A friend of mine bought a puppy from a pet store a few years ago. It was an impulse buy. The little guy was adorable in all of the conventional ways that puppies win our hearts; perky ears, waggly tail, and the irresistible, ” Please take me home” look. The price was a tad high but she reasoned that she had to pay more since he was a Purebred. Life was grand with the new addition to the family. Until he started to limp…for no apparent reason.
After hundreds of dollars of X-Rays and visits to the veterinarian, the sad news was revealed. He had a genetic hip deformity and he wasn’t going to get better. Ever. Research revealed that the other puppies in his litter and dozens of other litters related to him had a litany of illnesses and deformities. He would never be able to run and romp or even climb the stairs like healthy dogs. My friend learned the hard truth that a Pet Store Puppy is a Puppy Mill Puppy.
Photos of the deplorable conditions in which the puppy mill mothers and the fathers of these dogs live are repulsive. The filth and the stench of the facilities is stomach-churning. The incredible sadness of the animals themselves is palpable; stuffed into tiny cages, forced to breed one litter after another.
The good news is that the winds of change are blowin’. Just a few weeks ago, I read that Chicago’s oldest pet store, Collar and Leash, at 1453 N. Wells St., will no longer sell animals bred in puppy mills. Collar and Leash owner Sonja Raymond, made the decision after noticing many animals coming into the store had genetic defects and incurable illnesses. Raymond wanted to make sure that she did her part to help stamp out these houses of horror. Huge thanks for this victory goes to the tireless efforts put forth by ThePuppyMillProject.org .
On May 11th at John Barleycorn at 149 W. Kinzie in Chicago, there will be a benefit from 6:30-10:30 for The Puppy Mill Project. Plenty of food, drink, music, dancing, silent auction, and a raffle. Oh, and all kinds of ‘dog talk’, too! I’m going to go and it would be great to meet supporters like you!
So, the next time you wonder,”How much is that doggie in the window”, you’ll know that the price is far too high.