Loses Her Cool
IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
|"WE'RE BETTER THAN THAT"
6 April 2008
Russell has moved out of the cage and onto the couch with me at night. It was a good decision. He snuggles up and sleeps all night in the space between the curl of my knees and the couch and he is part of the morning "love-in," when all the dogs realize I'm awake and everybody kisses everybody, Lizzie jumps on the couch and rolls over on her back for tummy rubs, Sheila either stands on the floor with her head in my lap or jumps up on the couch too to rest her head on my shoulder and everybody kisses everybody else's mouth (I try to keep mine out of it. I love the dogs, but I really don't like a lot of slobbery dog kisses). It helps to make Russell "one of the gang" and I think the morning love-in has contributed to his growing friendship with Lizzie.
They are now great playmates. 4 p.m. is the time around here when the dogs are at their most active and yesterday Russell and Lizzie invented a new game. I haven't worked with Russell on learning the dog door (though Jack learned it on his own in literally 5 seconds), so I just keep the back door open wide enough to let the dog bodies get through it. I was on the treadmill yesterday when the game began. The dogs have a ball that is dog-mouth size, but looks like a basketball. It was apparently in the living room. Russell came racing through the house at top speed with the ball in his mouth, out the back door and making the turn around the patio disappeared behind the tall bush, all with Lizzie in hot pursuit. I saw Russell reappear on the other side of the bush without the ball. Next thing I knew, Lizzie was racing in the house with the ball in her mouth and all the way down the hall to the living room, with Russell in hot pursuit. In a matter of seconds, Russell was back in the lead, ball in mouth, racing out the back door, with Lizzie following.
The two kept up this game of keep away for a good 15 minutes, back and forth, back and forth, big smiles on their faces, tails wagging a mile a minute.
Stark contrast to the Oprah show yesterday on puppy mills. The show had me in tears, watching the plight of thousands of dogs, forced to live their entire lives in wire cages, stacked on top of each other, their feet never touching the ground, churning out litter after litter of puppies to sell to pet stores across the country. I don't know how any animal lover could fail to be moved by the sight of dogs in too small cages, begging for attention, or, worse, cringing away from humans out of fear.
Wayne Pacell, President and CEO of The Humane Society on the show put it succinctly: "We're better than that."
I have heard people say "It was probably from a puppy mill, but I wanted an xyz breed puppy and I just didn't want to know."
People, we have to know. We have to know because "we're better than that."
I went to Google looking for puppy mill pictures and this one about broke my heart. This is a female from the "breeding stock" of some puppy mill. Skin and bones...front legs bowed from years of poor nutrition, hair loss probably from mange. This dog suffered years of agony probably in a cage just big enough for her to stand in.
I look at her face and indeterminant breed, and she could be Russell's mother. She has the same kind of face. Is this a Jack Russell terrier? I don't know.
But she was forced to churn out litter after litter of puppies which went to pet stores, cute little puppies that people bought, without knowing where they came from, either because they didn't think about it or because they "didn't want to know." As I look at this picture, I would guesstimate that she's probably past her puppy-bearing years and will be killed because she's no longer of use to the breeder.
The Humane Society's estimate is that 99% of pet stores in this country get their puppies from puppy mills. Anybody who buys a puppy at a pet store is contributing to the plight of dogs like this one.
You might not recognize this puppy, but she's a shitzu, rescued from an Amish puppy mill (The Amish, they explained, don't view dogs as family pets, but as chattle, much like sheep or other livestock, and so many of the puppy mills will be found in Amish country, and the dogs shipped all over the country.) Her leg had been gnawed off by a pit bull in an adjoining cage. She had received no medical attention. She was rescued by the people who took the picture and taken to the vet where the notes indicate she was unresponsive, covered in feces and urine and had a foul odor, her left cornea was ruptured, the left rear leg had the large bone missing, there were multiple fractures, the tissue was necrotic indicating an old injury, bone fragments exposed. The puppy died 20 minutes after they started treating her.
This is the kind of place where you guys who "don't want to know" get your puppies from. Well, they ultimately become the cute little guys in the pet store window, but they started their lives in places like this. Their mothers are still there, with new litters of puppies to become cute little doggies in the window of some pet store. You may think you are rescuing one of them when you plunk down hundreds of dollars, but you are contributing to the demand and the puppy mills will continue.
I am so incredibly proud of the work that the SPCA and other animal rescue agencies do. I may sigh as I pick up another bit of puppy poop in the kitchen (Russell is not guilty of that, most of the time, I am happy to report), but these dogs, and all the dogs the Yolo SPCA deals with have a home where they can play keep-away or be part of a morning love-in, or just snuggle in someone's lap at night while watching television.
"But I don't want a mixed breed...I want an xyz kind of dog," some may wail.
There is absolutely NO reason to buy a puppy from a place that deals with a puppy mill. You want an xyz breed dog? There are rescue organizations for any breed of dog you want. Lab Rescue, Greyhound Rescue, Cocker Rescue, Maltese rescue, Beagle rescue. Heck, there's even a "Puggle rescue" and whoda thunk that this high-demand cross-breed would ever need rescuing? Wayne Pacell even said that about 30% of all dogs in animal shelters are purebreds. It may take longer to get the dog you want, but there are thousands and thousands of dogs looking for loving families that don't come through puppy mills. Even reputable, as-kind-as-can-be shelters can't keep them forever and thousands of lovely dogs are killed every year because people go for puppy mill puppies and don't look in shelters at dogs who are already here and needing somebody to love them. The scenes on Oprah's show of the euthanasia of several dogs was heartbreaking because they didn't want to kill them, but had no choice.
If you MUST have a purebread from a breeder, visit the breeder. Look at where the mothers of these puppies live. Don't get sucked in by the cute puppies and leave a badly treated mother behind. Educate yourself and don't reward people who mistreat their animals for people who insist on cute little purebread puppies and don't care about the conditions under which they spent the first 6-8 weeks of their lives.
Go to YouTube and search for "puppy mill" and watch a video. There are lots of them. It's ugly. It makes you uncomfortable, you may cry...but don't turn away and pretend it doesn't exist. Check out Oprah.com for more information. How can we ever hope to change things if we don't know what the reality is?
The doggie's for sale, of course....for big bucks to the pet shop, but at what price to its mother and thousands of other mothers like her?
Of course the other side is responsible pet ownership, having your pet spayed or neutered. I admit that we were once irresponsible pet owners and had two male dogs who were not neutered. It was a macho thing for Walt at the time, though there is no way he would not have a dog neutered now. "He never leaves the yard," we reasoned. But dogs will go crazy with a bitch in heat in the neighborhood and they did, once in a great while, get loose. The kids joked about how the dog came home "with a huge smile on his face."
That "huge smile" meant that he had probably impregnanted at least one female dog in the neighborhood and left some other family with an unwanted litter of puppies to deal with. It's why the SPCA won't adopt out an un-neutered dog.
We have to know, people. We have to speak out for these little
guys who can't. We have to do all we can to stop this inhumane (or even un-dogly)
treatment of dogs (I won't even get into other animals because there is not enough room).
We have to do it because "we're better than that."
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE:
17.6 miles <-- I've made it to Ned's
This is entry #2932