Misguided Assumptions That Hinder Animal Welfare

 

Misguided Assumptions That Hinder Animal Welfare

Written by Becky Monroe

Well, it is only Tuesday, but it has been an eye-opening week already. Yesterday, I was on the beach in the morning when I saw two young children with their mom. The two young kids, both under 5, were chasing the small shore birds we call Snowy Plovers.

Snowy Plovers are protected on the island as they are becoming rare, but the state run commission, Florida Fish and Wildlife (and all wildlife animal agencies), teach not to chase all birds as they are typically on the beach resting between flights or nesting for the season.

I am not a confrontational person in anyway. Heck, my voice, at its loudest, can barely be heard across a small table. But, certain things like chasing birds and puppy mills, will get me to respond.

I made eye contact with the mom and gently said to the boy, “You should not chase birds.”

To which his mother looked at me and said, “They have only chased three.”

I thought to myself, “Well, as far as I know, the only right number is zero.”

When I got home, I went on Facebook and posted in a few groups what had taken place and used it as a friendly reminder that chasing birds is not acceptable and in fact, harmful to the birds.

There is scientific evidence to prove this and that can be found here

Snowy Plovers at Ocean Beach / Photo by Lee Karney

One of the FB pages I chose for my post is a community page for people who love our island. Within seconds, numerous people were agreeing with me and sharing their own stories.

Numerous comments have been made now on that page and while not all of them are 100% in agreement, it wasn’t until this morning one was made that just sent me into a tailspin.

His first comment was to say that my concern was a first world problem for a rich person. His second comment was that if kids playing on a beach was my only problem, I was lucky and that I shouldn’t shame families who are having fun.

Needless to say, I had a few replies for him.

However, his commentary really got me thinking about these two separate but often made assumptions and how they apply to animal welfare, in general. 

The first one which implied that only rich people care about animals is not only ignorant, but unfounded.

I have had the beautiful opportunity to help at low cost clinics in the challenged neighborhoods of Chicago thanks to the organization Lost Dogs IL. Each time I went, I was reminded that income does not in any way suggest how much someone loves his or her pet.

Most of the pet owners at these events got in line hours before we opened and often walked miles in any kind of weather to get there — just so their pets could get the things they needed.

For some, it wasn’t even the cost it was the availability of resources in their area. When the resources were there, they made sure to utilize them to benefit their pets.

I did a story years ago about homeless people and their pets. I was able to get in contact with the group, Pets of the Homeless. They shared with me how they help provide food and veterinary care to the pets of the homeless because they know, despite the obvious circumstances, those pets are loved and cared for better than many living in suburban America.

What could make a dog happier than spending every single day hanging with his human? 

I think between my volunteer opportunities and my own research, hearing what that man was saying in response to my Facebook post made me even angrier as I know that income and compassion do not slide together on any scale.

And, I think assumptions like this one have also made adopting a pet more difficult for those with financial hardships. This judgement that if you can’t afford the adoption fee, you can’t afford the pet is heard in the animal welfare community a lot.

I would only argue that with so many dogs and cats being euthanized simply due to lack of space, surely those animals would be grateful to join a family and feel love regardless of that family’s income level.

At the very minimum, I think it is critical to be aware of these types of broad judgments that not only are inaccurate but can create a very negative impact on the number of animals rescued and adopted. 

On a recent episode of "Truth, Lies and Puppy Mills" Bailing Out Benji discussed ways we can all collectively do better to address and support both human AND animal well being

His second comment that suggested I shouldn’t shame a family who is just having fun (chasing birds) is also one that relates to domestic pets.

How many Facebook posts have you seen showing a child riding a dog or pulling his ears or laying on him? These posts usually have a meme stating, “This is not cute.”

Like the birds who deserve to be left in peace, domestic animals also should not have to tolerate any type of behavior that is stressful, painful, or irritating.

Sure it might make the child happy to ride the dog, but it is important that children learn at a young age to respect animals as sentient beings. We don’t have the right to put our pleasure above their well-being.

Those children on the beach could have been swimming in the ocean, building a sandcastle, playing catch or flying a kite. There are many fun activities to do on a beach. Chasing innocent birds should not be considered one of those activities.

It angers and saddens me to believe that some people really don’t get it. They don’t see animals in the way that I do (or you do). Since I was a child, I have felt genuine empathy and compassion for animals. It is near impossible for me to understand a person who does not.

This man reminded me that our job of educating others on animal welfare whether they are domestic or wild is never ending.

I have often said that it is both a blessing and curse to be born with a heart for animals. A blessing because we get to share this amazing connection to animals. A curse because it can really hurt when other people don’t share our kindness. 

We have to always remember that these animals we love so dearly don’t have a voice and even when it feels uncomfortable to speak up or when words exchanged get personal, we have to keep speaking up for them.

If we choose to be silent not only are we wasting the precious gift we were given, we are letting down the animals we hold so close to our hearts and allowing others to continue to mistreat them.

 

We have to be their voice. Always. 

Meet the Survivors: Trixie and Trudie

Written by Becky Monroe

This week we spotlight two adorable Toy Poodles: Trixie and Trudie who were rescued not just from a puppy mill, but from one of the HSUS’s Horrible One Hundred puppy mills. Blue Moon Kennel is one of the most notorious mass breeding facilities. Lucky for Trixie and Trudie they found a way out.

Their owner, Lisa, adopted them from Safe Haven Bichon and Friends rescue in Wisconsin. Safe Haven acquired them at an auction in Missouri.

Their story has a few bumps in the road. Lisa was originally their foster home for 8 months. She patiently worked with them so they could join a family as “normal dogs.” Eventually a nice woman wanted to adopt them and brought them to Illinois. Unfortunately, four years later she had to downsize and was not able to take Trixie and Trudie with her. Lisa said she was an amazing mom to the girls and Lisa still sends pics and keeps her updated on them regularly. “She adored them,” Lisa expressed. 

Pictured below: photos of Bichons, possibly Trixie and Trudie, taken at Blue Moon Kennel.

Lisa stepped up to foster them right away and in time adopted them herself. They have been part of Lisa’s family for nearly 5 years and are about eleven years old.

Lisa wasn’t new to the struggles of puppy mill survivors. Trixie and Trudie joined her Bichons, Frida and Heidi, who were also rescued from a large USDA breeder in Wisconsin. As well as little Lucy, a miniature Poodle who came from a puppy mill in Missouri.

Lisa knows the ups and downs of taking in these survivors and the struggles they work through. Between Frida, Heidi and Lucy, Lisa had a lot of previous experience to offer the two new Poodles.

Lucy’s puppy mill experience proved detrimental to her upbringing. To this day, she is still fearful of open spaces and the cold. Lots of things are still scary for her, but she, too continues to grow and has learned it is okay to play with Lisa and that not all humans are out to hurt you.

As for Trixie and Trudie they are still working on potty training, but have made a lot of progress along the way. The pair are precious to Lisa and she is just grateful they are back in her life. 

Between the girls’ first mom and her rescued poodles and Lisa’s pack, Trixie and Trudie have had many teachers to help them acclimate to the good life. Lisa said both girls are very obedient and LOVE to go for car rides. Lisa’s Bichon, Frida, was a wonderful mother figure to them and to all the dogs who came through the house. She offered a calmness to the others’ anxieties and with Frida’s passing that is still sadly missed today.

Lisa believes Frida’s spirit has gone on to live in Trixie and that when Frida passed she helped Trixie (and Trudie) to find their way back to Lisa.

The poodle pair are the same breed, same age, but very different personalities. From the beginning, Trixie has wanted love and been loving and cuddly and friendly, while Trudie has always been shy and reserved. But, together they are just the perfect peas in a pod.

Interesting how their experience in a puppy mill shaped their lives so differently, but, luckily, they have each other to face life with. It seems from the beginning they were a bipolar bonded pair. Lisa explained that Trudie has a bad habit of attacking Trixie when there is excitement in the household. She really will show her dominance, but at the same time they like to snuggle together and play and are best friends.

It is unknown if the two are related in any way. While the same breed, Trudie stands taller and has a deeper chest, while Trixie is shorter and could become plump if given the opportunity. Perhaps they were littermates – we will never know.

Both are full of energy and have adapted to all of the homes they went to, but lucky to land at Lisa’s as their forever one and remain together.

Originally, Lisa owned a home-bred Bichon and when that dog passed, she started thinking about adopting a rescued Bichon. Eventually, she found herself on petfinder.com and found Frida and Safe Haven Bichon and Friends Rescue. The rest is history as Lisa has become emerged in animal rescue and fostering. 

Lisa said that above all else she has learned how resilient dogs are, especially mill survivors. Despite everything they have been through, they continue to make progress and eventually are able to trust and to show love and affection.

When asked about tips for living with a mill survivor, Lisa offered this, “Never expect perfection (or even close) and to adopt them for what YOU can do for them. Learn to love all that they are because of where they come from. They have been failed by humans but now have a chance to be reborn into a whole new life.”

She also added, ”They would probably do best not being the only dog in the house.” 

It is true: puppy mill survivors tend to learn much quicker when they have another already trained dog in the household.

Trixie and Trudie help get the word out about puppy mills. They attended the Great Iowa Pet Expo and shared their stories and educated the public on the truth about pet stores and puppy mills.

If the Poodle pair could tell humans one thing, what would it be?

“Dogs deserve to be treated with compassion and kindness – no exceptions.”

Absolutely, Trixie and Trudie. We are so glad that you were given a second chance (kind of even a third) and now have lives full of love, compassion and kindness. 

**If you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story with our supporters, I would love to publish it on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**

Meet the Survivors: Tashi

Written by Becky Monroe 

Tashi is a Lhasa Apso who was rescued around the age of 3 or 4 who is now a whopping 15 years old!

Like so many, Tashi’s life did not start out well. She was a breeding dog in a Missouri puppy mill her first few years of life. Lucky for her, it seems breeding was not her thing, so a puppy miller released her to rescue.

Tashi’s mom, Mindy, saw Tashi up for adoption on the Internet and immediately knew she had to have her. She explained how Tashi’s soulful eyes drew her in. She put an application in right away.

Tashi hadn’t done well in the kennel part of the rescue organization, so a volunteer fostered her in their home which gave her some time to adjust.

Never having a puppy mill survivor before, Tashi’s behaviors were new to Mindy, but she was prepared to work them all out.

Tashi’s biggest struggles came from over-sensory stimulation like loud noises, too many noises, lots of people.

As Mindy explained, “It seemed like so many things were new to her and it just took time for her to feel safe and comfortable.” 

Tashi eventually overcame most of her insecurities thanks to all the patience and love Mindy showed her. Mindy said that they still don’t go into certain situations with lots of people, but that is just fine with her.

Mindy has enjoyed all the big milestones Tashi has reached like her first tail wag, her first time demanding a treat and wanting to go on a walk.

“It’s been so rewarding to watch her blossom from a frightened, insecure dog to a loving, sweet girl,” Mindy shared.

Mindy said she has learned a lot from Tashi about how well dogs can adjust when they are given love, patience, proper care and nutrition.

Tashi has come a long way from a puppy mill. She has her own social media where she educates others on puppy mills. Check out her facebook page, with over 3000 followers! Way to go Tashi – raising awareness with your adorable sweetness! 

Tashi would like to tell humans: “Please give the frightened animals a chance (when adopting). In time, they will learn to trust and be wonderful family members.”

Tashi has taught Mindy a few things, too. She knows now that she will always adopt pets who need a second chance — especially the ones who didn’t get a great start in life.

Mindy explained how it is so rewarding to see the milestones they achieve once they are in a loving environment.

She summed it all up best with this, “Tashi is my best friend. I feel she has a deep sense of appreciation for the life she has now.” The life you always deserved, Tashi!

We are so glad you found it with Mindy – who also happens to be a wonderful volunteer in Colorado for Bailing Out Benji! 

**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story with our supporters, I would love to publish it on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**

Right now, they need your voice!

Written by Becky Monroe

Across the country, the pet industry is grasping to hold on.

They are appealing and fighting legislation across the states and cities, using all the money and power they can muster to win and stay in business.

They have gone so far as to create faux organizations that appear to be humane, so that they can confuse voters and get them to think legislation that is bad for animal welfare is actually good.

In Florida, Petland started an organization called “FL Pet Protections” in order to create confusion. They put in bill SB994 and called it “The Pet Protection Act,” yet it is anything but protective of animals. In fact, the bill itself would prohibit future humane ordinances that prevent pet stores from selling mass bred animals.  Right now Petland is also pushing for SB620, a bill that would punish cities that pass any ordinance that affects a business’ profits by more than 15%. This bill would stop all future humane ordinance work. 

In Illinois, a similar story unfolded. The pet stores in Illinois created a similar faux group titled “Protect our Pets Illinois” and pushed for a repeal bill that would undo the statewide law that requires them to partner with rescues and shelters.

Just days before the effective date of the state law that would prohibit pet stores from selling mass bred dogs and cats statewide, the pet industry sued the state and filed an emergency injunction to stop it. Thankfully the judge denied their temporary restraining order and the stores have to go humane.  

They are desperate and willing to do anything because the truth is finally catching up with them.

They try to say that “we” are taking away the only income they know. They argue that they have every right to earn a living.

I think what is important to dissect here is that “we” are not a competitor. Unlike Apple versus Android or Facebook versus Twitter, we are not here to compete and gain market share.

They are fighting to stay in business and make money – to profit from the helpless dogs they keep as prisoners. And “we” are doing everything we can to free those dogs and get them the life they always deserved.

Please read the paragraph again because it is critical in this fight against the puppy industry. 

They keep dogs in heinous, cruel environments while breeding them both carelessly and inhumanely- all to make money.

We want to end this cruelty. I think, sometimes, where things get confusing for people is that they believe that this cruel world of mass breeding is already illegal and that we are, perhaps, overextending our demands on people just trying to make a living.

Factory breeding of dogs is NOT illegal. Puppy mils are NOT illegal.

Our goal is to make them illegal, but we can’t do it without your help and your friend’s help and your neighbor’s help.

Many people have told me for years, “I don’t know how you do it. I could never go into a mill auction and rescue a dog – it would break my heart.”

i understand, but what if I told you that you can save a mill dog by staying in the comfort of your own home. You can change the lives of thousands of dogs across the country, by never leaving your house. 

Not everyone realizes what it takes to make change, In our country, much if it happens through legislation.

The people we vote into office at both the state and federal levels matter. And it is really important to know who they are and to be in contact with them – especially when issues that mean something to you come into play. 

Right now, it is very likely that there is a bill floating around your state legislature that will either help or hurt animals. Without ever having to step foot in a shelter or see a helpless dog who will make you sad, YOU CAN STILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

We need voters to contact their legislators and let them know what they want for the animals.

We are up against a business that will stop at nothing to keep operating. They have millions of dollars to spend on lobbyists, commercials, social media, etc.

We, as a whole, do not have the funds they do because we are non-profits. We don’t work to make money. We work to create a kinder, more humane world.

Our biggest asset is our voice and our voice is only as loud as the supporters we have. You are a supporter and we need you now more than ever.

I believe we are on the precipice of real change for the first time ever concerning the pet stores and puppy mills, but that also means that they are on edge and doing whatever they can to stop us.

Help us put an end to puppy mills. Help us end the money driven cruelty.

You don’t need to expose yourself to a shelter. You don’t need to donate a dime. You just need to contact your legislators and tell them you don’t want pet stores selling mass bred puppies or kittens and you want to see puppy mills be a thing of the past.

Bailing Out Benji prides itself on staying current with important animal welfare legislation. For a look at what needs your voice visit us here

I know it might seem a bit scary to contact a legislator, but keep in mind they work for you and your vote. Their number one job is to listen to their constituents. Phone calls, letters, emails to them do not have to be masterpieces, they can be short and to the point. Just simply tell them how you feel about the issue or the bill at hand.

If you do like to write, one other thing you can do to help animals from your living room is submit a letter to the editor of your local paper describing current legislation and how it will affect the animals. This helps spread the word about the issue and prompts other people to get involved.

Your voice matters and for the animals – it is the only voice they have. 

We recently sat down with Amy Jesse, the Policy Director of the HSUS Stop Puppy Mills Campaign to talk about the bills and ordinances that are being discussed across the country. You can listen here or watch on YouTube! 

 

And please don’t forget to sign up for our action alerts! We will let you know what is happening in your city and state, so you can easily get involved! 

**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story with our supporters, I would love to publish it on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**

Meet the Survivors: Tippy

Written by Becky Monroe

I took a bit of liberty with this blog because while Tippy’s owner, Susan, sent in his information, I happened to have been there the very moment Tippy was saved at a puppy mill auction back in 2009.

I had asked Susan to attend with me and she convinced her husband, Bill, to tag along. Bill might not have called himself an animal advocate, but between being married to Susan, the ultimate animal rescuer, and the fact he had a huge heart for animals – I would definitely say that Bill would do anything to help an animal in need.

Knowing that I and Susan would likely be emotional at the auction, Bill made this point of making light of it all. He kept teasing me and making jokes to lighten the mood.

So, that day Bill, Susan and I walked around the auction grounds individually. Each of us making notes of the dogs we might bid on. Neither Susan or Bill had any intention of getting a dog for their home, but they were considering helping to get other dogs out for rescues and local shelters. 

Once we re-grouped, before the auction started, Bill had fallen in love with this poorly bred Long Hair Chihuahua named Tippy. He was just this frail little dog – nothing particular about him.

But, Bill’s heart opened up the minute he met him. There was no way the Taney family was going home without Tippy. Interestingly, most dogs at the auction never had names – only cattle numbers, but Tippy did and he proudly still calls himself that today.

Tippy was 3 at the auction and will be turning 17 later this year. When he arrived at his new home, he joined quite the pack of hounds: Beagles and Bassets. To this day, Susan feels like Tippy thinks he is a hound. He loves hunting rabbits and ground squirrels just like his hound siblings. He was always right behind them in the chase.

Like most mill survivors, Tippy had emotional and behavioral issues. Susan had done a lot of work with laboratory Beagles used in research and experiments, so she was familiar with what Tippy was going through as he became a cherished house pet and not a breeding commodity. 

Tippy never wanted to be picked up which was hard for Bill and Susan. Here they finally had this pocket size pup, but he had no desire in being carried around.

It takes time for Tippy to trust people. Even after a lot of time, he still might not trust completely and there could be some trigger that would just set him off.

House training was never something Tippy got the hang of, so belly bands became his best friend.

Tippy also suffers from alopecia (hair loss) and often wears cute t-shirts and sweaters to hide his nakedness. While Tippy might not have true accomplishments, he formed an amazing bond with his Basset sister, Ellie. Susan explained that she has had multiple dog households for decades and has never seen a bond like the one Ellie and Tippy had. “It was just incredible,” she said.

Sadly, just recently, Ellie crossed rainbow bridge and now Tippy lives life as an only dog. An only spoiled dog. 

For me, Tippy represents the bond Susan and I formed after taking her to her first dog auction. She had been in animal welfare and did many humane law enforcement cases. She was even familiar with puppy mills, but never a dog auction.

After the one where she rescued Tippy, her and I attended one more in Wisconsin, which would, thankfully, be the last legal one in the state.

I will forever believe that dog auctions change you. Something about them reaches deep into your core and alters how you see the rest of the world. I am grateful I got to share those life-changing moments with Susan and Bill and that Tippy was fortunate to find his freedom with them and live the life he always deserved. 

**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story with our supporters, I would love to publish it on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**

Pundit Accountability and Dogs

Written by Becky Monroe

 

My Own Pundit Accountability 

A few weeks ago, I was reading The New York Times and the columnist referred to the phrase “pundit accountability.” He explained that it is when writers and experts should be willing to be transparent when they get things wrong. In his case, it was varying issues of COVID.

On the same day I read the article, a friend on facebook posted a meme that said, “There are NO responsible breeders.”

The two things have stuck with me and led me to write this week’s blog.

Fourteen years ago, after I attended my first puppy mill auction and found myself in the trenches making sense of the AKC, the USDA, legislators, and even the biased media at the time… I hated breeders. I mean ALL breeders. I was so disgusted by this cruel world of mass breeding that I was mad at everyone for allowing it to exist.

In fact, there might even be some trace of my writings that suggested I would favor a complete moratorium on breeding until every dog got a home. Between my work at the county animal control and my involvement in puppy mill rescue, I had simply become undone. To me, the world, and I mean the world, was just a cruel and evil place for animals. I truly believed that absolute measures needed to be put in place in order to make things better. 

Becky rescued Thorp from a puppy mill auction in Wisconsin

Honestly, if I am taking on my own pundit accountability then I would also suggest there has likely been a time or two or three that I have posted a meme similar to the one suggesting there are no good breeders.

However, while we are still in the trenches trying to make things better for breeding dogs and there are days I still find the world of mass breeding the most hideous thing on Earth, today I come with much broader perspective and am willing to be transparent about why I was wrong to say there are no responsible breeders.

My early raw emotions have simmered over the years and I have learned to listen and then RESPOND not react. And through my experiences have opened up myself to the opinions and expertise of many more people all while fine tuning my own opinions about these emotional issues we find ourselves in, in animal welfare.

I do believe there are good breeders. I have met them. I know friends who have gone to good breeders to obtain a dog. They saw the parents. They picked the puppy. The breeder was involved through the whole process. No one met in a parking lot. The breeder didn’t have 20 different breeds of dogs to choose from. Everything was legit and went as it should.

This really can happen. These breeders DO care about their breeding dogs and treat them like family pets. They put a lot of hard work and money INTO the dogs because they care about them and improving the breed in ways that make the dog thrive, not in ways that make the breed more popular on social media such as flatter snouts or smaller in size or mixing everything with a poodle.

When you talk to a good breeder it is obvious how much they love their dogs and how important keeping that breed in good standing means to them.

In a recent episode of the podcast “Truths, Lies and Puppy Mills” titled “Adopt or Shop Responsibly” we interview a reputable breeder and she explains in great detail the goals of preservation breeding as well as how her dogs are treated like family – not breeding stock.

I am proud of the fact that Bailing Out Benji has fostered relationships with reputable breeders and sees them as partners in the fight against puppy mills and not enemies. The reality is we do both want the same things and it is far better to work together.

There are also two other reasons I have come to support reputable breeders. The first one is simply that without breeders, dog breeds of all kinds would begin to vanish. Even today, there are many breeds one could never or very rarely find to adopt.

For example, search for an Afghan Hound or a Coton de Tulear and see what you find. There are so many breeds that are unavailable to adopt. Yet, there are wonderful families out there who want to add these breeds to their lives.

When you become a part of the animal welfare world, it seems unjust to want a certain breed. I feel like we are kind of taught to take the neediest dog and love him unconditionally and be happy about it.

I have done this many times. 

But, not everyone can do this. In fact, not every home is suitable for the neediest dog. There are many homes that just need a well-adjusted, good natured dog in order to be successful. Many times these dogs are hard to find in rescue, so people should have the opportunity to purchase one from a reputable breeder.

It took me years to watch a dog show after attending the puppy mill auctions. The mere letters “A” “K” “C” made me want to vomit. However, despite my feelings about them, there is something so miraculous about watching all the different breeds of dogs at one show. From a giant Great Dane to a sassy Shih Tzu, my heart melts for all of them.

I believe that all of us who end up advocating for dogs are infatuated with ALL dogs. Sure we have favorite breeds, but put us at a party and it doesn’t matter what kind of dog is there, we seek it out.

Good breeders are our only hope of maintaining this vast array of dogs who are healthy and emotionally and behaviorally balanced. Without them, the diversity of breeds disappears.

My second reason for supporting good breeders is filled with controversy. Let me explain.

A little over a year ago, I found myself searching to adopt a dog. We had lost 3 dogs in about a year due to old age. They were 17, 16 and 15 – two had come from puppy mills and the youngest one came from Chicago Animal Control after being hit by a car. Their beginnings to life were all rough. Living as long as they did was pretty amazing.

We were left with Alice, our 9 year old Shih Tzu rescued at a puppy mill auction. She has one eye, no teeth and her tongue hangs out. She had never lived a day in her life without another dog. We knew she was sad when she found herself an only dog.

We began the search. I filled out at least 20 applications and never heard back from anyone.

Becky's Alice

Most of the time, after filling out the application, I would see the dog was taken off petfinder or the website.

I searched all kinds of sites. I looked on shelter pages, facebook rescue pages, you name it.

On paper, I think we look pretty good. We are both retired. We have a fenced yard. We don’t have small children. We have so much experience with rescue dogs. I mean I really don’t know where things went wrong. We have outstanding references.

But NOTHING.

Now, as an animal advocate, I was willing to play this game, but I can’t imagine many other people playing along for so long. It is a frustrating, emotionally draining experience.

You see a dog in need, you fall in love, you apply, you hear nothing.

And it wasn’t just one or two or even three rescue organizations, it was dozens who ignored my applications.

In desperation, I found myself on breeder sites. Initially, I looked to see if they had any retired breeding dogs I could adopt, but when they didn’t I started to look at upcoming litters or any available puppies.

I didn’t want a puppy and I really didn’t want to BUY a dog, but Alice was miserable living all alone and we hadn’t had such a quiet home in forever. 

Becky spreading the word about her book "Bark Until Heard"

Eventually, I made contact with a rescue in Davies, FL and we adopted a 4 year old French Bulldog who was found on the streets of Miami with mammary cancer.

At first they overlooked our application, but then I took a crazy chance and sent a copy of my book in hopes of winning them over. That is how we finally made an impact. I am not super proud of my tactics, but hey it was pretty much a do or die situation at that point.

We finally adopted Agatha Rose months after we started looking to rescue.

Not many people have that kind of time or patience. And certainly not everyone has an animal advocacy book up their sleeve to send to a rescue to get noticed.

Animal adoption has become a ridiculously difficult process. It was for me and so many other great people I know who are perfect homes for dogs.

It is because of this, that I will continue to support reputable breeders. People need options. Families with small children should be able to have a dog.

I always say that most of us in this animal world are here because we grew up with a dog. Yet, today, families with kids under (insert age) are unable to adopt from many rescues. How sad that so many kids could go most of their childhood without a family pet.

Meet Agatha Rose!

I know there are rescues building arguments against my words. I understand how concerned you are to place the dog in the right, forever home. I know how many people have let you down in the past. I get it is an emotionally draining job.

I have done it. I have fostered dogs and placed them in homes. I have shed tears just on transports after having a dog only two days. I understand and respect the difficulty of it all.

However, all the rules and attitudes and the slow process is what leads people to pet stores, so I think it is important that we educate people on what their other options really are.

We need to support the good breeders and make sure that when people have exhausted rescue possibilities or are in need of a certain breed, they know where to go next. They know there are breeders out there that WE believe are humane.

There was a day I would have said, “In a perfect world, all dogs are adopted.”

However, if that were true, soon there would be no more dogs. And I cannot think of a more imperfect world than one without dogs in it. 

Bailing Out Benji has done two interviews with reputable breeders through our podcast “Truth, Lies and Puppy Mills”.

You can access them on any podcast app or watch through the Youtube links below. The episodes are #8 and #59. 

 

Follow our efforts and support our work! 

Meet the Survivors: Lui

Written by Becky Monroe

Meet Luis or Lui for short!

It was a fateful, quick decision when Nancy saw a puppy mill survivor in immediate need posted by HavaHeart Rescue. She and her husband had only been volunteers of HavaHeart a few weeks but she knew she needed to help.

Their Shih Tzu, Taz who was rescued from APA, had crossed Rainbow Bridge a month earlier and Nancy felt like it would be good start fostering because they wanted another dog soon. It was also during the pandemic and they felt like it was a perfect time to have a dog in their lives.

Lui, named to honor his Cuban roots, was listed as a purebred Havanese by the breeder. He was a little over 2 years old when he was rescued from the mill as a breeder release.

Eventually, Nancy would have a DNA test done on Lui only to find that he was actually:

      • 42% Havanese
      • 15% Chihuahua
      • 15% Shih Tzu
      •  13% Basset Fauve de Bretagne

She thought it was interesting that a breeder would list Lui as a purebred Havanese when that wasn’t the case at all. 

They agreed to take Lui in as a foster, but had never taken in a puppy mill survivor before and had no idea what to expect.

Lui came to them on a Sunday evening.

He was terrified.

His crate was full of vomit.

His coat was nasty and shaved down to his skin and he smelled awful.

It was as though he had never been bathed his whole life. But, as Nancy said, “He was free.”

She described how he stared at them from his crate just trembling with fear. As they took him from the crate and placed him on the grass, his little paws were rough and sore and his eyes were so sad and vacant.

They were amazed when they realized he had no idea what grass was. He just kept lifting his paws off of it.

For the longest time, Lui refused to eat out of a bowl and would only eat if the kibble was placed directly on the floor.

Nancy had dogs all of her life, but never one like Lui. He was so unlike any dog she had experienced.

Lui is full of love and is eager to be the best dog he can be, but he has so many fears. People, noise, other dogs, cars and wheels all scare him.

At first, the outside and the grass overwhelmed him, but now he loves to run zoomies around the yard.

Nancy and her family have tried numerous things to help Lui acclimate to normal dog life. They tried dog parks to help him socialize, but they didn’t pan out. He went to a training facility to learn to be around other dogs without fear and that helped some. He is also on Fluoxetine (doggy prozac) and wears a sentry calming collar- both of which Nancy believe have helped him cope. 

Lui was made an official part of their family only a month after they began fostering him and he has now been living a beautiful life for almost a year and a half.

He has traveled with them to the Smokies and to Northern Michigan. And, he has flown twice to Florida to enjoy the beach life. He is a great traveler!

While Lui has presented them with challenges, they have learned new ways to manage. He has taught them to be quick, to be aware and to try and channel their inner canine to help him learn, accept and love other humans in return. 

What do you think Lui would want to tell other humans?

“Lui is sweet. First, he would say, ’Thank you’ with a lick and a look with his huge brown eyes. He would then ask for humans to be patient and quiet so he can learn and absorb all he can. Lastly, he would ask that they just love him back like he wants to love them.”

Lui is learning to accept people, so he can join Nancy on spreading the truth about puppy mill atrocities. She said, “People are shocked when they see his before and after pictures.”

Lui will make a heartwarming little billboard to show the truth about puppy mills and pet stores. Not to mention the reality of canine registries. Far from a purebred Havanese – Lui is what most of us would call a mutt!

A lovable mutt for certain!

Nancy ended with, “We love Lui and are so proud of how far he has come. We are along for the journey and are happy to know he is all ours.”

Welcome to your new life Lui – sounds like you won the lottery! 

**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story with our supporters, I would love to publish it on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**

Buyer Beware: Puppyland

Bailing Out Benji 2022
All research and information was done by  Bailing Out Benji and must be cited as such when shared or quoted!
To view the rest of our research, click here.

_______________________________________________

“We don’t buy from puppy mills.”

“All of our puppies come from small, local breeders.”

“We visit every breeder we buy from.”

We have all heard these sentences come from the mouths of pet store owners and their employees. They paint this beautiful picture of puppies running by a pond and parents frolicking in the fresh, green grass… Sadly, 99% of the time that is false. The pet store owners know it, the employees might know it- but the customer is completely in the dark. 

At Bailing Out Benji we extensively research the puppy mill industry and independently audit government health records of companion animals leaving commercial breeding facilities and heading to pet stores, as well as online website sales.

Through our research we have connected more than 400 pet stores across the United States to the commercial breeding facilities they source from and also exposed the nationwide puppy-laundering scheme. Through our research we have determined that the pet stores across the country are buying from some of the largest and most problematic commercial dog breeders and brokers in the midwest. 

Sadly, the Puppyland pet store chain is no different. Puppyland opened their first location in Puyallup, Washington in October 2018 and rapidly expanded across the country.

Puppyland is currently located in the following places: 

13103 Meridian E Suite #104, Puyallup, Washington 98373

Renton- 54 Rainier Ave S Renton, Washington 98057

Olympia- 2615 Capital Mall Drive A1 Olympia , Washington 98502- CLOSED 

3100 E Florence Dr STE 102, Meridian, Idaho 83642

25 NE Interstate 410 Loop Suite 130, San Antonio, Texas 78216- CLOSED

651 I-35BL Ste 410, New Braunfels, Texas 78130

5354 McGinnis Ferry Rd Suite 202, Alpharetta, Georgia 30005

* And soon to be Oregon. 

Advocates worked tirelessly to cut off the puppy mill pipeline in Olympia and San Antonio by passing humane ordinances in 2020. These humane ordinances required pet stores to cut ties with puppy mills and instead partner with rescues and shelters to help the pet overpopulation problem. Instead of tapping into the multi million dollar pet supply and pet services industry, Puppyland chose to close their doors in those cities and reopen elsewhere (Renton & New Braunfels, respectively). 

Like many pet stores across the country, Puppyland sources all of their puppies from a broker instead of from breeders directly. These puppies are ordered from online purchasing programs like Pet XChange and DogOnWeb, then the broker picks the puppies up and transports them to the store.

Since they have opened, Puppyland has exclusively sourced from the large puppy broker JAKS Puppies Inc. out of Britt, Iowa. JAKS was at the center of the national puppy laundering scheme and had their two sham nonprofits shut down in Iowa by the Iowa Attorney General.

While many pet stores order through brokering websites and companies, the act of using a USDA broker adds a layer of secrecy for the public. If a sick puppy is sold through a large broker, it could take an enforcement agency weeks to track down where the animal originated in order to investigate disease outbreaks. 

One of the programs that Bailing Out Benji offers to the public is to research the origins of the puppy they purchased. Since pet stores don’t often disclose that information to the customer before purchase, many families are left looking elsewhere for answers. 

Below you will find a list of breeding facilities that Puppyland has sourced from in the years 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018. 

    1. AJ’s Angels, Angeline McDuffee. Cushing, Minnesota – had 786 adult breeding dogs and 386 puppies at their latest inspection in October 2021. AJ’s Angels also sent in a letter supporting Puppyland to Washington state legislators. You can view that letter here: AJs Angels Letter
    2. Amos Schwartz. Princeton, Missouri – 25 adult breeding dogs and 24 puppies at their latest inspection in October 2021. We have record of Puppyland buying a Whoodle puppy from Amos Schwartz.
    3. Calvin Kroger, Kroger Kennel. Hudson, South Dakota – 43 adult breeding dogs and 36 puppies at their latest inspection in May 2021. Kroger also testified at a state hearing and admitted to supplying Puppyland. 
    4. David Hershberger. Edgewood, Iowa –  4 adult breeding dogs and 23 puppies at their latest inspection in July 2021. We have record of Puppyland buying a Cocker Spaniel puppy from David Hershberger. 
    5. Francis Wagler. Loogootee, Indiana – 37 adult breeding dogs and 29 puppies at their latest inspection in February 2021. We have record of Puppyland buying a Husky puppy from Francis Wagler.
    6. Gary Simmons. Amity, Missouri – 54 adult breeding dogs, and 50 puppies at their latest inspection in May 2020. We have record of Puppyland buying a Bullmastiff puppy from Gary Simmons. 
    7. Herman Raber. Montgomery, Indiana – 28 adult breeding dogs and 29 puppies at their latest inspection in March 2021. We have record of Puppyland buying a French Bulldog puppy from Herman Raber.
    8. Janet Sloan. Versailles, Missouri – 13 adult breeding dogs and 5 puppies at their latest inspection in May 2021.
    9. John Lambright, Straw Hat Kennel. Hillsburo, Wisconsin- Canceled USDA license but had 33 adult breeding dogs and 36 puppies at their last inspection in November 2018. We have record of Puppyland buying a Shiba Inu puppy from Straw Hat Kennel. 
    10. Jolyn Noethe, JAKS Puppies, Britt Iowa – 179 puppies at their latest inspection in November 2021. Noethe has had as many as 254 puppies on site. JAKS has also started their own “rescue” in order to lie to the public about not being a puppy mill. You can read that information here.  JAKS was also named one of the worst puppy mills in the country. To see where JAKS Puppies buys their dogs from, click here
    11. Lester Troyer. Clark, Missouri – 48 adult breeding dogs and 21 puppies at their latest inspection in March 2021. We have record of Puppyland buying a Shirinian puppy from Lester Troyer. 
    12. Mike Decker, M-J Kennels. Cherokee, Iowa –  105 adult breeding dogs and 56 puppies at their latest inspection in October 2020. We have record of Puppyland buying Klee Kai and Havanese puppies from M-J Kennels. 
    13. Megan Peterson, Crane Canines. Wesley, Iowa – Crane Canines missed their last inspection in November 2021 but had 45 adult breeding dogs and 21 puppies at their latest inspection in August 2019. Peterson testified at a Washington state hearing and admitted to supplying Puppyland. Peterson is also on the board of the now-shuttered sham rescue “Hobo K9 Rescue” alongside JAKS Puppies. 
    14. Reuben Schrock, Premier Kennels. Westby, Wisconsin – Schrock has not been inspected in 2 years. He had 48 adult breeding dogs and 6 puppies at their last inspection in May 2019. We have record of Puppyland buying a King Charles Cavalier puppy from Premier Kennels. 
    15. Terisa Steiber, Rockytopp Kennel. Lansing, Iowa –  87 adult breeding dogs and 24 puppies at their last inspection in September 2021. Steiber also testified at a Washington state hearing and admitted to supplying Puppyland. 
    16. Tim Hostetler. Jamesport, Missouri – Hostetler is not USDA licensed. We have record of Puppyland buying a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy from Tim Hostetler.

This is just a small sampling of the facilities that have been directly connected to Puppyland through sale records. The puppies being sold from Puppyland are likely coming from dozens of additional facilities but due to the lack of transparency provided through broker purchases, we cannot be certain. We do have a list of the breeding facilities that JAKS puppies has sourced from in 2021, 2020 and 2019 that you can view in full here. JAKS sources from hundreds of breeders and then separates those litters to pet stores in at least 17 states. 

As we stated earlier, the list above came from customers who contacted us and wanted to know more about where their puppy was born. Sadly many more customers likely fear coming forward due to the contract that Puppyland requires them to sign upon purchase. Puppyland’s contract states that if customers leave a negative review online, they will not only void their health guarantee, but will require them to pay back any reimbursements issued by Puppyland.

Read that again.

If you are sold a sick puppy and speak out about it, Puppyland can void your warranty and require you to pay them back. Part of their contract also includes a Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement pertaining to ‘information regarding breeders, veterinarians, treatment, sales, trader secrets, techniques, suppliers, practices, purchases, and contracts’. 

Contract
NDA

Many of the customers who have come forward were unfortunately sold puppies who were sick upon purchase or became sick soon after going home. Those sick puppy reports show that Puppyland has sold puppies in 2021 and 2020 with: 

        1. Worms, Giardia, & Coccidia, despite being treated for these infections numerous times before reaching the store. 
        2. Dermatitis. 
        3. Hip dysplasia. 
        4. Luxating patella. 
        5. Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy. 
        6. Craniomandibular osteopathy. 
        7. Suspected Cerebral Hypoplasia. 
        8. Bilateral entropion. 
        9. Urethral calculus.
        10. Urate bladder stones.
        11. Urethral obstruction. 

Puppyland also offers predatory pet loans to customers who cannot afford the purchase cost of their puppy. In 2019, they sold puppies on lease-to-own financing agreements which prompted state legislators to put an end to pet leases. Since it’s passage, Puppyland has continued to lock families into high interest pet loans, which have reached up to 99% interest. Many families will end up paying $10,000 for their puppy after all of their payments and interest fees. 

So there you have it! Because they are purchasing through a large broker, Puppyland is sourcing puppies from some of the largest commercial breeders in the midwest. By the time these puppies arrive at any of their 5 locations, they have already traveled from breeder to broker, making their total trip well over 1,000 miles. All by the time they are 8 weeks old. 

To put an end to this cruel industry, we must stop putting money into the pockets of the businesses that are fueling puppy mills. We need the public to always research before they buy their next puppy, because reputable breeders do not sell to pet stores. Other ways to avoid supporting the puppy mill industry includes: 

 – Research and read reviews.

– Ask for a few of their most recent state and/or USDA inspection reports. Make sure they also include the dog count! 

– When choosing a breeder, visit the facility and meet the parent dogs to see where and how they live. 

– Ask questions! Responsible breeders will also have questions for you. They want to make sure their puppy is going to a well-matched home. 

– Lastly, don’t shop at pet stores that sell puppies and or websites and newspapers without meeting the parents first. 

If you bought a puppy from a breeder, pet store or website and want to know more about where it was born, please fill out the form below. 

_______________________________________________

For more ways you can help the dogs trapped in puppy mills, click here.

For more information, please visit our main page Bailing Out Benji . We also have educational materials that you can print to hang up in your own area.

©Bailing Out Benji 2022

All research and information was done by Bailing Out Benji and must be cited as such when shared or quoted.

__________________________________________________

22 Ways to be More Humane in 2022

Written by Becky Monroe

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to have been able to work with both domestic and wildlife rescue organizations. For the first blog of this new year, I thought it would be beneficial to share simple things that we can all do to make the world a better place for all animals. 

 I hope that we all find 2022 to be a kinder year for all of us- including our animal friends. 

1. Don’t shop in stores where they sell mass bred animals. We educate about puppy and kitten mills predominantly, but every species of animal that is sold in stores is usually bred in a commercial facility. When possible, please patronize humane pet stores that focus on selling supplies instead of live animals. 

2. Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue (they are always looking for dog walkers, cat groomers, photographers, help with laundry, etc…) Animal welfare organizations are always in need of volunteer help. Whatever strengths or talents you have, they will try to put them to good use! 

3. Organize a collection of dog and cat food for a local food pantry. If your community doesn’t have a pet food pantry- or a regular pantry that accepts pet food- collect donations for your local shelter. 

4. Choose a day a week or a month to not eat any meat. To get started, check out this list of 40 easy vegetarian recipes

5. Foster a pet in need. Fostering is a great way to help your local shelter or rescue. They provide everything you need to be successful and you just provide the care and love while your new friend waits for their forever home! Look for shelters and rescues near you to get started. 

6. Feed the birds all year long and leave water sources out for other wildlife. Leaving food and water out for the animals is especially helpful during the extreme heat and cold weather. Want to take it a step further? Get your yard certified as a safe place for wildlife. 

7. Don’t use retractable leashes and tell your friends and family not to as well. While these are a popular option for many pet owners, they often put pets and people into unsafe situations. 

8. Take part in a 5k walk or run that benefits homeless animals. These are great events to participate in alone or with your pup! 

9. Don’t use glue traps or poison to kill mice/rodents. Not only can your pet get into the poison, but glue traps cause needless suffering. Check out these humane alternatives instead! 

10. Cut up the plastic rings off milk jugs or juice bottles and the plastic rings off soda packs. Those PSAs we all saw when we were younger stuck with most of us but this is a very easy way to protect wildlife. 

11. Volunteer to manage a colony of Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) cats in your community. TNR is the most humane and effective method known for managing feral and stray cats and reducing their numbers. To view TNR programs, low cost spay/neuter clinics, mobile spay/neuter clinics and other services in your area, click here. 

12. Say no to balloon releases and educate others on how dangerous they are to wildlife and farm animals if let go outside. Balloon releases have become increasingly popular in recent years. While the sentiment is beautiful, they can be very destructive and have deadly effects on the environment, wildlife and marine life. Learn more here

13. Initiate a humane ordinance in your community and help pass a law to prohibit the sale of mass bred pets. More than 400 localities across the United States have passed humane ordinances! Contact Bailing Out Benji today and we can help! 

14. Create a butterfly or honey bee garden. Not only are they beautiful additions to your yard, but you can greatly help the environment and even local gardens and farms by attracting bees and butterflies to your yard! 

15. Make sure your pet’s ID tag is on and up to date. Make sure their microchip is registered to you with all up to date information. The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. When you microchip your pet, there is a higher chance of them being returned to you. 

16. Never, ever put yourself or any of your body parts in a wild animal’s cage or enclosure at a zoo or wildlife center. Never. Not only can you be severely injured, but the animal may have to be euthanized. 

17. Buy products that are labeled cruelty free. Many puppy mills exist solely to produce beagles for testing facilities. By becoming an ethical shopper, you can ensure that no animal has to suffer because of your purchases. You can often spot these items because they have a symbol of a bunny on the packaging or you can download the cruelty cutter app and scan items real-time in stores! 

18. Volunteer to help with a dog transport. Many rescues need help getting dogs, cats and even wildlife transported safely. Most legs of transport are 1-2 hours. 

19. Use biodegradable products such as straws and silverware instead of plastic. The less items we can send to the dump the better! 

20. Donate unwanted towels, sheets, blankets and other bedding to domestic and wildlife shelters and help provide comfortable bedding to animals in need. 

21. Use more native plants in your landscaping. This is an easy way to help the environment, attract pollinators and cut down on the mowing and upkeep! Check out some easy ways to transition here

22. Join the Bailing Out Benji team and help put an end to puppy mills! We always need more passionate advocates to get involved. Contact us today about volunteering and let’s make your community a more humane place! 

**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story with our supporters, I would love to publish it on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**

Meet the Survivors: Pippa, Juno and Cheetah

Written by Becky Monroe

This week’s “Survivor Blog” is EXTRA special for a few reasons.

We are sharing the story of not one or two, but THREE mill survivors adopted by one family. And, even better — because of these three special dogs, their family has pledged to match the donations made to Bailing Out Benji for the month of December! So, after you read about these cuties, remember that your donation will go twice as far if you make it by the end of this year. 

Close-up of Cheetah

Judith’s children were all grown up and out of the house when she decided that maybe it was time to take on a more challenging dog — one that otherwise might have a hard time being adopted and need extra care. She knew about puppy mills, but never had adopted a survivor before.

She went to New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue and was drawn to a dog named, Pippa. However, when they went to visit Pippa in her foster home, it was very obvious that Pippa was bonded with another survivor named Juno. Pippa was always next to Juno or hiding behind her.

The foster home felt Pippa would be okay as an only dog and would eventually come into her own. It was never their intention to adopt two challenging dogs, but as a licensed mental health therapist, Judith just knew that separating the two could be devastating for Pippa.

Juno was bred as an “Imperial Shih Tzu” which doesn’t actually exist, but is a way for breeders to use a fancy term to attract unknowing consumers. Juno was smaller in size and not nearly as anxious as Pippa.

Pippa on the left - Juno on the right

While not part of her plan, they left that day with both dogs because they felt it was the right thing to do for both of them.

Judith took Juno, the less nervous of the two, to a shy dog class. After all Juno could do was shake and vomit, Judith realized quickly these dogs would definitely be challenging.

Juno and Pippa struggled with most things outside. Pippa was terrified of the garden hose which they determined suggested that the dogs had been hosed down while in the puppy mill.

With her professional expertise, Judith knew not to push the dogs or to expect them to be “normal.” They just patiently loved them and let them grow at their pace.

“We met them where they were at. I think this is the most important thing of all,” said Judith.

Pippa and Juno squashed in the same bed

Judith believes that Pippa suffered from canine PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and put her expertise to practice when working with her.

Sadly, Juno only lived for 18 months after her adoption.

Pippa went into a deep depression and they knew immediately that Pippa would need a companion. They adopted Cheetah.

Cheetah was also a puppy mill survivor but probably not a purebred Shih Tzu.

At her first dental appointment, Cheetah’s top jaw broke due to malnourishment in the mill. She had very few teeth and her tongue stuck out all of the time. Despite her physical scars, Cheetah was a happy-go-lucky dog and likely a bit brain damaged. Her vocal cords had also been cut in the mill.

All of the dogs they adopted had varying scars from years of neglect and malnourishment. One eye, few teeth, no vocal cords — making it hard to determine their actual ages.

Yet, the physical characteristics made them little billboards every time they were out in public. Judith always educated people on where the dogs came from and what puppy mills are. 

Cheetah on the left - Pippa on th right

Judith had explained to me that she used her expertise to help transition the dogs to normal life. While not every dog is the same, a few things helped Pippa, Juno and Cheetah feel comfortable in their new lives. A few of these were:

They found a groomer who would come to their home. The dogs really had a lot of issues being groomed. Judith had hoped she could do it all herself, but quickly realized she was not skilled enough to make that work. Luckily, the groomer they found was patient and compassionate and by doing it at home brought the dogs some comfort.

Their vet eventually went into mobile practice and this helped their dogs, too.

They realized that kenneling the dogs, if they went out of town, was not going to be an option for them. They relied solely on pet sitters in their home to make the dogs feel more comfortable.

They were told the dogs were potty trained, but they realized this was not the case. And, in the years they had the dogs, potty training was never completely effective, so the dogs wore diapers and they used potty pads throughout the house. 

Pippa and a toy

As with the majority of mill survivors, neither Pippa, Juno or Cheetah exhibited many normal dog behaviors.

Toys weren’t something any of them found pleasure in, but Pippa, the most traumatized of all, did love to play catch. They could throw soft toys for hours. “It was the one time when it seemed like the effects of the trauma dropped away and she showed pure joy. Joy that was felt by us, too,” Judith explained.

Pippa always wanted to be in the smallest bed and always snuggled up with Juno or Cheetah. Neither of them ever seemed to mind. They would always move over and make room for her.

One of the most rewarding days was when Pippa was with Cheetah and she actually went to the door to see who was there.

Judith proudly shared, “They all made such progress showing immense courage and resilience and eventually trusting us.” 

Cheetah in her favorite sleep position

Cheetah was the last one to pass away. In total, they only had the three dogs less than 5 1/2 years. “But, what joy they gave us!”

“I promised each of my dear, sweet dogs that their experiences in puppy mills would not be in vain. That I would be their voice. Bailing Out Benji has given me the chance to make good on that promise.” — Judith 

Judith will be matching all donations up to $5000 through December. Please consider making a donation to help Bailing Out Benji continue their mission to fight the cruel puppy mill industry so that dogs like Pippa, Juno and Cheetah never have to suffer again. 

Pippa and Juno in the snow for the first time

**Just a reminder – if you would like to share your Mill Survivor’s story, I would love to publish in on Tails and Truths! Just email me at bmonroe@bailingoutbenji.com.**