I have always had a hidden resentment to the owners and operators of puppy mills that. Adopting a rescued dog from a mill is not always an easy adjustment. These dogs are seized for a reason. They come from awful and disgusting living conditions and experience little to no human contact. These dogs are abused and scarred for life due to someone’s greedy desire to make ‘easy money’ at a miserable animals expense. So this is me hoping that my dog’s story can make a difference and reach as many people as possible. We need to end the injustice and pain that puppy mills inflict on the lives innocent animals.
To My Dog’s Abuser,
As I sit and watch all three of my dogs happily asleep after some rough play in the yard, I cannot help but to think that a dog’s life shouldn’t be anything less than simple and content. I imagine a dog’s life should be filled with sporadic trips outside, full bellies, quenched thirst, tender moments of snuggles and affection, and sleeping comfortably knowing they are surrounded by the people that they love more than anything in this world. I wish this was the life that I could have guaranteed to all of my fur-babies. Thanks to you, I have a 6 year old shepherd whose life has been anything but easy.
In October of 2013, a local human society seized and hauled the surviving 133 dogs from your disgraceful excuse for a ‘breeding facility’. Filthy living conditions, scarce and moldy food, dead animals, and overly crowded kennels. Several of the dogs were put down before even getting a chance to live due to being categorized as ‘aggressive’ from the seclusion from humans, or illness due to heavy amounts of neglect. And then there is you, the ringleader. You get off with a slap on the wrist and manage to keep your breeding license to further the pain you inflict on innocent animals. Tell me, how does circumstances such as these only get a person a little over a $130 fine and no prison time? Your punishment cost you less than the average person pays for a speeding ticket. Instead of getting in trouble making an honest spur-of-the-moment mistake on a highway, you inflicted irreversible and ensured lifelong pain and suffering. Seem fair?
I know it may be impossible to pinpoint which dog I am referring to specifically because of the wide variety of breeds you had in your possession, so I will give details that only a GOOD dog owner would know. My Hanna was one of your many German Shepherds. Physically she is the breed standard of black and tan coloring. Now, to get to the less-standard qualities that she possess. Hanna was brought in with the others and her age was estimated at 3 years old. She weighed in at an inferior 42 pounds. She is much smaller than the average shepherd, and due to the large size of her paws and ears in comparison to her body and weight, vets concluded that her growth was stunted due to malnutrition. Like a lot of the dogs that went through the process of adoption, she had to be fixed to keep people like you from following in your footsteps of unnecessary and over breeding. This, and she required treatment for multiple infections and worms and parasites that she had already contracted. But treating her for your heinous stupidity was the easiest part of getting her through the adoption process.
For whatever the reason, she was temporarily labeled with the most perplexing name, Hero. We went to visit her for the first time after hearing of the large seizing of dogs, at first glance, she was no one’s hero but it was obvious that she needed one. She was so skinny that her ribs and large ears were the most prominent part of her image. There was no hope in her eyes, only fear and distress. The moment I made eye contact, her eyes would immediately dart away to keep from seeming assertive. She was fearful and made no effort to seem remotely interested in people’s affections. When anyone tried to touch or get too close, she would run and hide underneath the nearest obstacle.
Hanna was was terror-struck and absent of any sense of directions or obedience. But through every uncomfortable encounter she made with anyone, she remained the most sweet of all dogs. She has never lashed out or offered a snarl to anyone, even to those who would forcefully handle her. She always made herself small and passive and refused to defend herself. You may not have come in much contact with the animals you claimed to have cared for, but you most definitely broke her spirit (if she had any to begin with).
When Hanna first came into our home, she wanted nothing to do with us. But she seemed to readily accept our other dog’s company – dogs are all she had known. Her fear of people was astounding. I had never seen a dog so damaged and afraid of every little thing. The longer I spent with her, the more I wanted to befriend her and earn her trust. However, I realized that I would never earn her trust and love by forcing my presence and affections on her, so I let her do all the work. The only time I invaded her personal space, was to put a leash on her and take her out to the bathroom. She was so terrified of a leash that she would refuse to use the bathroom unless I pretended not to look. Even then, we would be outside in the dead of winter for nearly an hour every time she had to relieve herself.
Why an hour, you may ask? Because in the 3 years that you had her, not once had she seen snow being cramped in the outbuilding that a majority of your dogs were kept. A whole season of snow every year for 3 years, and she had no clue what it was. Being as inhumane as you are, you will never know the admiration I had watching a grown dog at 3am in below zero temperatures when I first saw how much she began to love the snow.
Since patience was obviously something she had never been given by you or anyone else, it became necessary to reach Hanna. As trying as it was give, I felt that she deserved my time and compassion. As time progressed, I would sit and mind my own business and notice Hanna invading my personal space out of curiosity. I continued to push myself to ignore her, because I wanted her to come to me at her own agreeable pace. Eventually, she got so comfortable in my company, she would follow beside me wherever I was, and as she would have it, stay there at every opportunity from then on.
Almost 5 years later with my sweet girl, and I still have not the slightest clue as to how you could be so heartless and cruel to a living creature as innocent as she is. She still runs from loud noises, hides from strangers, requires medications, jumps at her own shadow, and even refuses to let anyone – other than myself – show her any kind of attention. The only thing that I will ever force myself to admit, is that if it weren’t for you, I would never have had the experience to bond so strongly with a dog, and I probably never will again once time forces us apart. I just wish from the bottom of my heart, that my bond with Hanna did not come at the cost of her having such a terrible life before her life with me.
With all that you have put her through, she now has something you could never offer – love. I know you are not the type of person to concern yourself or worry about an animals well-being, so don’t. Because after all that we have been through, Hanna trusts and knows I will always be there to protect her, play with her, share my side of the bed with her, and always care for her overall health and well-being.
A Loving Pet Owner