I would like to tell you about an Angel I knew and
loved. Please read down to the bottom of this article so you can see how
to help thousands of dogs just like her. She was a purebred white toy
poodle. Her family no longer wanted her so gave her to a breeder. Why
didn't they want her? Who knows, they may have been moving and didn't
even think about her or one of the other thousands of reasons that this
throw-away society has when it comes to "pets." Whatever reason they
had, they obviously didn't realize what a special being they were giving
up. Did they know they were giving her to a breeder? Some people think
that all breeders are animal lovers. Some think that because the dog is
a purebred that it should be allowed to breed, as if this is a privilege
for a dog. Some breeders lie and tell people that they will give the dog
a good home. Whatever the reason that Angel lost her home, none was good
enough to excuse what she went through.
I first met Angel when we got a call about a
"puppy-mill" in Agoura, California that was closing down. The owner no
longer wanted to be in the breeding business, so he called animal rescue
organizations to remove his breeding stock before he took them all to
the pound to be destroyed. He had 300 dogs. They consisted of Old
English Sheepdogs, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Shih-Tsus. It wasn't
easy, but we managed to remove all the dogs. Many had to be euthanized
because they were in such horrible condition with tumors and other
problems that were beyond fixing. There was no point in making them
suffer further. Any euthanizing that had to be done, was done as gently
as possible by veterinarians, with rescue workers holding the dog and
probably giving it the only love that it ever had.
I fostered two litters of puppies and their moms. All
were placed in new loving homes except one of the moms - Angel. I
decided to offer Angel a lifetime home. When we got Angel, she was
covered with sores and fleas. She was riddled with infections. She had
very few teeth, and had to have most of the rest of them pulled. Some
time in her past she had both front feet broken and with no medical
care, they had formed to the side and she was only able to hobble on her
"wrist" joints. Her kneecaps on the back legs were twisted to the
inside. It took one month of nightly ear cleaning before the "black
yuck" was completely removed from her ears. When she was touched by
people, she held her breath in fear. It was difficult for the vet to
listen to her lungs because she would hold her breath every time he
tried. It was obvious that she had received minimum care, poor quality
food, and in the opinion of her vets, she had been given hormones to
help increase production of puppies. These puppies were being sold in
pet shops. You don't have to worry if your breeding stock is dying,
there are enough purebreds free in the newspaper and low cost in the
pound to put much effort into trying to keep them alive for long.
We got Angel in 1986 and most of her time was spent in
her bed where she seemed to enjoy watching the world go by. She would
come out occasionally and pick up dog toys -- tennis balls, squeaky
toys, etc. She would take these toys back into her bed and try to nurse
them like they were her puppies. She was very protective of them. She
loved to roll on her back in the grass. Since she had been living in a
cement run, it took her awhile to learn that grass wasn't to be feared.
She loved to eat lettuce and would come hobbling over anytime I was
making a salad. She never did learn to trust people, except for our own
volunteer veterinary technician. Angel wagged like crazy whenever this
volunteer came into the room. It's amazing that she could accept any
human at all after what she had gone through, especially one that had to
take care of her medical needs.
No one ever wanted to adopt Angel. She wasn't perfect
enough. But she gave us a lot of joy for the short time we had her.
After a few years she had to be rushed to the emergency vet clinic
because of breathing problems. It turned out that she had a cancerous
tumor in her throat that was inoperable, and likely contributed to by
the hormones the breeder gave her. We chose to euthanize her so that she
wouldn't suffer anymore. The one person that she trusted held her. We
miss our little Angel, but we know that we gave her the best part of her
life, and we'll never regret that.
You can prevent other dogs from going through what Angel
went through. How? Don't support the industry that supports
"puppy-mills." Don't buy puppies from pet shops. One of Angels' pups was
born with a sluggish immune system. We don't know how many times Angel
was bred. We don't know how many of her purebred, pedigreed, AKC papered
puppies were sold in pet shops. And of course, we don't know how many of
those puppies went on to breed more puppies, all carrying numerous
genetic defects with them.
The next time you are looking at those puppies in the
pet shop window, please remember our beloved little Angel and walk away.
And now, you can do even more. There's simply no excuse
for animal activists to not write to the USDA in support of their
proposed new regulation. If passed, this
regulation will force puppy millers to keep medical records for every
shot, pill, wormer, and vet visit, etc., on every dog in their kennels
for at least one year after they dispose of the dog. The USDA wants to
better monitor their veterinary care program. This volume of
recordkeeping will inevitably put a substantial number of puppy millers
out of business.
Time is short. Your don't have to compose a lengthy
letter. Just reference the docket number and say you support the
Please do it TODAY!
You must contact the USDA before June 10, 2003. You may
submit comments by postal mail or e-mail. If you use Post Office please
submit 4 copies to:
Docket No. 97-033-1
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD. 20737-1238
Please state that your comments refer to Docket No.
If you use e-mail, address your comments to:
Please include your name and address in your message and Docket No.
97-033-1 on the Subject line.
This will not shut down puppymills, but it will be
another hoop they have to jump through that will make it that much more
likely to reduce their profit and encourage them to get an ethical job.
Go on to AR2003
Schedule Posted, DC Deadline Extended
Return to 25 May 2003 Issue
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