So how many of you thought I had completely forgot about my animal story posts? I’ll admit I am slow to work on them but I didn’t forget. I am just easily distracted. I like to think it’s part of my charm. Some day I would like to be able to add one post a day to each section of my blog. That way people into the Otaku side, Style side, and my personal Ranting side would each have something to look forward to each day but it is not this day. Thank you for being patient with me in that regard.
I started my animal stories because I’m an animal lover and I truly feel that each animal that we have brought into our family has made me a better person. They have each given me pause to think about the rights of animals and what I can do to help out. I bet that a lot of pet owners out there could say the same thing!
I started out my post series with Animal Stories: Koga the Wolf Demon where I talked about my first dog that I was responsible for. He’s totally adorable and I love him to pieces but the great thing about Koga was that it was having him join our family that made me question the greatness of pure breed dogs. It was because of him I realized that it really didn’t matter if a dog was purebred or not. It’s just about finding animal that is a part of your family.
The next dog to join our family was Lily. It was through her my husband and I were able to understand the dangers to animals humans can cause because of our obsession with purebred animals. It was because of Lily we were able to understand what dangers puppy mills were and how we inadvertently supported one.
Let’s start at the beginning. Just a reminder I originally got Koga during my second year of college and relied on my Mom to house him until I was able to move out into my own apartment. My mom had her own dog Jada. A wonderful pit bull chocolate lab mix and Koga adores her. Even to this day! Jada was his first playmate and friend.
After I moved into my first apartment with my husband Adam we began to notice how much of an affect being without Jada had on Koga. He began to become anxious when we weren’t around and bit at his fur until he had a little bald spot! This made us decided it would be best to get a second dog since it was clear that his upbringing had made him very social and not having another animal around was driving him bonkers.
We were in an apartment though and it wasn’t very big. So we thought it would be best to have another small dog so that each dog felt they had enough space. We also decided getting a girl dog would be good because Jada was a girl so maybe it would be easier for Koga to connect with another female dog.
Since I had chosen Koga we decided Adam (my husband) should pick our next dog. Now before I go further I want to remind everyone that Adam and I were young and inexperienced. We were only 19 and 18 and were basically going through this whole buying a dog thing blind. So when we decided to buy a dog we did what everyone else around us had done without thinking twice… We went online.
Now there is nothing wrong with finding an animal online, if you are experienced and can recognize warning signs to make sure you are going through a reputable source. We weren’t experienced though and we didn’t really have any concept of what a proper business that sells animals should or would look like. Instead we just went to the pet section on craigslist and started scrolling through.
Again, Craigslist can be a good source. Many people with go on Craigslist to rehome their animals before having to take them to an animal shelter if they are unable to care for them any longer. Some people end up on Craigslist because the end up with an accidently litter of puppies (always get you animals spayed or neutered!). Some people however breed these poor animals over an over as if that is their only purpose in life.
We came across an ad on Craigslist that seemed to fit our needs. There were two miniature Dachshunds for sale and the owners explained that we could pay $100 for no papers or $150 for papers. When Adam and I heard that they had papers for the dogs we thought that this made them a legitimate source for animals. Big mistake.
Here’s the thing having papers on animal is simply that. Papers. There is no governing body that checks on the breeders that register their animals in order to make sure they are creating a safe environment for these animals. However many people (like Adam and myself) believe that this shows that the business must be legitimate. This is false.
Adam and I weren’t interested in having papers but the fact that they offered them made us think that they were a respectable business. We made an appointment to make our first payment and to chose the puppy we wanted, since they were both female. We showed up to a country house in the boondocks and as we got out of the car four dachshunds greeted us.
You could tell they were all outdoor dogs and we didn’t really think anything of it. We walked up to the house and the woman brought two puppies to us at the doorway. We didn’t see the mother nor did we see where the dogs were being kept. This should have been our first warning sign that something wasn’t right. We chose one of the puppies and went back to our car. As we were getting in we both could’ve sworn we heard more dogs barking from somewhere out back. That should’ve been our next sign.
About a week later we got a call from the woman letting us know that the puppy we originally wanted had died and that we could still buy the other one. We thought this was a little strange but then we did what all humans do when they’re about to do something stupid. We rationalized it. Puppies die right? That’s not that strange. So we agreed to take the other puppy.
When we showed up to get Lily we ended up being early and having adjust the pick up time at the last minute. When we got there about ten dogs running around greeted us and we could swear we could still hear more behind the house. Still we paid the rest of our money for Lily got back into our car and drove away.
It wasn’t until years later when we started learning more about animals that we realized that more than likely we were at a puppy mill. There is no way that many dogs could all be receiving proper care by two people and at our first vet appointment our vet was convinced that Lily wasn’t as old as we were told she was. Our vet was pretty sure she was still to little to be away from her mom, yet another puppy mill sign.
While we both adore Lily, we cringe at the fact that we helped support an environment that was dangerous for animals. Lily is a great dog but she still harbors some issues that we attribute to her early puppy mill days. She can be a very anxious dog and anytime you go to pick her up she flinches and curls up like she thinks you’re going to hit her.
I wish that I had known what to look for in a proper animal seller so that I could’ve made better choices. At the very least I wish Adam and I would’ve known better so that we could have reported them so that an investigation could’ve been started. We didn’t realize what we had run into until years later and by that time the location and even name of the sellers had long been forgotten.
Lily taught me that sadly humans could go to great lengths to exploit animals and that as a buyer we really have to do our homework. You do not want to support a puppy mill so it is important to look out for signs that a place might not be legit. Such as to many animals (how can they be giving them proper care?), sickness/death amongst the animals, not being able to see where the animals are being taken care of, and breeders selling them before they should be separated from their mothers.
I hope Lily’s story helps everyone to look for signs of puppy mills so that we can stop this horrible practice. I’m grateful that we found Lily and that she has made our home a better place. I’m also glad that she made me a better person. Without her I might not have started to question breeders and their possible motives. That being said I never want to support a puppy mill again! So please if you have any questions about a facility that is selling animals let the authorities know. Treating animals inhumanely is illegal and it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you are interested in learning more on the dangers of puppy mills click on the link below! This organization is dedicated to informing people about people mills and saving the animals that are abused because of them.