When I think about puppy mill dogs and rescue, I think predominantly of senior dogs that have been released from the mills because they are no longer able to produce puppies. These animals live out their (oftentimes short) lives with National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) or are adopted out to loving forever homes.
What is interesting is the number of puppies you see available for adoption at NMDR. How and why does this happen? My natural inclination is to think, “It’s a puppy, wouldn’t the mill want to sell him/her?” To get an answer, we asked NMDR Founder, Theresa Strader. Here’s what she had to say:
“Most often, dogs are released to us because they are no longer able to produce puppies – usually because of their age.
The average age that breeding dogs are released is 7 years old – at which time, for many of them, their bodies are simply worn out from over-breeding. However, we get many dogs that are substantially older and, sometimes, we even get puppies. Almost always it’s because the puppy has some sort of birth defect or other ailment that renders them unfit for sale.
Sometimes these defects are the result of poor breeding practices, and sometimes they are simply the result of random bad luck. Whatever the case, unfortunately, most breeders destroy these puppies.
[Earlier this year with the help of Harley] we rescued 115 dogs – one of the biggest rescues ever carried out by NMDR. Many of these dogs were seniors; many had never seen a vet in their lives. Amongst the group we rescued were several puppies, each with their own very special needs. For instance,
A 10-week-old chocolate-colored Miniature Poodle who was born with the joints of his hind legs completely fused; dogs born with this condition are often called “swimmer puppies.”
A 10-week-old Klee Kai (mini Husky) born with a serious congenital defect in her knees
A female Pom pup born missing half of one of her hind legs.
Van Gogh is a male Cocker Spaniel pup whose left ear was completely ripped off by another dog when he was very young. Although his condition is purely cosmetic, he was not able to be sold.
Most often when you see puppies for adoption on our website, it is for reasons like these. Some of our special puppies may require ongoing rehabilitation, lifetime medication or other continued specialized care. We are always so grateful to the adoptive families of our special needs puppies and their willingness to accept our puppies as they are.
For us, it is about the dogs. The old, the young, the sick, the imperfect … all of them, no exceptions!”
Thank you so much to Theresa and the entire team at NMDR for being the protector and savior for these special beauties.
By Bailey Schroeder, ResQwalk Founder