I would like to introduce you to sweet Maddie.
Her story isn’t like many other dogs you meet. In fact, she came from a very difficult past filled with loss, cruelty, trauma, fear, despair and constant anxiety. Maddie is a puppy mill survivor from St. Jacobs, Ontario. Located in this town are many puppy mill farms operated by the Mennonites. These dogs never knew sunlight, clean water, proper food, love or kind human touch. “These dogs are not pets. They are treated as livestock. They are not handled by humans in a loving fashion. Most of them are almost feral. They run from human hands. They will not take a treat/food from a human hand. They have never been petted, so they are fearful and very under socialized. They have never stepped outside their cages and kennels, so they have never experienced sun on their backs, grass under their feet, and all the normal things a dog has experienced. These dogs will crawl up a wall or smash into a wall of their kennels to get away from you.
…The dogs live in small kennels and cages. Most of the puppy mills have a thin layer of shavings for bedding. No other bedding whatsoever. Underneath the very thin layer of shavings is either dirt floors or cement. These are old barns… There is no hot running water in these barns as they do not have hydro. Therefore, the kennels are not cleaned/disinfected with hot water and bleach or hot water and virkon like a proper kennel. Typically, they feed in stainless steel bowls and use large hamster style bottles with a stainless steel nipple for water. The dogs lick the nipple to get water. Some just use stainless steel bowls for water. Because these are old barns with no hydro, there is no ventilation, there is no cooling in the summer, and no heat in the winter. Because the Amish have no hydro, they can't clip the long haired non shedding dogs. These dogs look like matted sheep. These dogs are NOT treated as pets. They are there for one purpose and that is to mass produce puppies.” [Kissmutt.com]
When the females are mature enough to breed they are forced into rape room where male dogs impregnate her. When the puppies are big enough, they are ripped away from their moms to sell at pet stores or pet brokers who lie about where they source their dogs – they will tell you they sourced them from a breeder. When the mothers or fathers cannot breed anymore, they are shot in the head sometimes in front of their own kind. It is a despairing life filled with fear, trauma and stress. No life for any animal. Unfortunately puppy mills are not illegal yet.
The most important lesson from her story is to never support pet stores as they are funding these horrific puppy mill operation.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP STOP PUPPY MILLS
Adopt a rescue. There are so many dogs out there in need of a home. Some great adoption websites that you can check out are: www.petfinder.com or www.adoptapet.com where both are search engines summarizing all adoption listings from a variety of rescues.
Foster a dog for a temporary time. There are so many dogs still waiting for a foster home, let alone a permanent home. By fostering you are making space for that one dog who could be euthanized.
Donate to a rescue. Every bit helps as they need to pay for healthcare of new adoptees to give them proper shots, perform surgery and have them spay/neutered.
If you must buy a puppy, PLEASE do your research on a breeder who cares and loves their dogs. Caring breeders will ask you many questions before selling their puppies, they offer a clean and loving environment to their dogs. They also should ensure that the puppies have had all most of their shots prior to handing them off to their new owner, of course you will have to arrange for the remaining shots until they are 16 weeks old. These are some key signs in looking for a reputable caring dog breeder.
My hope is to give Maddie the best life ever so she can erase her awful past and learn to trust humans again. Maddie is currently adjusting slowly but well in our home. She is easily spooked by fast movements and is skiddish but she is learning a lot from big brother Bear. He’s teaching her out to look out the window or use the ramp to get in or out of the house. He’s teaching her to trust humans again when we show him lots of love. She looks to him as a source of comfort when she sleeps. It’s a budding sibling relationship that amazes me each time when I watch them. When I set eyes on Maddie back in May 2018, I knew there was a special connection when I saw her shaggy un-kept face. I knew beyond her looks, there was a beautiful and sweet soul. And I can’t believe she’s ours. To follow Bear and Maddie’s adventures, follow them on Instagram @bearandmaddie