Early one morning last week, a line formed outside an animal shelter – all potential adopters waiting for a chance to adopt out puppy mill rescues seized from one of two Mississippi puppy mill raids in late October. Just like Black Friday, the line started forming hours (4 am) before the doors opened at the Humane Society of South Mississippi. By the end of the day, all the dogs were headed to hopefully forever homes.
Part of me is pumping my fist and screaming yes!
But, another part of me is focusing on hoping that most of these puppy mill rescues are truly moving on to forever homes to get all the love and care they need…sprinkled with more patience than you can imagine. Hoping beyond hope that these very fragile beings weren’t adopted out too quickly by a humane society that hasn’t dealt on a routine basis with puppy mill rescues.
Here’s why I feel the way I do.
I have friends that run rescues that have pulled dogs from puppy mills and work to rehabilitate them before helping them find a home. These are dogs that haven’t had grass under their feet until rescued. Dogs that have only known a bad human touch. Dogs that haven’t had proper diet, veterinary care…or anything else. Dogs that have spent years living in their own excrement and now are extremely difficult to housetrain.
I have so many friends – experienced dog owners – that have adopted puppy mill rescues. In many cases, they learned things about love and healing that they never have experienced. They’ve worked as their new family members slowly overcome the horrors of their life in the mills.
I have also gotten to know many people that have adopted out dogs from the National Mill Dog Rescue and other rescues that rescue dogs from puppy mills. Taking in a mill dog isn’t a normal adoption. No, puppy mill rescues and the dogs that finally find freedom are a very special breed needing just the right touch.
When their rescues finally get to that right place, it's an incredible feeling. But it can take years. And, some dogs never become a normal dog.
In the end, all but 15 of the 54 dogs rescued by the Humane Society of Southern Mississippi found a home. That’s why I’m excited that folks were camping out to help…yet afraid of the outcome that may face the dogs if people aren’t truly prepared.
I also hope that those that camped out, but went home empty handed will continue to look at all the other dogs (and cats) left behind in shelters everywhere. Nationally, 7 in 10 cats and 5 in 10 dogs that land in open access shelters face a death sentence – not because they did anything wrong, but, because there are not enough homes.
It’s all the more reason why we need to continue to adopt, not shop for dogs and cats. Why we need to continue to push lawmakers to make it impossible for puppy millers to do business and stores and online merchants to sell dogs bred in mills. It’s why we need to celebrate when these dogs find rescue…but continue to realize it’s just the start of a very, very long road home.
Read more about puppy mills and puppy mill rescues -
- Project Mercy: 23 English Bulldogs rescued from Iowa Puppy Mill
- Iowa shutters Pratt puppy mill, but what took so long
- The journey from puppy mill rescue to being a dog
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Filed under: Puppy Mills