting on the couch with their owner, watching TV, she said, and sleep peacefully in a comfortable bed. Many of these dogs have to be socialized as they are not used to being with humans, but once they are socialized, they seem to always want to be with a person, one rescue team member stated. It’s almost like they are afraid to be alone. They have been living a lonely life, and now that they have the chance to live with a human, they want to take advantage of the life they deserve.

How can you recognize a dog from a puppy mill? First, if you go to a pet store, those puppies can come from puppy mills. Actually, a majority if not all of them come from puppy mills. As a result, these dogs once they get to someone’s home may have health and behavioral problems. So, you want a puppy and not an adult dog. Well, this is understandable. We love puppies. So, if you are choosing not to adopt a dog from a shelter, be sure to do plenty of research. You want to find a reputable breeder. A reputable breeder will not allow you or anyone from the public just to come and take a puppy home. They will most likely interview you and your family to find out how good you are with dogs and if you have an environment that allows you to properly care for a dog. Also, they will be able to answer any genetic questions you have about their puppies. In fact, any reputable breeder will answer any and all questions you have. They will be honest about the potential problems of the particular breed they are raising. They will be happy to discuss with you the specific needs of that breed. And finally, money is probably the least important for them as their dogs they breed are high priority.

Dog and animal rescues are great places to find the right dog for you. Plus, maybe these rescues will have puppies to adopt. Remember that some of these rescues may have removed some of the dogs from puppy mills, but be assured that those particular rescues are doing everything they can to prepare the dog for adoption. For some dogs, this preparation takes longer as it may have been possible for a particular dog to have a traumatic experience at some point of their puppy mill life. Still, these rescues want all of these dogs to find good families who will show them the unconditional love that so many other dogs and humans share. It is important that rescues are able to transition these dogs from puppy mills to happy homes. Note: This is a very lengthy video and may obtain some things that are hard to watch. Use discretion.


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