Rescuing a dog who spent her entire life in a cramped, filthy cage without any access to toys, exercise, proper veterinary care, grooming or any kind of socialization can be an extremely challenging — yet rewarding — experience. Note: I’m talking about puppy mill dogs, who are bred at deplorable commercial breeding facilities that put profit over the well-being of its dogs. Their offspring are sold exclusively at pet stores, or shipped across the country in an online sale. When they can no longer mate and have puppies, these dogs are often killed. They no longer are of use to the breeders.
Fortunately, in the dog world, there is a movement to put an end to these awful commercial breeding facilities. California recently became the first state to outright ban all pet stores from getting dogs from puppy mills, pet shops have shuttered their doors after public pressure and animal adoption rates are up (in lieu of purchasing a dog) . Yet, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, along with some setbacks, including the Trump administration making drastic changes to the USDA’s animal welfare database, allowing for bad breeders to stay in business.
Still, huge organizations, like the Humane Society of the United States, along with local animal-welfare groups, continue to save thousands of puppy mill dogs each year – most of which get a second chance at life by finding a loving, forever home. Yet to acclimate these dogs to a home environment — where they are considered pets, not products – takes patience, but it is also an extremely rewarding experience.
For those looking to change the life of a puppy mill dog and welcome her into your life, here are some tips to make the transition easier for both of you.