Two adorable rescued pups.
Two nights ago I was out getting frozen yogurt. As my husband and I sat down to enjoy our frozen stuff, a family came along with a puppy. It was a weimaraner puppy and I knew immediately that it was too young to even be away from it's Mother let alone walking around on the ground in public. "Six weeks, he is six weeks" the family proudly boasted. Yikes. Just as they finished telling us the age of the little guy a Mother came up and asked about the pup, her daughter would love one. The family was more than happy to share the info.
They were a mere few feet away so of course I overheard the conversation. The new puppy family had gotten him from a woman who lived out in the desert, she had lots of dogs and lots of different breeds. The pup was much cheaper than most they'd looked at. The woman who was interested in the puppy seemed thrilled with all of the information. "This was like the blind leading the blind" I thought to myself as I sat listening. Yes I was listening, the mere mention of the word dog and I'm all ears. :)
So off went the family with the puppy and the family who were going to go get one of these. Fueling the fire as they say. These folks were giving their hard earned money to a miller. What is a miller or puppy mill really? It is some one or many people who make it a business to sell dogs. They raised dogs for a living, living off the profits that they make from their wares. Dogs. This my friends is the problem with canine over population, that and careless people who let their dogs procreate at will.
Puppies, puppies everywhere. Lots of puppies for sale, anytime, any color, any age. Millers have it all for you and it sadly makes people happy. No waiting, no being asked a million questions, just pay and get your puppy. I have seen many mills in my life, on the net, tv, in person etc. etc. Not all millers look the same. There are millers who boast clean facilities, huge buildings containing all the dogs. They have nurseries and kennels, rows and rows of kennels filled with breeding dogs and future breeding dogs. Even these wonderfully clean and bragging facilities are millers. YES THEY ARE. They are pumping out dogs like a product.
Mill: A factory for certain kinds of manufacture, as paper, steel or textiles.
Not dogs, dogs should not be milled. No dog should ever live in a cage, and anyone who keeps a dog in a cage whether it is clean or not should be put in there with the dog to see how life in a cage feels. I have gotten into battles with people who stand up for these people who have wonderful professional breeding facilities; why, because they are clean? Because they feed their dogs? Dogs do not belong in cages and when you have facilities like these, clean, filthy or appalling there are too many dogs coming out. So many dogs; way too many dogs.
Good, reputable and ethical breeders have one maybe two litters a year. Some only have a litter every two years. They often only breed a female twice in her life. They will ask prospective owners a million questions and make it seem like you are getting a priceless piece of work. You are. You are getting a living, breathing animal and they don't hand them over to just anyone. This practice in itself saves lives. You have to have gone through the whole grilling process with a breeder which makes asking yourself if you really want this dog imperative. Acquiring a dog from reputable breeder is a lot of work and by the end of it all you know and the breeder knows that you are committed if you get one.
Big breeding facilities that house dogs in kennels need to be shut down. They are by far the # 1 problem. They supply the horrible shops that sell puppies and they treat dogs as money makers. The worst of them cut corners whenever they can just to put more money in their pockets. They do not stand behind their dogs health or future. All they care about is the money in the moment. What if you change your mind, what if the puppy doesn't work out or something happens in your life that you cannot keep that puppy? Too bad, they aren't going to take it back with open arms.
Don't get me wrong, there are small "bad" breeders out there too. Just because you don't breed often does not make you a good breeder, there is a huge list to check off that makes you a good breeder. What I'm focusing on here are the mass producers, the big guys. Whether they are set up as a beautiful professional business or the worst appalling hell hole, they are all millers. Most definitely there are the ones that make a regular human shudder, it is simply unbelievable how some people treat animals. But the mass production has got to stop and the only way to stop it is to stop the demand.
There are so many adorable second hand dogs out there. There are purebred rescues galore. You can get the cutest puppies ever at a rescue, I photographed some the other day and could not believe how adorable they were. I was smitten by every one of them. These puppies were living in homes with loving, caring foster parents.
Dogs belong in a family from the get go. That means that Mom lives in a home with her family so when she has puppies they too are welcomed into the home. Not in a cage, not even a clean cage. (I'm not talking about crates here.) It is sad and tells you a lot about how a person feels about dogs if they put a dogs in a cage to produce puppies for their financial benefit. Is that someone you want to give your money to? I say no, give your money to someone who loves dogs, I mean really really loves dogs.
The bottom line here is that it just has to stop. If we cannot get the laws to change then it has to be done one person at a time. Either rescue or purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder. Hopefully someday all millers will be extinguished but until then you can do your part by spreading the word. Patience is a virtue, and waiting for the perfect puppy is a good thing. Instant gratification can be the undoing of us all.