This Saturday is Puppy Mill awareness day. Buzz is getting to an age where he understands that not every human is nice and not every dog has a good life. He heard about this Puppy Mill Awareness day and had some questions for me.
Buzz: What’s a puppy mill?
Lady: A puppy mill is the kind of place that makes you very sad to know about. Are you sure you want to know about it?
Buzz: Puh-leeeez, Lady! I am so grown up. I can totally and fully handle it.
Lady: Puppy mills are businesses where people breed dogs. The produce lots and lots of puppies every year.
Buzz: That sounds nice! I like puppies!
Lady: But Buzz, remember that there are too many dogs in this country. There are so many dogs being born every year that over nine million of them have to be killed because there is nowhere for them to live.
Buzz: Nine million? I don’t know how many that is.
Lady: How many do you know?
Buzz: I know how many 100 is. That is how many toys I have.
Lady: Well, Buzzy, imagine if each of your toys was a dog. Now imagine that not only do we have 100 dogs in our house that need to be killed because we don’t have room for them or food to feed them, but also picture that there are 100 extra dogs at Billy’s house. And Milly’s house. And at every house in our city. That would be 9,000,000 dogs.
Buzz: Whoa. Do they deserve it?
Lady: No, Buzz. Those dogs are very nice dogs. Most of them are even better behaved than you.
Buzz: I’m perfect.
Lady: You chase cars. And try to take down joggers. And snap at bicyclists.
Buzz: I would like to revise my earlier statement. I’m mostly perfect.
Lady: You bring up an interesting point, though, Buzz. Lots of people think that the dogs that end up in shelters are there because they are bad dogs. Remember when you were a puppy and so many people were surprised that such a happy, beautiful little boy came from a shelter?
Buzz: Yes! Are those people stupid or something?
Lady: No, Buzzy, they aren’t stupid, they just don’t know any better. Remember when you didn’t really know you had a tail and were always sweeping things off of the coffee table with it?
Buzz: I broke a glass! It was loud!
Lady: Yes, you did! You did something bad because you didn’t know enough to do better.
Buzz: How come the people don’t learn? Can’t hear the stuff they are breaking?
Lady: Because, sweetie, for most people, the consequences of their actions are invisible. Those people just carry on buying dogs and breeding dogs because that’s what they saw their parents do. The glasses are breaking in shelters that they never go to visit. They are unaware.
Buzz: Oh. Can you tell them? Tell them that we need to have a lot less puppies and then we won’t have to kill doggies anymore.
Lady: Okay, Buzz. I will tell them.
Buzz: Are puppy mills the only places that puppies come from?
Lady: No, but they are the worst place to get puppies from because they keep their dogs in horrible conditions. And they have lots and lots of sick and sad dogs.
Lady: Because they don’t think of the dogs as lovely little beings with minds of their own and feelings of their own. They just see them as a way to make money and so they do things as cheaply as possible. They live in very small spaces. They don’t go to the vet when they are sick. They don’t eat nice food, or go for walks, or have little chats on the futon.
Buzz: That’s too sad to even think about.
Lady: But we must be brave and think about it anyway and try to convince people to adopt dogs and not buy them.
Buzz: And then they will be helping doggies instead of hurting them!
Lady: That’s right!
Buzz: Thanks for telling me about this, Lady. Let’s be crazy now!
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To learn more about puppy mills, check out the following website:
Puppy Mill Awareness
And try to catch Oprah's episode on puppy mills (parts of which are on Oprah's website)
As always, I would recommend petfinder.com if you are searching for an animal companion! I found Buzz at a shelter by doing a search on petfinder.